Why Taking a Step Backwards in Your Career is Okay

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Wow, it is already December 1st.

Can you believe we are quickly approaching the end of 2014? Since we only have one month before we begin 2015, the contributors here at Performance I Create have decided to utilize the month of December as one where we offer one piece of advice for the coming year. Fifteen contributors, fifteen days of advice for you to mull over and become smarter and wiser for 2015.

As I sat down to think about what I could offer up as advice for the new year, many ideas came to mind. But out of all the ideas that I gave consideration to writing about, one idea really stood out for me….

It is okay to take a step backwards in life/work

In today’s ever competitive world for jobs, money, getting ahead, many people would say I am absolutely crazy to mention any possibility of wanting to give up something or take a step backwards to be able to really enjoy life, family, and career. However, I would tell you that sometimes to really get the most fulfillment or center on the right progression, it is okay to step backwards in life/work if you gain personal momentum immediately or down the road.

For instance, the past ten years have been some of the most tumultuous times for people in the workforce as we have seen many layoffs or instances where people have to do more with less, causing more stress and even more situations of discomfort and unhappiness. Because we are living in an ultra competitive time – meaning I have to find another job with the same title or higher, I have to make the same money or even more – people are not really taking the opportunity to sit back and understand what they want. Instead, the focus continues to be how do I get more and more.

Sure, I get it. We all want more and we believe we can get more. Especially, we you are competing with a generation where parents tell Gen Y folks they can be anything they want to be and they believe they can walk out of college being a manager making $70k a year without any real experience, it’s hard to compete with.

However, I am here to offer this piece of advice to you as someone who faced a situation of a layoff and wondering what was next; take an opportunity to evaluate your life, work, and what you really want out of it. Sure, we all have bills to pay, but at what point does money become your sole crutch to enjoy your life?

Explore all possibilities in the career market. Just because a potential position doesn’t have the same or even greater title, does not mean it is not an equivalent role. What if you could take a step back to take two steps forward in a year? Meaning, what if you went from a director role to a manager role for a year, to then be able to move into a global role? Isn’t this opportunity greater than if you would have just taken another director role? The same works for money – although I do understand there are thresholds each of us needs to still function.

What I want you to really evaluate moving into 2015 and when we get into 2015, is with every decision you have to make or situation you are faced with, can you take a step backwards to take two steps forward in the future to get the most fulfillment?

Happiness doesn’t just show up at our door. We have to position ourselves to be in personal and professional situations that give us happiness and fulfillment. Therefore, embrace each opportunity, take the time for you, compete where it fits for you versus where it fits for everyone else, and understand it is important when you win, not everyone else. If that means taking a step back, it is okay!