I love taking walks in autumn to breathe in the crisp air, marvel at the brilliant colors around me and prepare myself for the winter. The fact that I really don’t care for winter is a topic for another post! One evening as I walked with a friend, we freely commented on the Halloween decorations in our neighborhood and she told me she was phasmophobic. Are you wondering about this word? I did and when I asked her what it meant, she said, “the fear of ghosts.”
Now that you have enjoyed the Halloween candy, it is a perfect time for me to ask you about the career ghosts, goblins and gremlins that haunt you. A career ghost might be the feeling of unease that you could do “more” in your current work. It might be a feeling that you should be the one heading that awesome project. Or else feeling blindsided when a project is thrust on you. Maybe it is a feeling of regret for not trying something new at work. Is it a tiny voice whispering that it is time to move on? I can’t obviously speak for your ghosts. However, I can say with confidence that these ghosts are present in our lives in a deep, personal and meaningful way. I also know that you can manage these ghosts, become a Ghostbuster if necessary, rather than be phasmophobic. Which ghosts would you slay first?
The following ideas might help you decide:
- Take out your role description, if you have one, and analyze it minutely. If you don’t have a formal description, it is time to write one. How closely do the deliverables stated on paper match up with your expectations? How about the alignment with employer expectations? What daily tasks are truly productive? Of the skills you use and have in your toolbox, which ones do you still enjoy using? If you could send a set of skills into a year of sabbatical, which would be “busted” and why?
- As you look at how your industry and organization is changing to meet business demands, how have you kept pace with that on a professional level? Do you wonder at what could be done differently and does that energize you? If so, what gremlin stops you from pursuing that idea? If you were to move pieces of your job description around, what would you keep and why? What would you like to give away?
- Think about the people who support your work and those who make you miserable. Is it time to reach out and expand your circle to include some friendly ghosts like Casper? If so, who are the first three people who come to your mind? Alternatively, is it time to let go of a grudge or two? Even if it doesn’t result in a common ground, letting go of a grudge can be empowering.
- Sprinkle “magic dust” to conjure up your career history. Which career story immediately brings a smile to your face, tugs your heart and gives you a sense of peace? Open your eyes and look around – how much of the joy, enthusiasm and creativity that you remember so vividly is around you today? Complete the sentence, “I wish..”
I wish I could be a Ghostbuster with you. I’d sit with you and listen as you take a question or two and wrestle with it. I know that within each one of you is a deep resiliency and remarkable talent-talent that sometimes is distracted by ghosts, gremlins and goblins. Isn’t it wonderful that we can give ourselves permission during Halloween (or any season) to turn into swashbuckling Ghostbusters and lay to rest at least one career ghost, goblin or gremlin? What do you think?