Career Patience and Emotional Labor

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Career Patience and Emotional Labor

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People interested in career advancement get pretty excited, they typically don’t lack motivation or drive. When is career patience important and how do you endure it while time passes by?

Your career is important. It is often how people measure their worth or success in life. Today many people have multiple careers. They may change from fire fighter to schoolteacher, or from sales person to a marketing expert, or any other role change you might imagine.

Employment recruiters and human resources professionals can tell you a lot about job seekers and career changers. They can share popular trends, what to look for, and even about how long to expect to wait before a change.

Although the earliest of the baby boomers weren’t big on career changes. Today career changes, job changes, and advancement seem almost necessary. People sometimes feel like it is a requirement to prove your worth.

Not so fast though, don’t jump too far ahead. Sometimes the best moves involve more patience.

Career Patience

Right sizing your patience is important. After joining an organization or team how long do you wait for advancement? Trends might be different depending on the type of work, but chances are great that the trends are shorter now as compared to forty years ago.

Senior leaders might question if you are ready. They might argue that you haven’t paid your dues. Often the suggestion is to have more patience. Is that good advice?

When we join a team we are often hired with a minimum skill or education requirement. We are framed to be competent because of our expertise, proven record of accomplishment, and qualifications. Job hops are evaluated and an interview or two tries to determine your character, attitude, and your ability fit.

Do you want to grow in your position? Are you ready? Have you proven yourself?

Your career is often not about just showing up. It isn’t even about your technical skills, your education, or your track record. It may have more to do with emotional intelligence and even emotional labor.

Emotional Labor

When you have to have patience yet be assertive, and when you have the skills, qualities, reputation, and experience, what is missing?

Sometimes we have to be willing to be patient. Patience is emotional labor. It is the work that we do without a manual, a technical skill, or background check.

Emotional labor is what we endure. It is the dress for success, speaking the language, and effectively representing where we want to be. It might be developing into the perfect fit.

We don’t always get the new job or advancement and then grow into it. We might have to grow out of the job we currently have first.

Demonstrating career patience may be the most hurried thing that you do.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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