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How Valuing Your Current Position Helps You Achieve Your Ideal Role

How Valuing Your Current Position Helps You Achieve Your Ideal Role

There’s a fundamental element that seems to have gotten lost in the relentless pursuit of designations, certifications, grade point averages and degrees. It has nothing to do with the school you graduated from, your photographic memory, ability to pick winning stocks or even superhuman networking capabilities. But my intent is not to discount the former — an education is very important and there’s no doubt anyone would get exceptionally far with even one of those aforementioned traits. I’m referring to something far more subtle, yet it speaks louder than any words on a resume. It’s not where you’d like to go or where you’ve been; it’s in communicating where your feet are standing at this very moment.

Seeking bigger opportunities and striving for promotions come with many advantages. In obsessively doing so, we run the risk of becoming disconnected and subconsciously appear to communicate entitlement. We’re unhappy at our current jobs because they are only temporary; unworthy of our decorated potential. We graduate from top universities ready to take on the world, then complain that we’ve been forced into mediocre jobs. We justify why that dream job slipped through our overqualified fingers. Extraordinary careers are there for the taking by extraordinary employees, not binge overachievers. Extraordinary employees sit up at any table, whether it’s the one they’re serving at a local diner or the one in the boardroom they’re leading a presentation at.

[Related: Life is Too Short to be Spent at a Job You Hate]

Huge breaks pop out of the periphery for those who are ready to receive them. I don’t believe it’s coincidence, nor do I believe its all a game of numbers. We’re drawn to those who put their whole heart into their work, whether its serving coffee or running a billion dollar corporation. (I wonder how many CEO’s get their coffee from Starbucks every morning.)

Spiritual author and international lecturer Marianne Williamson humorously and elegantly describes our obsession with the image of “taking the bull by the horns.” It’s a suicide mission. We can’t force a bull into submission that way, much like we shouldn't try to force a career by doing the same thing. Consider riding it, or letting it guide you.  A career is about having something to give and about finding our ethics - in contributing something to the world. If we don’t own those ethics, we’re sending mixed signals to all potential future employers. There is always something to give and something to gain by bringing our best game to every job, no matter how big or how small.

[Related: How to Improve Your Candidate Experience]

Consider the following:

Working hard vs. working smart.

Appropriately, this lesson comes from my economics professor. It has far less to do with hours spent, but the depth and excellence of the work itself. Is your time investment into a task of economic value to the result you’d like to achieve? After hours spent at the computer, we lose productivity. I liken it to the image of milk pouring into an overflowing glass. Nothing more is getting in. As my professor says, “go have a drink with friends." We work more productively on a full tank.

[Related: What if Work... Worked? Four Secrets to Help Make it Happen]

Are you truly listening?

We drive our careers forward with the relentless determination of a secret agent who has focused in on a target after receiving instructions to recover a stolen nuclear weapon. Nothing can stand in our way of the end goal. But, what valuable information are we missing by assuming we know best? At any given moment, we interpret information as evidence that confirms our existing beliefs; the confirmation bias. Why? Because we don’t have to think as hard. Ego may have a little to do with it too.

Success comes as a bi-product, not as an end goal unto itself.

We attract our dream life partner not by seeking them directly, but by becoming who extraordinary people are attracted to. Why should our careers be any different? The type of growth we crave doesn’t come from working the longest hours, inflating our own importance, or even years of patience. It comes from truly committing ourselves to, then outgrowing, a current role because more is brought than is required.

As human beings, we share an instinct to not want to work with bad tools, especially when the stakes are high. The reasons are understandable. We succumb to the temptation of waiting for the stars to align, so that we have the perfect conditions to shine, personally and professionally. We are seduced by the virtues of promotions and recognition; we can’t imagine that we may have missed an opportunity to create something remarkable by failing to recognize the value of the position we hold right now. 


Talia Shewchuk is a mother, a musician, a student of economics at the University of Toronto, and a freelance capital markets professional. After a 15 year career in music, Talia decided to return to school with the goal of making the capital markets accessible to those who need them most, ultimately championing single parent households to drive positive economic change for their families .

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