Do you feel like you are coasting through the day at your current job? Coasting at work could be defined as doing exactly what you need to do in a timely fashion. Nothing more, nothing less. You don’t go out of your way to impress your boss, to take on extra responsibilities, or get out of your comfort zone. But, not for nothing, you do what is expected and required of your job well.
Why is Coasting a Bad Thing?
First of all, nothing is wrong with doing exactly as your job description and performance goals ask. In fact, many employers would be thrilled to have an office full of people who did this! So why does “coasting” get a bad rap?
In a culture that frequently demands nothing less than your best, many workers (and managers) feel that if you’re not over-delivering or always taking the initiative, then you are unmotivated. This perception is complicated and can be compounded by many factors. From social media profiles that boast nothing but success and drive, to unrealistic expectations, an unhealthy overachieving culture can breed.
Thankfully, there is not a one-answer-fits-all approach to whether or not coasting is truly a bad thing for your career.
When it comes down to it, coasting is only bad if you, the employee, are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you come to work unmotivated, depressed, exhausted, or bored and you coast through the day, doing the minimum to get by just so you can leave again, then coasting is absolutely bad for your career. Why? It’s bad because clearly, you have more to offer, you’re more capable, and you should enjoy your work. While not every day will be the most thrilling day at any company, you should have parts of your work that excite you and motivate you to grow as a professional, and even as a person.
Coasting may not be a bad thing for you if it’s seasonal or based on workload. It’s also healthy to have some periods when work doesn’t make you crazed, stressed, or always taking on extra responsibilities. While taking initiative is desirable, you should do it out of genuine interest, rather than trying to impress anyone, or just to gloat about being busy. So if you tend to enjoy taking on new challenges because that’s how you stay motivated and you want to learn, keep doing it. But also don’t worry about coasting with your regular job responsibilities from time to time, either.
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