What's Your Sign To Change?

While reading through some statistics recently, I came across one that caught my attention. It came from research published in the March edition of the International Journal of Management. The study involved long-haul truckers (those gone multiple nights from home) and their job satisfaction. We are indeed fortunate to have men (and women) who are willing to undertake such a difficult job to insure that goods and products are available to companies and consumers.

The statistics that got my attention were these: 51% of truckers who have been on the job for 15 years or less would not recommend their occupation to a son or daughter. If they had been on the job 16 or more years, the number increased to 72.5%. A 21% increase! The longer they had the job, the more they had regrets about it. One trucker interviewed had a very telling comment: I'm on the road so many days per month that my relationship is basically a phone call. I have 3 grown kids and they have very little to do with me because they don't know me.

Reflecting on their research made me wonder... What's your sign to change course or direction? These truck drivers could have made changes in their career in their early years, but as they kept doing the same thing, the negative circumstances multiplied more quickly. And there was no turning back. They saw the signs, but chose to ignore them-or just had no way out.

What if you established some signs in your path that if seen or realized, represented a need to change? They could be things like:

  • If I reach _______ lbs., I will reduce my intake of __________ (insert guilty food pleasure here).
  • When I have to be away from home more than _______ nights a week, I will search for a better job.
  • When I see that my dream of being self employed has cost me ___________, I will find another way to make a living... at least for awhile.
  • When my employees start avoiding me because I'm always "snapping at them" I will reexamine my priorities.
  • When I find that my mind is constantly focused on work-even when I am away from work, I may need to consider changing jobs-or at least change the way I look at my job.
  • When I find that I'm always saying it's about quality time with my spouse and children and not quantity time, I need to change something in my work or life routine.

Putting some signs in place now might be just the reminder we need as, like these truck drivers, find that life passes by too quickly... from a windshield, cubicle or any other work area.