Rising Pro

The Seven Year Career Itch

I’m about to turn 29, which means two things;

1. My 20s are almost over

2. I’ve been in the workforce for almost seven years.

As I near the first decade of my career, I’ve got an itch. I’m starting to ask myself, ‘Have I done enough in my career so far?’ and ‘Will I be able to do more?’

It’s easy to minimize your work and accomplishments when you still feel like a young(er), less seasoned professional. I constantly feel like there’s so much more to learn and do in my career, and whatever I’ve done, it’s not enough.

This way of thinking can throw you into a negative tailspin really fast.

So, when I start feeling this way, I stop myself. Then I take a few minutes to look back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far in my career, either jotting down a list or reciting it in my head.

This is a great exercise to show yourself what you’ve achieved in a relatively short amount of time. It also helps you grasp what you can accomplish over a career and lifetime.

For instance, in 7 years, I have:

  • Gone from making $9.50 an hour to six figures a year
  • Traveled all over the world for work
  • Established and grown the Rising Pro blog
  • Uprooted my life, moving from Chico, Calif., to San Francisco to advance my career (and fulfill a childhood dream)
  • Worked at four companies, including Llano Seco Rancho, EXL, MSLGROUP and Salesforce
  • Served on three boards, previously The Boys & Girls Clubs and PRSA-SF, and currently YPOSF
  • Planned and executed two Dreamforce events at Salesforce

The point of this list isn’t to gloat, it’s to build yourself up by showing evidence that you’re enough and that you’re going to continue doing great things if you keep going.

Once you make a list, thoughts like ‘I haven’t done enough’ or ‘There’s so much more to do’ turn into ‘I’ve accomplished a lot in my career so far’ and ‘I have the capacity to achieve my goals.’

The next time you’re feeling intimidated, discouraged or overwhelmed, I encourage you to simply stop, look back and reflect. It will boost your confidence and energy to keep moving toward your goals. If you’re just getting started in your career, or have a short list, start jotting down some goals to accomplish in the next 3-5 years and then get busy. In fact, I’m going to share mine with you now to keep me honest:

5 Year Goals

  • Become a respected manager & leader
  • Start a business or organization
  • Help people advance in their careers for a living
  • Write a book and get it published
  • Serve on another board
  • Learn a new language/technical skill, like coding or web design
  • Take a sabbatical
  • Live and work somewhere outside the U.S.
  • Take time away from work to start a family of my own

I challenge you all to stop and reflect on your accomplishments constantly and to always keep rising no matter your age or stage in life.

Challenge: Compose a list of your main career accomplishments so far, as well as your goals for the next five years. Share below! 

2 thoughts on “The Seven Year Career Itch

  1. You are too much but thanks for the reminder and encouragement. I like the part, “no matter your age or stage in life”. I’m 65, recently retired and have both short and long term goals to keep me growing and productive in my life, and with my family and friends. I have always said that we are all here for a purpose no matter how small or large but being the best you can be for yourself, for others in your life and in society is at the heart and soul of human existence. Whether we realize it or not we are not the only ones on this journey. The things we do in life, especially those things that include or help others have impacts that we may never know but at the end of the day they all contribute in some way in making the world a better place for all us and believe it or not the natural environment. Take time to enjoy life both on and off the job. Don’t make your down time just another list of things to accomplish. Two of my favorite sayings are, “It’s not about how little you can do in this life to get by, but how much you can do to make a difference” and “If we’re not having fun then we’re doing something wrong”. Great blog and congratulations on your achievements thus far in life! Happy Birthday!

  2. As always Lindsay, I enjoy reading this blog. Making a list of accomplishments as well as future goals is an excellent idea throughout ones life. Similar to your father, I too am retired at the age of 65. I knew that ending a career in education would allow me the opportunity to experience new areas of interest. When creating my list of possibilities the common thread of Community Service appeared to be a priority. I soon discovered that being retired had a bit of a learning curve. When we are in the fast pace, schedule driven, meeting after meeting and beyond multitasking in our daily routine, it can be a big adjustment when it comes to a sudden stop. As I thought about retirement and how I wanted to spend my days, I came up with a list of pros and cons. Prior to volunteering, a dear friend told me to remain “open to change” as I tried to find my spot in this new way of life. How true she was, and after several volunteer positions, I quickly learned what was and wasn’t fulfilling to me. Life goes fast, always take time for yourself and enjoy the work you do. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDSAY!!

    Nan

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