[Blog 23] Small Pond or Big Pond? Just Keep Swimming.

Our life is bound to revolve around cycles: situations and demands transits chronologically with time, much like the evolving nature of our occupation development. Specific attitudes, behaviours and competencies are often closely associated with each stage of our career, where one typically requires you to grasp and master certain concepts in order to prepare you for the big ‘swim’ towards the next.

Small Fish; Small Pond
A time brimming with risks and uncertainties, this establishment period sees young adults making efforts to stabilise a place in their chosen career path based on their interests. They’re going to commit their first mistakes, learn from said mistakes, and experience their first tastes of success and failure in the ‘real’ working world. Here, rarely will one attain a role or position of authoritative power that carries immense decision-making and responsibilities. Instead, they will continue to work hard to obtain more credentials through advanced degrees and certifications.

Big Fish; Small Pond
At this point, with sufficient progress and improvements, many have built enough momentum to propel themselves beyond apprenticeship and assume greater roles and responsibilities at the workplace. Because they’re learning less and contributing more, there will come a time where they might feel stagnated so unless the job is a perfect fit, they might start looking for alternatives to express themselves and refine their uniqueness or risk being stuck and feeling dissatisfied in the long run.

Small Fish; Big Pond
With more experience and abilities, many will eventually jump ship to seek out better opportunities, something more challenging or even a better salary to keep up with their growing demands and liabilities. This involves a continual process of advancement in order to meet their bigger objectives and what they want to make out of their lives. The path that you envisioned for yourself when you were in your twenties might differ greatly now that you are maturing with age.

Big Fish; Big Pond
Now that they’re at the pinnacle and the top of their game, they are finally able to make big decisions and significant changes for the greater good. This final stage is often marked by a reclination from learning to like providing assistance and mentorship to younger individuals in the industry. Now that their nurturing role has peaked, their insight and strong sense of judgment acquired through the years carries substantial weight and will be highly valued among others who will share very similar concerns.

Successful career development is a lifelong process. Although we may not necessarily be pre-destined to adhere to a specific career cycle in our lifetime, these varying stages show that no matter the size of the pond, our values will never remain static as long as we yearn to grow and search for something better. So go forth and make the necessary adaptations with your career choices or reinvent yourself based on your skills and abilities. Whether you are in the process of discovery or at a crossroads due to financial considerations, it’s never too late to take ownership of your professional growth.

However, what comes next after the final stint? Choosing to stay with a company is the typical option for many executives who already feel ingrained into the business because they already know the ins and outs. Nevertheless, the prospect of staying may not sit well with others who find they are no longer in alignment with the vision and decision making. Armed with more credibility and confidence, they leave to pursue a much bigger calling, whether it’s providing guidance in terms of career counselling, or charting new territories with their long-life passion.