Complacency kills; now I’m not talking about killing people (though it could happen too), I’m talking about your career. According to Merriam-Webster complacency is defined as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”. They also made another definition for students that I like a little better, “a feeling of being satisfied with the way things are and not wanting to make them better”.
Complacency feels good, it feels like you’re in a good place and afraid to change it in fear that the good feeling will go away. While it feels good, this is a great way to bring your career to a halt. That means no promotions, no career advancement, no raises; you will stay where you are until you realize it’s too late. There will be countless opportunities that you let float by because you think you’re satisfied where you are.
This feeling is sneaky and it will creep into your life before you know it. You’ll finally get your dream job or that promotion you’ve been working for years to get and have that sense of accomplishment. You will celebrate it and be content with where you are because after all, that’s what you’ve been working so hard to accomplish in the first place. Celebrating is great but if you don’t continue to improve yourself or create new goals, you will become stale and eventually lose value which may mean losing your job or worse, staying in the same place for years and years. At least if you lose your job, you will be able to start fresh and work towards a goal instead of being stuck in the same place.
I’ve started saying the phrase “complacency kills” for a little over a year. This is after I was complacent and lost my “guaranteed” job after college which resulted in about $40,000 of student aid gone and a decrease of about $16,000 in my starting salary. Complacency kills. Now whenever I go to a new place, accomplish something, get a reward or something of the like; I celebrate for a predefined set of time and move on. I am in a constant mental state of improvement and I will not get stale.
You cannot let yourself get too comfortable with what you are doing for your career, if you do, you will not progress and may lose time and money like I did. If you accomplish one of your goals or have a small victory, by all means celebrate it but don’t dwell on it. Pick a period of time to celebrate and then create new goals. You are too valuable to become stale, improve yourself and live life.