“What baggage? I’m not still bitter…” Aren’t you?
Do you find yourself still referencing a previous employment or a passed over promotion like we reference old boyfriends and girlfriends? Then you are dragging around baggage. Are you still telling people you were supposed to be the new supervisor, even though the department has grown, split and hired three more supervisors since you interviewed 21 months ago? Then you are dragging around baggage. Were you let go from your company more two recessions ago, but you talk about your last employment like it was yesterday? Then you are dragging around baggage. Do you avoid your friends and neighbors at the grocery store because you are actually one of the clerks (a “Stop-Gap” job you picked up to make sure you could continue to pay your bills?) Then you are dragging around baggage. And, if you are doing all of these things at once, then you have a full luggage set in tow!!
We spend more time at work or our businesses than with our families. We prepare for years through schooling and promotions for that one perfect position. We get introduced to new experiences that we wouldn’t typically have access to (I remember being 19 years old attending my first wine and cheese at my first job-I was in heaven and gushed about it to my parents for months). It is no wonder that we identify ourselves through our jobs and careers. So, when we are removed from that identity, through no choice of our own, like a lay-off or getting fired or being demoted, it can be devastating. Or what about when our job or career doesn’t move in the same direction that we believe we should be going, it can be life altering. And lets not forget how it feels when you find yourself contemplating closing shop because you still haven’t grossed a profit, or even just paid yourself your first paycheck yet.
Like a bottle of shampoo that causes your baggage to be checked at the airport, or even worse, a suspicious object that shows up on the security scan that causes your baggage to be pulled from the baggage hold, therefore causing the airline to pull you off the flight and ultimately causing you to miss your flight, your baggage is stopping you. “So now you’re blaming me for my unemployment or lack of promotion or low foot traffic?”. Not at all, but our baggage is holding us back! It is keeping marketable people from effectively marketing themselves. It is keeping persons in stagnate careers or roles from seeing realistic immediate opportunities to re-engage themselves in the job market.
And this phenomenon is not limited to people in traditional jobs. Many entrepreneurs fight battles with scars of yesteryear as they choose not to go after certain contracts or stop attempting to penetrate certain markets because they’ve been rejected there and don’t want to take that chance again. It is keeping bright business people from taking new risks or even from assessing and possibly overhauling their current business. The irony is its these risks and assessments that propelled them into business in the first place.
Are you carrying around baggage? For some of us, it is very apparent but for some, the baggage has become the norm. If you find that you have hit a door, a ceiling, a rut, then it is time to self-evaluate and devise a plan of action to move past your circumstances. This is a good stage to ask for others to give you input as well, you might be more stuck than you even acknowledge. But most importantly, look at the possibilities for what they are determine how you will give yourself access to them. You’d be surprised how many doorways to opportunity do not welcome in baggage. So, let’s begin asking ourselves, “What baggage am I carrying for what destination?”, “Can I get rid of it if it has no use where I want to go?” and if you can’t get rid of it, at least “Can I leave this bag at the door?”
Tanya Taylor Dingle, JD
Chief Strategy Officer
M³ & Co. Global