Saving Those with Workplace "Allodoxaphobia"
With ever changing workplace environment, the question of whether to step out of the "comfort zone" becomes an eternal workplace proposition for professional managers.
The comfort zone suggests an area of expertise or stable working environment with limited challenges and where progress could only be made by stepping forward. On the other hand, the "circle of competence" investment theory insists that everyone should focus on their knowledge boundaries and only make investment in the areas they are most familiar with and never believe in omnipotence. Many have found themselves in a dilemma at different stages with strong desires to change while unable to make a decision when given a chance. Indeed, the different nature of work and personal capabilities make a difference when deciding to "leave" or "stay". Yet, you can ask yourself the following three questions to help you make the right decision.
- Am I ready to leave?
During job interview, some applicants tend to mention the "lack of room for development and promotion of the current job". "The current job cannot take me to financial freedom. I need another job with higher pay to pay off my house." "The current work environment is too comfortable to fuel any passion." It seems that they really want to step out of the "comfort zone". But when they are given new chances, they hesitate for doubting their tolerance to the unpredictable risks brought by the new environment. Indeed, since we are determined to challenge ourselves to step out of the comfort zone, we must be sure about the success rate. Opportunities are for those who are prepared. Have you reflected on whether you are incapable of changing the current environment? Has it become obstacles to your career development? A clear understanding of the limitations of the current environment helps you make a decision.
- Is the new environment really what I want?
Development in an all-around way is not necessarily for everyone and one shall not feel guilty for having no interest in trying. Just be true to yourself. For example, I once did statistics on the job objectives of my applicants, who are from consulting firms, mostly strategic consulting or financial counseling of the Big Four accounting firms. It turns out that more than 70% of their first and second choices are a job in finance. When asked "whether you really like the job", most of them answered that "I just wanted to try". Have they found the job that they are "passionate about" in the top PEs? Not really. The extraordinarily successful professionals in the workplace are those who set clear goals for themselves. You must know what you really like to do, what you can do and whether it is worth it? Once you are determined, you can divide the ideal career you are pursuing into the shortest possible phases. Instead of following the herd, you should identify the gap between you and the job, and make a breakthrough at the right time.
- Is it the right moment?
Perhaps you are too occupied with other more important things to focus your attention on the new opportunity. If it may lead to new concerns, then it may not be the right timing to make a decision.
The comfort zone promises us with security and ease and is sometimes the area where we perform best and feel most accomplished. But too comfortable environment sometimes erodes our enthusiasm and creativity. If you feel little room for growth at the moment and new opportunities excite you with the desire to explore the unknown, it may imply a chance to change.