I watched Breaking Bad because my coworkers did.
I also ate lunch at my desk because that’s what they did too.
When you spend 40+ hours a week at your job, it’s hard to not to be influenced by your surroundings and the people that you work with.
And that’s not necessarily bad. Buying into and working towards a collective vision is what keeps companies functioning like well-oiled machines.
But where this influence can pose a problem is if you’re starting to change to fit in.
There are certain ways in which we need to conform: Dress Codes. Regulations. Safety Procedures.
But beyond that, bending to group think, and group behaviour, can hurt you in the long-run.
Here’s why conforming is killing your career.
1. It Curbs Your Critical Thinking
When the pressure is on at work, and the boss is breathing down your neck, how do people usually react? Probably in a crazy, hurried, frazzled manner.
But if we all do it, then what’s wrong? Lots.
Without critical thinking, we respond emotionally, make hasty decisions, and ignore logic.
This leads to all sorts of negative consequences. You might piss off a manager, or worse, a client. You might make a critical error.
So don’t behave certain ways just because everyone else does. Take a moment, take a breath, and weigh the facts.
2. It Kills Your Creativity and Innovation
When you’re accustomed to think and behave like everyone else, why would you consider questioning or challenging the status quo? You wouldn’t.
Here’s the rub though: If you want to be successful, if you want to grow and stand out above the crowd, how are you going to do that without being creative?
Richard Branson believes that every company needs mavericks in order to grow and evolve. The same goes for you as your brand of one. Behave differently, think differently, and work differently. Your innovative approach will future-proof your career.
Be a maverick.
3. It Chokes Out Change
I find it mind boggling when people say they ‘fear change.’ If you fear change, which we all know is the only constant, what else do you fear?
What you should fear more than change is lack of it. Conforming in your career will undoubtedly halt your progress. You need to be taking on new challenges, trying new things and stretching into uncharted, scary, weird and sometimes wacky territory.
Failing to evolve, is deadly. Maintaining the status quo, is injurious.
But choosing to go against the grain, and work differently, will allow your career to thrive.