Procrastinate at Your Own Risk

Posted on: September 22nd, 2015 by
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There are times when you want to wait, analyze a situation thoughtfully, consider all the alternatives thoroughly, weigh the different pros and cons, look at the implications to each option and sound out your considerations with others with whom you trust. When you go through all those time-consuming steps, you may be too late to pursue a career opportunity.

There are times you need to take preparatory actions, ready for the best and worst events. Here are a few of those times: (Examples I have experienced with clients)

1. You receive a poor performance rating (that may not be a true reflection of your work), but think you’ll come out OK in the longer run, so you delay preparing for the worst

2. You hear about a possible consolidation of your department or a rumor about a merger. If you are the last one who was hired or are at the lower end of the performance curve, you fail to take defensive measures.

3. You’re outplaced, for whatever reason, and given a big fat check in severance for multiple months. You believe you have a lot of time so you delay your search.

4. You’re outplaced and you drag your feet in preparing a resume and contacting others. You’re embarrassed or don’t have a good rationale to tell others why you’re on the market.

Some people rationalize that being dismissed can’t happen to them: “They need my skills”, or “As long as they keep good old Harry, then I’m safe.”. The most overused and self-delusional view is: “I’m indispensable”.

Three things happen when you procrastinate:

1. You set yourself up to fail as you’re unprepared and have to scramble to play catch-up

2. Others, who are already prepared to take action, are way ahead of you and likely to make a smooth transition to the job you should have gotten

3. If you’re laid off for any reason, you have a major hurdle to jump over convincing a hiring manager that it wasn’t your fault, but was a “misunderstanding”. A very difficult task

Add other reasons to this list and send me your thoughts. I’d like to put a composite list together. It may help the slow-to-act people realize that wanting to take action is not the same as actually taking action. Being prepared helps shorten the critical time required if you need to move quickly.

There’s a good reason for the phrase “You’re either quick or dead”

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