If a superior tells you “you need to leave your comfort zone”, then wrap-up and leave this company!

“Leaving the Comfort Zone” has been a cliché for a while. Since it’s popular, people use it just like people talk about “keynesian economy”, meaning that they basically use an established argument without even knowing what they are talking about. So, when someone writes about it, everybody applause with contempt on the face, and mostly no one don’t really know what we talk about…

typical comfort zone
typical comfort zone

“Leaving the Comfort Zone” has been a cliché for a while. Since it’s popular, people use it just like people talk about “keynesian economy”, meaning that they basically use an established argument without even knowing what they are talking about.

So, when someone writes about it, everybody applause with contempt on the face, and mostly no one don’t really know what we talk about…

The first thing I would love would be someone to step up and define accurately what is this “comfort zone” that so many people seem to be living with, regarding the fact that as for Gallup, 66% of the people working “are not engaged, or actively disengaged in their job”! Where is “the comfort” when you go to work for the paycheck?

Wake up in the morning, coffee, shower, leave your brain in a cupboard home, and go to work. Terrible fate!

What studies show, in a matter of fact, is that the popularity of the myth of “leaving the comfort zone”, is strangely correlated with the increasing number of chronic stress and burnout cases… Making people living 8 or 10 hours a day under pressure and anxiety is not a way of human management, neither explaining that people should be nice with a bossy-boss. This idea – making people working under anxiety – was already theorized by Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson in… 1908! They were suggesting to make people “work on an optimal level of anxiety” beyond which performances would drop. Only problem: we are humans, and this “optimal” level doesn’t depend on a mechanic factor…

The second thing I would say is that, a sign of maturity at work is that you know what you are good at, what you can do properly, and with comfort. What my best clients do for everyone to be in an efficient comfort zone is training their people, before they land a position, positively assess the weaknesses, and help them filling the gap even before having to worry about their employee efficiency. They don’t just “complain”!

When you have an employee “malfunctioning”, it might be his fault for a part, but for a large part, it is the management chain’s! They were not able to anticipate the problem, and you know the sentence: “to govern means to foresee!” If a manager is not satisfied with your performance, he/she should be able to explain why, and not just complain. Is he/she not happy with your performance? Then make him/her show the numbers!

So what “leaving your comfort zone means”? It basically means that – some – companies don’t want to hire qualified people. They want under-average level people who will spend all their energy to keep the benefit of undeserved salary and position, and will be ready to do anything you ask them to do so. The more you work, the less you think. The less you think, the less you will question the organization. Come to a “seminar” on weekends, or it means “you don’t want to leave your comfort zone”, do bungee jumping session, or it means “you don’t want to leave your comfort zone”. This is not about comfort zone: it is about submission. Lots of companies like feudality more than efficiency.

That’s why, if the corporate culture is about “leaving your comfort zone”, just don’t join it, and if you did, then, leave it! My job is to help you to find the career that will make your life better, not to indicate you the highway to hell…