Are you “all-in” or are you afraid to make a total commitment to your career? asks Rhonda Scharf

While on holiday recently, Warren and I had a buffet breakfast. I had an omelet, some ham, and some bacon (as well as a few other delicious treats). As I was sitting enjoying my meal, it occurred to me that the pig was completely committed to my breakfast, whereas the chicken was merely involved. The pig had to be killed and cooked up in order for me to enjoy the ham and the bacon. The chicken just laid an egg and continued on with her life.

When you accepted the job you are in now, were you a chicken or a pig about it?

I’ll bet you’re wondering where I’m going with that.

What I’m really referring to is your commitment to your job, your career, your company and to yourself.

Are you “all-in” or are you afraid to make a total commitment to your career?

My career path has taken many twists and turns. My personal life has taken many twists and turns, too; however, once I realized that I needed to commit myself completely, I was all-in, and my personal happiness and satisfaction skyrocketed.

I went to college for nursing. My first full-time job was as a receptionist. From there I was a secretary, an executive assistant, a support-desk worker, a business analyst, a trainer, a speaker, an author and a consultant.

Until I reached the job of trainer (and subsequently speaker, trainer, author and consultant), I was never fully committed to my job. It was a job. I was the chicken. It paid the bills; I was happy, but I was always looking for a better gig.

About five years into my speaking and training role, I realized that being the chicken wasn’t enough for me. I had to let go of my chicken approach and become the 100 per cent committed pig. I let my nursing license lapse (I really wasn’t ever going back, anyway). I acknowledged that I was all-in as a speaker, trainer, consultant and author. I was going to make this work.

It wasn’t always easy. There were times when I thought I should just get a “real” job and settle for Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. That would have been easier than having to make a total commitment. But at some point, I committed to being a pig.

I did the same thing in my relationship. Warren is my second husband. I’d thought I was all-in on my first marriage, but clearly, I wasn’t.

When you do that, go all-in, you leave yourself very vulnerable, both personally and professionally. I’ve come realize that I’m okay with that because my work and my relationship with Warren were that important to me.

If you become the pig, and are all-in, you could get burned by your current employer. But if you are really the pig, you know there will be another company that can use your talents, your wisdom and your skills—because, frankly, you’re delicious (in other words, talented and useful to just about any employer). What you won’t do is second-guess yourself about what you should be doing with your career. You won’t be thinking about an escape plan, you won’t be wondering if you should be doing something else. That doesn’t mean you will automatically be in the right company every time; it just means you are doing the right thing, and you need to find the right company for you.

With relationships as well, you could get burned when you decide to be the pig. I believe that if both of you are pigs in your relationship, meaning that you are both all-in, you will work harder to ensure you stay together. Like the company analogy above, it doesn’t guarantee success, but it guarantees satisfaction in trying your very best.

Many of us have left jobs and relationships. Sometimes we look back and wonder “Did I really try to make that work? Did I leave too early?” If you have done that (and I certainly have), you were operating from the chicken perspective.

If you know you did everything you could, but it was just time to jump to a new buffet, you will suffer no guilt or remorse—and you’ll know that you were the pig.

Because, while my omelet was good… what I really enjoyed was the bacon.


Rhonda Scharf, CSP, HoF, GSF is a Certified Speaking Professional, Hall of Fame, trainer and author based in Ottawa. She helps organizations feel motivated and educated through her interactive, realistic and fun training programs and keynote speeches. If ... (Read More)

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