Career Success Takes Hard Work

Sorry, but I don’t believe there’s a proven “easy” path to long-term career success. Most things worth having are worth working for–and do require work, not wishful thinking or a haphazard effort. Your career success falls into that category.

I’d actually suspect that most of you “get” this point. You’re not likely to hold your breath waiting for someone to hand you career success on a platter. (At least, I certainly hope you’re not!) But just in case some of you might have cherished that dream, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.

Why Career Success Takes Hard Work

Under ideal conditions, achievements sometimes become easier, but they also tend to create less impact and offer less cause for celebration. After all, you can’t really pump your fist in the air and go “YES!!!” if you didn’t have to do much to achieve the result. olmsted point yosemite

It’s much the same as the scrubby tree in this graphic. You wouldn’t think it could find enough soil to nourish it in that granite, and it doesn’t come close to the stature and grandeur of the dense forests not too many miles away, but it certainly does stand out. In fact, it serves as a symbol of determination and triumph against big odds.

This is not to say that you can never catch a lucky break in your pursuit of career success, such as a seemingly chance encounter with someone who gives a huge boost to your new job search. It’s just that counting on lucky breaks is a sure road to disappointment. While you’re spinning your wheels waiting for that break, your competitors are forging full-speed-ahead to job opportunities you might have been able to capture.

Wouldn’t that be a shame? I think so–and it’s largely preventable. So, what’s next?

Overcome the Obstacles to Career Success

Hard work and career success go hand-in-hand, but another element also comes into play: Determination. (You can have determination without hard work, but often they’re found together.)

Determination Overcomes an Obstacle

Most likely, you’ll encounter obstacles on your road to career success (and, yes, that’s obstacles in the plural). It could be one or more of the following and possibly even some I haven’t listed:

  • Severe changes in your industry that derail your long-range career plan and force you to make a course correction–sometimes a major one.
  • Personal/family challenges such as health problems that prevent you from putting in the time and effort necessary to maintain positive career momentum–maybe for months or even years.
  • A financial reversal that means postponing your pursuit of an advanced degree considered essential to move up in your chosen profession.
  • Acquisition of your employer by a larger company, with a resulting post-merger downsizing that eliminates your position.
  • Disagreement with your recently hired boss that can’t be resolved satisfactorily–you might be able to stay a while, but things are never going to be the same as they used to be.

In order to achieve your career success goal, you’ll need to overcome the obstacle(s) standing in your way. Determination and hard work, along with a certain amount of vision and common sense, can go a long way toward helping you do that.

It’s the old story: Control what you can – find a work-around for what you can’t control, if possible – and have the courage to keep moving ahead toward your ultimate goal of career success.



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