As you have probably heard at this point if you follow the show American Idol, celebrity gossip, or just happen to watch the news from time to time, Paula Abdul is leaving the show American Idol.
She’s walking away from the most popular show in television history and into an unknown future. Why would she do this you might ask? Well from what I’ve read and heard, it comes down to several things: Money, Respect and Overall job satisfaction.
You’re more than likely saying “That’s wonderful, with the economy in the shape it’s in, Paula Abdul is walking away from a multi-million dollar a year job; where all she has to do is sit and be nice to aspiring singers and take an occasional chiding from Simon Cowell.”
Well, you’re right with regard to the fact that millions of people around the world are suffering through economic hardships and she’s turning down an eight-figure deal. On the other hand, money is not always the most important thing in life. I didn’t say it’s not necessary, just that it’s not the most important thing in and of itself.
There really must be a combination of financial reward, respect and an overall feeling that your appreciated and valued. In other words, we need to feel that we matter.
This leads to me to the title of this blog post, in that IT professionals (and anyone for that matter) can learn a lot from Paula Abdul when it comes to career choices. Simply being paid a lot doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. Even though she was making several million dollars a year from the show, her counterparts were making many times more than that. Simon Cowell is reportedly making upwards of $45 million for doing basically the same job.
As an IT professional, it’s important to balance financial rewards with the intangibles to find a job that is rewarding mentally, physically and financially. Many people get stuck in a rut where they feel they can’t leave what they’re doing even though they hate it and subsequently their overall quality of life suffers. This also has an impact on the people around them as well (i.e. family, friends, children, spouses, etc). Quality of life is more important than simply being well-paid. Many people who have a lot of financial success find themselves depressed and overstressed because they reach a certain level but haven’t learned to balance the other aspects of their lives.
As IT professionals, it is crucial to keep your skills sharp and learn new things whenever possible. This also means constantly working toward keeping a balanced life as much as possible. Training is critical to developing new skills and keeping marketable. Some people take classes, some learn online and many self-study with computer training videos at their own pace. Whichever path you choose, it is important that you keep moving forward. This not only gives you options and allows you to make changes when it best suites your needs, but it also insulates you to a degree should disaster strike and your forced to quickly find a new job due to downsizing, etc. If you are thinking about working for yourself there a number of things to consider in order to become a successful entrepreneur.
Don’t be afraid to take the step into the unknown or go after the things you deserve. Take a lesson from Paula Abdul and seek the quality of life that will truly make you happy.
I’d like to know what you think, was it a wise decision or not? Can IT professionals take a page from her book and improve their quality of life?