Still In Paid Employment? How to Make the Most Out of the 9 to 5! By Shayo Imologome FCA, MBA

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So you are still in paid employment, or you just got a job, great. Most of the noise out there right now is – get out and start your own, but the truth is, its not as easy as it sounds. Having your own business is great, but for some people the transition is difficult. You are moving from a secure structured setting to insecurity, uncertainty and sometimes, chaos.

So before you make that bold step into the unknown, let’s first talk about how you can maximize the time while you are still in paid employment. Below are a few points I think would be helpful.

Have a plan

For most people, the first job they get after school is more about survival that vision and purpose. Some people are lucky and they get just the right job that will help them achieve their ultimate goals, but for the majority, survival is the name of the game.

So you get this job,

what do you plan to achieve with it other than earn a steady income?

Most people don’t ask this question yet alone answer it. When you step into any employment, have a plan. ask and answer the following questions:

How long do I want to work (or continue to work) for this company?

  • 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
  • Give yourself a time frame, after all, you can’t be there forever!

Where do I plan to be in the next 5 years? 10 years? I ask this question at interview sessions and its amazing how most people don’t have a clue on where they want to be in 5 years.

  • Senior management?
  • Different department or function? Different branch or unit? Other subsidiaries of the same company/group?
  • New job? Own business?
  • Change profession or industry to align with your vision?

What do I want to achieve while I’m here?

  • Get another degree?
  • Learn on the job and become an expert, develop key skills in the current field/industry?
  • Get married? Have children?
  • Get a professional certification?
  • Develop new skills outside your current industry through personal training?
  • Buy a car? Build a house? Write a book?
  • Or even put structures in place for your own business?

When you have answered these three questions write them down and set realistic time frames for achievement, you will realize that you now have a very strong and clear focus on how you want to progress. So going to work is now more fun and is more interesting because as you work you are also pursuing your own personal development, while also helping the organization to achieve its overall goals and objectives. You are a happier person, which makes you overall more effective. It also helps you focus on what is important and what is not. So if you have planned to finish your MBA before you exit and someone gets you angry, you know you shouldn’t get upset and resign just yet, because you need to finish the MBA first before taking on any new assignment.

Most people don’t leave their jobs until either they are dissatisfied with their employers or their employers are dissatisfied with them, and this almost always occurs at an unexpected time, making the employee desperate to quickly get something else, which will ultimately be a ‘survival mode’ job again. Don’t wait for this to happen, try to leave when the ovation is loudest on a very cordial note, and planning makes this easier to achieve. Even if you have to leave a bit earlier than expected, you are physiologically better prepared when you have a documented plan already in place.

What I have observed is that many people start the job in ‘survival’ mode and get carried away as they climb the corporate ladder and the money starts rolling in, but sometimes, they are in a place they don’t really want to be. They often completely forget their own needs for development and self-actualization.

Then one day they wake up at the top of the ladder, very rich, very successful, but very unhappy because they have this great and wonderful job…………. that they hate! It’s not really what they want to do, but now they are too old, too rich and too successful to drop it all, leave the comfort zone and go start from scratch to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

But there is hope, if you are still an employee, you should go ahead and ask yourself the three questions above, then redirect your steps and re-align your life. Whether you are in the job/industry of your dreams or not, once you are in paid employment, make the most of it and ensure that you achieve at least one of your major lifetime milestones before you exit. All the best!

About the Author

Shayo Imologome is a business strategist, corporate performance manager and also a  public speaker, she is currently the Group Compliance Director at Troyka Holdings Limited

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