LinkedIn got it wrong, or when is your next work anniversary?

13123054_10157003288060454_8225485218981806025_oLinkedIn is an amazing social media tool if you know how to use it to your advantage, to find dream jobs and clients and to network. I absolutely love it.

Yet LinkedIn got one detail wrong. On its home page, it features the box «Ways to Keep in Touch». The one that invites you to «Like» or to comment «Congrats!» to those of your contacts who have just changed jobs and those celebrating their work anniversaries.

The problem is that the fastest growing professional social media tool does not distinguish between those who mark the 2nd or 4th anniversary and those who’ve been in the same place for 12 or 20 years   –  everyone seems to deserve same reward.

However we all know that there is a world of difference between Helen T. marking the 5th anniversary in a company where she has been progressing from one satisfying role to another and Alain M. who has been in the same position of a manager within same company for 9 years and feels stuck and bored.  Today, for example, I cringed as I saw LinkedIn inviting me to say “Congrats” to someone celebrating their 30th anniversary in the same company. (And no, they’re not CEO.)

Unlike for the generation of our parents, a large work anniversary is no longer a case for celebration. If not backed by regular accomplishments and steady progress, it often becomes a liability, a heavy rock that drains our energy.

Get to know your fears to be at the driver’s seat of your career.

Here are statements by 2 (real) people, former clients:

 ’I have been doing the same job for over 2 years and am now ready for a new challenge. I  asked my boss for a promotion but got an evasive response. Frustrated, I am starting to talk to headhunters and looking for a new position outside.’ 

and

‘I have spent 12 years – my entire career – with the same company, and I am so petrified of starting over, I cling to my old job even though I can’t stand it.’

The first one is driven by fears of not being valued and of wasting their time. The second person is afraid of change. It is the latter set of fears – fear of change, fear of failure, fear of instability and of losing what we have — that are more common. The longer we stay in same position, the more fearful we get about changing and leaving our old jobs or companies. We get entrenched in our comfort zones that keep us safe, even if we are dissatisfied and under-challenged.

Which of the statements above resonates most with you?  Are you afraid of change or of being stuck and of not being recognized?

Delivering workshops across companies based in Paris, I’ve come across hundreds of employees clinging to their jobs even though they no longer feel satisfied or/and are being misteated.

Job-hopping every 2 years is another extreme. If your work continues to be challenging, you continue to deliver consistent value and/or you are moving upwards within the same company, then it’s something to build on.  Most people, however, don’t take a moment to evaluate and ask themselves if they’re stuck in a fear zone or if they are making conscious decisions based on their values, needs and desires.

To understand what is going on, we need to first look closely at our fears.

  • What do you fear most?
  • How do those fears affect your behavior?
  • What are they preventing you from doing?
Once you are clear on what your fears are, you can either accept them and stay where you are,or you can seek an antidote which is to  …Get clear on your top strengths in order to decide and act from a lucid and confident place.The solution to confronting your fears is the clarity on who you are, and on the special value you deliver at work. A clear understanding of your strengths and key skills will allow you to own your place at the workplace, as well as your place at meetings, to express yourself fully and to speak up. This clarity will allow you to deal with fears of both change and being under-valued. You can then make a decision and take appropriate action from a clear mind and heart, connecting to your core values, rather than out of a fearful place.

Loyalty to an organization should come from a conscious place of knowing that you continue to deliver consistent value and that you continue to be valued by your company.

Are you clear on the value you deliver? Are you feeling appreciated? What qualities do your colleagues recognize you for? Does your LinkedIn profile reflect your Personal Brand ? Are you visible within the organization/industry?

Taking a pause to evaluate these points is very important in today’s age of increasing global competitiveness and unstable job markets. It’s important also since we want to make a difference through our work… while receiving well-deserved wishes on LinkedIn at each work anniversary.  (And If you’re in need of help with your Personal Branding, get in touch. Limited space is available for ambitous iprofessionals.)

So, LinkedIn, get it straight: let us, the users, choose for ourselves if our work anniversaries are worth cheering for or not.

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