Photo by J. A. Holland via Flickr

Some people treat their current jobs as if they are trapped there forever, going through the motions as if they are sentenced to life without parole.

It’s as if they’re stuck in quicksand, never able to escape the clutches of their current employer and too afraid to move in case they will sink deeper.

Some people treat their current jobs as if it’s a launching pad for the future, engaging in their role and learning all that they can while they’re there.

They’re using it as a stepping stone, understanding that you get out what you put in and knowing that if they maintain their enthusiasm and keep developing, then bigger, better or even perhaps just more suitable work will be available in the future.

Of course, they’re both self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you think you’re trapped, then you’re right.

If you think that better opportunities are ahead if you apply yourself, then you’re right.

I see too many people who spend their careers complaining about their situations, yet still unwilling to do anything about it.  The average person will spend 100,000 hours at work over the course of their career.  That’s too long to be miserable.

It’s time for action.

Thinking of your current role as a stepping stone doesn’t mean that you resign tomorrow or start applying for every job that comes your way.  It also doesn’t mean that you only last a few months in each job that you have.

It means doing the best that you can right now, with enthusiasm and passion. 

It means looking for opportunities to learn, develop and stretch yourself.

It means working on your leadership abilities and trying to become more influential in your current place of work.

It means approaching each day at work as if you already have your dream job, in the knowledge that such an attitude will bring that reality closer.

It means making career decisions out of aspiration not desperation.

Is your job like quicksand or a stepping stone?

And before you answer, remember that you made it that way!

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