I’m always after a promotion. Is there anything wrong with that?

The question:

At 29, I’m what you’d call “on-paper” successful. I’m in advertising, and I’ve jumped companies more than I count, because I’m always seeking a better pay, better title. Is there anything wrong with that? I just got a promotion, but I’ve already applied at another competing agency. My friends say this is an indication of some deep level of unhappiness – what do you think?


The answer:

Let me ask you a simple question: do you feel happy in your life right now?


The fact that you are driven and wanting to move up in your career at such a young age is not necessarily any indication of any deep-rooted level of unhappiness.


Generation Y’ers such as yourself switch jobs more often than any of the generations preceding them. A big part of this is attributable to the nature of work, which has changed tremendously over the past several decades. With technological changes and the associated virtual absence of geographic limits or boundaries, job jumping is much easier due to so many options and possibilities for work than ever before.


That said, your friends (and you) are both questioning whether there is anything wrong with what you are doing, so there may be more behind this than meets the eye.


You say you are “on-paper” successful. How would you rate your level of success in other parts of your life, such as friendships, intimate relationships, health/fitness, personal development, religion/spirituality? Does your focus on work interfere with your ability to be able to be focused on and have other important parts of your life fulfilled?


Think about what your motivations are for being so driven to seek out numerous promotions and job changes. Do you find you are easily bored if you are at one place too long? Do you feel drawn to the excitement and frenzy of moving up quickly and then going on to the next job? Is it a way to distract from other parts of your life that are important to you, but that perhaps are harder to fix?


If you feel happy in your life, enjoy your career, and find that you are able to still have time to build other elements of your life that you value and that are important to you, you are in a great position. If you find that your career focus is interfering with other elements of your life that you value and that are important to you, you may need to revisit and revise the way you have been approaching your career and life.


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