Don’t Panic if You Haven’t Reached Your Goals Yet
As you grow and change, your priorities grow and change with you. That’s just life. As you gain more responsibility, both in and out of the workplace, what you see as a priority changes. When you’re younger, your priorities are different than when you are older – and regardless of age, your priorities are different based on where you are in life.
As a mentor, I’ve noticed what people are willing to do (or not do) is different based on where they are in their career. There’s generally a marked difference in priorities between the junior, mid-level, and senior levels.
Juniors tend not to mind working to the point of burnout. They’re driven by money to a certain degree, but not as much as mid-level folks, and novelty items still excite them. Things like free pizza, ping-pong tables, and “Beer Fridays” are incentivizing. New experiences and learning are good to use as motivators, but be careful you don’t burn them out.
Mid-level workers generally don’t want to spend as much time learning as they did at the junior level. They’ve put their time in and may be starting a family now. The project they’re working on isn’t as important as the payday. Therefore, they tend to be more drawn to money and titles.
Senior-level employees start to realize money isn’t everything, and usually become more willing to compromise. They’ve come to terms with the fact they don’t know it all and there’s plenty more to learn. Passion projects and teaching others become more important.
Now, some people are more entrepreneurial than others, so this breakdown looks different for them at age 20, 40, 60, etc. The important takeaway here is to not get caught up in your priorities. Don’t worry if you haven’t reached certain goals by a certain age. Your perspective will change throughout your life and you’ll find new inspiration – sometimes in the place you least expect it. My perspective on life and my priorities changed when I fed a baby tiger, and also through more expected paths like marriage and travel. You’re going to fail at reaching certain milestones, but you’re not a failure. Don’t panic, just allow your priorities to evolve.