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The [Employment] Struggle Is Real

I’ve talked to several people recently who have voiced their desires to strike out on their own and others who are toying with joining a large company. So, the question becomes of staying employed or being employed. I admit that I’ve struggled with this one, too, as I’ve now been an employee since early last year. Truth be told, I struggled with this a month-and-a-half into employment. (Yikes.)

Over the last several years I’ve spoken to many who jumped in both directions only to regret the jump only months in. Then, they’re looking to change again. No surprise many jumps occurred because not “feeling valued” – either in responsibility (/ growth) or pay – most commonly.

My advice (and yes, the same advice I give and take for myself) is to think about the bigger goal (the WHY) and realize what you (read: “I”) hope to achieve here and now, and the near-future. Yes, near-future – not necessarily long-term.

It’s easy to get enamored these days with something shinier… something that pays more… something that seems like it’s more rewarding. However, there’s a beauty in the present struggle. Why do I feel the way I do today? How can I change this feeling? Why did I move here in the first place? What am I implicitly learning?

We fail to see the incredible lessons in today’s struggles. We gloss over them while focusing on the next thing that is supposed to be greater, better. There’s a lot to learn in struggles. Remember, I wrote a book on it (see Postmortem of a Failed Startup).

And to that, focusing too much on the long-term could mean losing focus on the boundless opportunities closer. When we stare out too far, we ignore what’s in our peripheries – the very things that have a more immediate impact that can change our trajectories altogether.

Don’t jump. Walk. Walk in your current shoes, and absorb all that you can. Realize the opportunities hidden in the struggle. Then, see if you can run where you are, or if you must jump onto a different track.

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