One of the great things about being a journalist is that you get to ask a lot of questions and people (generally) don't get annoyed with you.
Since I've been covering the workplace for more than 15 years, I've spent a lot of time asking some very smart and wise people about a wide variety of issues, ranging from how to get a promotion to how to handle a bully boss to how to get along with co-workers. I've quizzed them about career success, how to get a dream job or what it takes to turn a passion into a paying job.
As a result, I now get a lot of people asking me questions about career success and how to achieve it. I try and pass on the advice and information I have learned from those smart and wise people.
But one thing is starting to become very evident to me. Some of the people who ask for my advice, I know, are going to nod their heads and then never do a darn thing I suggest. At times that has made me feel, well...dumb and not-so-wise. Here I have all this good information to pass along, I think, but they must consider it to be the worst advice ever.
Still, plenty of people have followed the suggestions I've made, and they tell me it has really helped their careers. So what's going on with the people who don't even attempt to change their work behavior?
After some thought, I'm now starting to suspect that the problem goes much deeper than just ignoring any advice I have to offer.
I think that for some people, achieving real career success is a frightening thought. Why? Because if they attain that goal, then they will have to address other issues in their lives -- the bad personal relationships, unhealthy lifestyles or other damaging choices like drugs or alcohol. In other words, as long as they can blame their jobs as the reason they are unhappy or unfulfilled, then they can ignore what really may be going wrong in their lives.
I'm not trained to help people with these issues. The only thing I can offer is what I know to be true in my own life: Jobs will come and go, but you've just got one life to live. Being happy with who you are and the people in your life isn't something you can put off. Once you become satisfied with who you are as a person, then career success will follow - and you won't be afraid one bit.