Yesterday, I attended "Branding for Sustainability," a conference examining environmental sustainability initiatives at the corporate level. The program included collective brainstorming on a common question: Given that sustainable initiatives often cost more at the outset and involve rethinking relationships, how can individual employees build support for change within an organization?
While environmental issues were the theme for the day, the recent volatility on Wall Street did not go unnoticed. Here are two take-aways that are equally applicable to both the issues of "environmental sustainability" and "career sustainability":
1. Pain drives change, but passion is a better long-term recipe for success. Just as many companies have been prompted to change their conservation practices based on rising fuel costs, your job search may be fueled by external factors--or by your discontent.
Within this environment, making a career change suddenly may stop the pain. That being said, if you haven't had time to reflect on why you are making the change: if you are not passionate or genuinely interested in your new line of work, you may not like your new job, either.
2. We get by with a little help from our friends. At the conference, several of the organizers mentioned the importance of building support for sustainability initiatives by working with colleagues horizontally---i.e. from your friends and colleagues, rather than starting with the c-suite.
Given that it's not always "easy being green," this strategy to build horizontal strength can help you both in terms of your ability to advocate for change and also in terms of your own career success. After all, support from colleagues can help you stay "vertical" and moving forwards in terms of how you accomplish your goals.
Several years ago, Tom Rath, author of How Full is Your Bucket? and head of the Gallup Research Workplace Research and Leadership Consulting Practice, published a book called Vital Friends which examines the effects that friends can have on your work happiness. According to Rath and research conducted by Gallup poll, having a best friend at work makes you seven times more likely to be engaged in your job.
Bottom-line: Stop reading here and engage in conversation with someone!
To your success,