If your life is filled with cheese steaks, Twinkies, and 64 oz fountain sodas, well, you will reap what you sew when it comes to your physical appearance. Getting out of the shower and standing in front of the mirror is not an enjoyable experience. Anxiety, anger, lack of self-confidence…all terms or phrases that come to mind. The flip side to this, of course, is choosing healthy options when it comes to your meals, snacks, and drinks. Consume foods that are high in protein, low in saturated fat, and that grow from the ground (with an occasional Twinkie or cheesesteak), and your physical appearance and the thoughts associated with it will drastically change.
This same concept can be said of your career; let’s take a look at some of the bad habits and surroundings you may be consuming and how some slight tweaks can lead to positive results:
Your consumption of social media. Three weeks ago I removed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone. Typically I would take a break from work and log on, or I would scroll through during any downtime over the course of my entire day. It was my little escape. Funny videos, pictures of friends and family, news headlines, etc. Unfortunately, those benefits I was initially receiving became few and far between. It turned into a sh!t show of:
*Political commentary from people who are unwilling to have respectful, intellectual conversations
*Friends, acquaintances, or classmates posting sob stories 3-4 times/day looking for attention rather than trying to make changes in their lives and be accountable
*People complaining about the world but not willing to do anything about it
Eventually, I came to the reality that all of this was a distraction; it became a mindless activity that no longer carried any benefit to me. So I dumped it.
The time I spent scrolling through my social media feeds is now spent reading books or focusing on activities that will push my life forward, not backward!
So delete those apps from your phone for two weeks and take note of the subtle, or maybe even drastic, changes that will take place in your life. If your life has not changed for the better you can always add them to your phone again.
The company culture within which you reside. When it comes to the economy, and certainly the civil engineering profession, it is very much a candidate driven market…so now is the perfect time for you to find a second home (your employer) that will allow you to THRIVE! There are a lot of shady recruiters out there that give guys like me and my teaming partners a bad name. They do things like recruit from their very own clients, they become radio silent the moment they have to deliver bad news to a candidate that did not get a job, or they do their very best to convince a candidate to take a job that they KNOW is not a good fit only so they can collect a check in the end.
That mentality is a result of the culture within which they work.
There are A LOT of wonderful civil engineering firms across the country, but there are certainly a fair amount of “bad apples” in that bunch as well. You know, those firms that would rather push shotty work out the door to meet a deadline rather than negotiate an extension to make sure it is done properly? Or those firms where there is some sort of purgatory between ethical and unethical rather than a distinct line? Or where the regular demeaning of employees is considered a motivational tactic?
If you are embedded in a company culture that does not work for you, now is the time to explore and find a company where the culture is in alignment with your beliefs and philosophy. There is no perfect company out there, but imagine the trajectory your career could take if you were not bogged down in an environment that was causing an impediment to your career!
The people you surround yourself with. Take a long hard look at those in your office and the influence they may have on you.
Do you see that you are hanging around the crowd that comes in at 9AM, takes an hour-long lunch at Noon, and then leaves at 5PM? They very well may be wonderful people who are fun to be around but take a look at their career progression, and then distance yourself from them. No need to ignore them altogether, but don’t let them reel you in on their lines, go cast your own line!
Do you find yourself surrounded by “Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer, and Sour Sally” who just absolutely exhaust you?
Like my social media story above, eliminate those folks from your daily life and replace them with peers who will challenge you and your professional career and who you can feed off their intensity. Seek out, or identify someone as a mentor and spend time sharing with, and learning from them.
Rather than consuming the negativity and bad habits of those around you, take in seminars, training sessions, or webinars that will ENHANCE your career…or even better, go lead one of those activities yourself!
You are what you eat folks. The old “garbage-in, garbage-out” concept will never grow old.