Professional Development Work Relationships

Challenges Versus Constants: Weighing Workplace Opportunities

Written by Miranda Pennington

While author and business journalist Suzy Welch warns against complacency in what she calls a professional “Velvet Coffin,” arguing instead for the importance of taking risks in search of new challenges, writer and employment branding professional John Feldman responds with a more pragmatic point of view.

According to Feldman, who describes himself as “neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but rather a realist,” before taking a plunge into a new career just for the sake of avoiding the ennui of the everyday, you should take stock of the variables and constants of your current position. If you don’t know for sure that another opportunity would provide a better salary, more convivial coworkers, and more challenging work, are you still willing to take the risk, or might it make more sense to trust the constants of the workplace you know? He suggests instead waiting out the inevitable fallow periods where work becomes predictable, or even making your own challenges by taking on more responsibilities, earning a new certification, or opening a conversation with your manager about pursuing other opportunities closer to home.

Nobody should stay mired in a job that they find unsafe or unsatisfying, but there may be choices besides starting over from scratch that are right for you and your career. Good luck as you consider and pursue them!

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.