I watched a movie this weekend called Playing By Heart. It tracks the stories of eleven people as they look (or don’t) for love. At one point during the movie, a character declares that: “Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.” It is, she opines, both nonsensical and a waste of time. Happily, this character eventually changes her mind, and … well, it all turns out as any good Hollywood romance should.
Sadly, that’s not the case for a lot of people and their careers. Many people today think talking about their career is like dancing about architecture. It is, they believe, neither necessary nor productive. We live in the real world not a Hollywood movie, however, and more often than not, that inattention doesn’t lead to a happy ending.
Unlike with love, we don’t talk about our careers because many of us take them for granted. Not consciously, of course, but the effect is the same. Deep down inside, we harbor the illusion that (a) our employer or our boss will ensure we’re O.K. or (b) the pathway to success will be just as uncluttered going forward as it was in the past. And, we remain convinced of those views right up to the moment when our career begins its inexorable slide into decline.
Will talking make any difference? Absolutely. Talking is (usually) preceded by thought, and it’s the absence of thoughtfulness that is undermining the health of so many careers. Why? Because we are the only ones who will think about our career, and in today’s constantly changing workplace, we have to be thinking about it every single day.
That talk-induced thoughtfulness is the only way you can future-proof your career. Wikipedia defines that term this way: “Future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events.” In your career, future-proofing enables you to avoid obsolescence and ensure your continued relevance at work.
So, here’s your silver linings playbook: Dance about your career today and every day going forward. Even if you do nothing more than read this daily post on the Work Strong blog and add your comments to the discussion, you’ll be talking about your career. And talking about your career is a tango with prosperity.
Thanks for reading,