Back in the ’80s, a synth-pop-spiky-hair kinda band released a song called “Obsession”. Watch the video – it’s a hoot. The refrain went like this:
You are an obsession, you’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me?
Sometimes I blurt out this lyric when working with clients about their career – hey, it makes sense in the moment! – and ask them, “Who are you trying to be so you’ll be accepted? How are you contorting yourself to get approval?”
Believe it or not, this is often a very fruitful discussion.
Because so many people are obsessed with their jobs, and will do anything – anything! – to stay in them. Especially, (I am going to use the dreaded phrase) “in this economy”.
But obsession is obsession and implies a certain single-minded focus which is not always healthy. Kinda stalker-ish, if you want to know the truth. And when you’re obsessed, your judgment might not be clear. You might make compromising decisions.
You might put your integrity on the shelf in pursuit of your preoccupation.
You might forget who you are as you bend yourself to someone else’s desires.
You lose yourself.
“Michele, it’s hard to get a job out there,” you say. And I know it is. But one of the central tenets of a real career strategy is to be yourself.
Hard as that may be.
And if you attract a job while not being yourself, it’s probably not going to be that satisfying. Like a meaningless hook-up at an ’80s dance club.
Know your strengths. Understand your values. Serve your priorities. Say “yes” when you mean “yes”, and “no” when you mean “no.” Honor your integrity.
And when you do, you will take the right job, and keep the right job.
You will excel. On your terms.
Which is the best possible outcome of a career strategy.