It was only last month that I wrote a post about not staying in your job too long or risk having a negative impact on your career.
But as I plant a seed on pushing your career forward, I need to plant one on when to be patient in your career, too. (Everything in balance, eh?) One element of being patient is not to wear your career aspiration on your sleeve. And I can't resist writing this - - because it really is appropriate: too much fertilizer isn't good for your career seeds.
I will continue to preach patience with many of the people that I mentor - reminding them that they are in their careers for the long haul and that a few months here or there don't really matter. The risk of pushing too hard at the wrong time can have some negative results.
But, if you have a plan with a targeted next job within a reasonable time frame with which your management agrees, it is time to be cool. This is your opportunity to demonstrate maturity. And even if there seems to be some churn in what might be "the plan", don't appear to be insecure. Demonstrate that you have the perspective and understanding of what is going on in the business without making it personal. Be confident that you'll be ok.
And while you are being patient and still successful in your job, you might even be able to focus on the life side of the work-life equation. Wouldn't that be nice? It is not meant to be derogatory by any means when at some point in your career you are in "have a nice life" mode. Just do your job exceptionally well while the next steps are in motion.
It was rude but a perfectly appropriate comment when I told someone I was mentoring to "Shut up and stop thinking so much". It was clear that her management team was taking care of her and that next jobs were being discussed with her. In the meantime, she had a perfect work-at-home job with few travel requirements. The next job was going to require more travel and it was important that the next career step be dealt with - - in due time. But for now, it was time to keep work and life in balance (and maybe even squeeze in some extra time with the kids!)
And when that opportunity is presented - there is only one answer: "thank you". Many years ago, I was hoping to get a promotion to a specific job that I thought was right for me. Unknown to me, my manager was promoting me into a newly created job, one that was even better for me. I think I would have reacted well, but one never knows. Fortunately for me, the exec who had been mentoring me called me up at home to tell me what was about to transpire. The phone was going to ring, my boss was going to be offering me a job - different from what I "wanted" and all she was calling for was to remind me that "thank you" was all I needed to say.
Some of this might sound obvious, but it is hard to be in the right mental place to react correctly. Too much eagerness or arrogance and you are asking for money or asking silly questions about responsibility when all you need to do is say thank you. Then jump onto the work side of the work-life balance scale and make it happen.
So - if your flight arrival is delayed and your plane is circling, be very happy that you know you will be landing safely. At times, there are some things you just can't accelerate. Know where you are, where are are going with a reasonable arrival time so you may successfully continue on your journey.