Why you need to be more selfish in your career

HR leader, confident female business leaderWhen you’re first starting out in your career, it’s normal to want to do everything you can to prove yourself.

Networking, joining committees, organising socials and joining professional organisations, you try to do everything you possibly can to be successful.

But more often than not, being completely dedicated to your career can start to take its toll. You may start to feel burnt out, exhausted, like you can’t switch off at home, and like you don’t want to do anything outside of work. Maybe it’s time to be a little selfish?

Being selfish in your career doesn’t automatically translate to being mean to someone or ignoring your professional responsibilities, it can be anything from taking a night to switch off or mustering the courage to ask for that raise. And sometimes, being a little bit selfish is exactly what you and your career need.

Digital marketing agency The Audit Lab have 5 sure ways to put yourself at number one:

  1. Say no more often

At the end of the day, we’re all human. We want people to like us and to be there for them when they need us. That’s why we like to say yes so much. In a way, we’re scared of saying no, for fear of missing out on an opportunity or being excluded in the future.

But that train of thought brings with it an admission that we don’t fully value our own time and energy. It can be scary to say no at first, but it’s a powerful tool to master. You’ll soon notice how better-balanced your life becomes.

  1. Protect your time

Here’s a fact about to-do lists at work; no matter how hard you work, tasks will just keep being added on. The truth is that all you can do is allocate time to each one, and get as much done in your day as possible. Use a technique like the Pomodoro method to help protect your time and stay focused on the task at hand. Use your work calendar to your advantage by blocking out time that can absolutely not be changed, and don’t be afraid to say no to meetings if they’re going to eat into your valuable time – see point above.

  1. Disconnect

Let’s face it. In every article about a healthy work-life balance, the top tip is to stop checking emails outside of work but, if we’re being honest, we all do it, don’t we?

While we guarantee that the company you work for doesn’t expect you to be contactable 24/7, it’s the norm now. And as easy as it is to say to ourselves that we’re being productive by checking emails or that “catching up” on the commute will lessen the workload when we get in, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to actually disconnect. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or like you’re on the brink of burnout, turn off the comms even if just a few hours.

When you’re not picking up your phone every five seconds when a new notification appears, you’ll start to feel recharged instantly.

  1. Fight for your salary

No one likes talking about salary. It’s a tricky conversation to have and sometimes it seems easier to avoid the chat altogether and wait for a higher salary to be presented to you. A lot of people out there believe that they are worth more but struggle to broach the subject with their boss or manager, but your salary is your livelihood. It’s how you survive.

Whether you adore your job or just see it as a means to an end, you should still be paid for what you’re worth. If you feel like you’re undervalued or if you’re struggling to make ends meet, life can become stressful and it’s easy to become disheartened.

Do your research and set out why you deserve a higher salary, along with everything you have accomplished for your department and business, and you’ll feel much more confident having that conversation.

  1. Ask for help

As much as we want to be there for other people, sometimes our own ego can get in the way when it comes to getting help for ourselves. For some reason, we’ve convinced ourselves that asking for help shows that we are weak or that it proves we can’t handle our responsibilities. But swallowing your pride and asking for help is much better than not meeting expectations or falling behind. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help from your manager or someone in your team. If anything, they’ll be more than happy to help and will appreciate your honesty.

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