May is Zombie Awareness Month! Though we urge you to follow basic zombie attack safety tips (aim for the head! keep your gas tank full!), we do need to keep you from turning into a zombie yourself. When you were first hired, you were present, enthusiastic, and eager to do well. Don't let yourself slip into a shuffling state of half-consciousness at work. Here are four ways to prevent yourself from becoming a member of the working dead.
Recognize the signs of zombie progression
In the movies, zombie transformations happen suddenly. One minute our hero is fine. The next minute we see a bloodthirsty, stumbling being. Yikes. But in real life, this waking death comes on slowly. Your first year on the job may be a year of intensity and focus. Five years later, you may find yourself completing a 45-minute commute and stepping out of the car with no memory of the entire drive. Worse, you may find yourself sitting at the table with your loved ones unable to say a single thing about your workday. If these things start happening on a regular basis, it's time to shake yourself awake.
Care every day
To prevent zombie transformation, be mindful of your routines. You see, routines keep our lives in order and help us multitask. They help us work healthy habits into our days too. But routines can also accelerate time. If you hand over the reins to your routines, you may put your life on fast forward and miss valuable experiences, new skills, knowledge, and personal growth.
What's the bottom line? Every day you should face something new, difficult, scary, or interesting. Don't sleepwalk through these experiences.
Your job may be the problem
If you go through entire days (or months) without leaving the well-worn track of your routines, you may never have to face difficulty. Living fully requires you to impossible tasks now and then. It means overreaching and failing. The learning and growth that happen during these moments can keep us moving forward, instead of spinning our wheels. If your job doesn't offer opportunities to crash and burn, then it also doesn't allow you to soar. It's nice to be comfortable, but too much comfort isn't healthy for our long term careers. Ask for new assignments and challenges. If you aren't getting the promotions and coaching you need, polish your resume and start searching for work elsewhere.
Seek new training
New training and skills don't have to be handed to you by your workplace. If you feel like you're becoming a zombie, fight back by learning something new. Search for online courses, enroll in classes at a local community college, or go back to school for your degree. Learn to program, paint, speak a new language, or start your own side business. If you take control, there's nothing you can't do. But if you sit passively and wait for a change to happen to you, you may transform into a zombie.
Wake up, stand up, and take responsibility for your own career growth. Start by exploring the job search and profile building tools at MyPerfectResume.