“You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
– The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
So, I have been doing this little blog for over 3 years now and I have yet to post anything, ANYTHING based off of the timeless wisdom of Kenny Rogers, which is hard to believe because he touches on so many things in my world that I almost think that he was in HR before pursuing the less noble path of super-stardom. To name a few:
• “Lucile” (Turnover).
• “Daytime friends” (Office Romance).
• “She believes in me” (Performance Reviews).
But today I want to focus on arguably Kenny’s biggest hit: “The Gambler,” which deals us some critical career advice (see what I did there?)
You see, I have seen many a bright, hardworking and talented individual get sucked into a job they didn’t like because they didn’t know anything else. It is a classic case of Sunk Cost, which is the situation where we feel like we have invested so much time, money, energy, whatever into something and therefore we push ahead. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t light our fire. It doesn’t matter that we don’t enjoy doing it anymore, or that we even hate coming to work. The only thing that matters is that this is all we have done for so long; we have invested this part of our lives up to now doing this. The idea of doing something else, something that we may WANT to do, is not viable – not because we can’t do it, but because it would mean that we have to turn away from all the time that we have put into learning our existing craft or trade. In other words, we have to “know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away… and know when to run.”
I love what I do, but I didn’t always. I began my career as a Store Manager for an auto parts retailer. It wasn’t a bad gig – I was paid fairly, I worked with some great people, and there were some good options for upward mobility (perhaps not with that particular company, they went out of business, but I could have easily been recruited away). The problem was, I didn’t like it. So, I changed careers. Not once, but twice, and if I do get to a point where I have had my fill of HR I am confident I will be able to walk away from the 25 years I have invested in it and do something that does light my fire. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I don’t want to be known as “The Coward of the County” when it comes to my career.