Career planning, part 5: Problem maker or problem solver ?

Are you problem maker or problem solver ? How people see you ? From my personal experience, as a manager and as a employee, I found out that people usually don’t like too much persons who always come to them with problems. Especially they don’t like persons who always complain about everything and everybody and every task to them seems like hard and not achievable. They can drain your energy and usually after talk with them, you feel completely exhausted. Actually, nobody likes them and you can probably recognize such type even in your neighbourhood, company or even in a wider family. You probably think: “Oh no, here she.he comes again” when you see them.

Beside this, such people can have very negative influence on their associates, you, me, others. They could spoil team momentum, motivation and “can do” spirit. I agree that some amount of reality and insanity check is needed in every goal and everyday life, but this kind of people are going “away” of problems, not towards solutions. They are like a spoiled kids who run away of doing anything hard, don’t want to take responsibility for situation and pointing finger to everyone else. Their point of view is usually problems are everywhere and they can hardly do anything about them. This unconscious programming, “meta-programming”, is caused by their previous experiences and it define their perception and behaviour  in challenging situations.

I found out that perception, openness and taking responsibility are very important aspect of resolving any problem and actually whatever you do in your life. Perception can help you to achieve your targets easier or make your life look miserable and targets not achievable. Openness and skill to see situation from different points of view is useful, because it extends your choices, you are living in palace of possibilities and every problem can have a multiple solutions for it. Taking responsibility is also very important factor and is connected to the point of view. If you believe that your problems depend on someone else, you will do nothing and situation is probably going to repeat and repeat until you suffer so much that you can’t stand anymore. However, if you take responsibility for what is happening to you and for your reactions, if you decide that you will act and do something, the worst can happen is that you will change something in your environment and life. Einstein was saying that is insane doing the same act repeatedly and expecting different results. So, any action is better than passivity. And there are no unresolved problems.


But, people are so scared and occupied with problems, looking on them like something unpleasant and try to escape from them somehow and somewhere. When they think about them, they are not in positive, “resourceful” state of mind which can help them to think clear and productive. They are tense and in guard position. Because of that, I stopped to think about problems like problems any more. What about you? How do you feel when you think about unpaid bills, children school and your boss ? Are you stressed ? Can you think clear ? Let’s look, instead, at the problematic situation like some challenge and feedback info  what currently is not working for you. Your situation is starting point, where you are now. Your solution is where do you want to go and you need to find  a way to come there. On this path, you will need some skills, tools and states which will help you to get there. Take a couple of seconds and think about past experiences. You passed a long way so far and there must be many successes in your life. Just recall them, recall how did you resolve similar situations, which skills you used then ? If you don’t have needed skills now, it is useful to find out if there is any people in your subject area or wider who had similar challenge. What skills they had and how they achieved such target or similar one.

Let’s suppose that you are unhappy with your current work role because your boss is tough and keeps you loading with stupid tasks. Above all, he does not understand anything technical from your role, but he keeps interrupting your work and is giving you advices and solutions. In this case, you can keep crying from day to day and complain about your destiny or you can take responsibility in your hands and react. Your starting position (not problem) is your work role, where you are right now and people around including your boss. Your solution and end point, where you want to be, is nice environment and pleasant, happy boss who is understanding, cooperative and supportive, who is managing you on the right way. You can decide that you can have a couple of paths to your solution. You can speak with your boss and negotiate your position, change team, change company or something else. But you have to be aware there is always more than one solution to any problem and they are actually challenges which gives you opportunity to grow and develop different skills. New technical skills for your work, negotiation and communication skills or something else. Whatever your challenge is, you can apply same principle, think about your situation and solution like a trip, a process.


My personal life example regarding career and wish to emigrate is one of the illustration using this process in right direction and taking destiny in my hand. I graduated mechanical engineering but there were not many good working opportunities in my branch.  Actually, in one period I was working in very good company and had pretty decent salary if I compare myself with other fellows from uni. But it was not what I was study for and I was not completely happy. I thought  I would rather go abroad to fulfil my passions.  In that moment, my home country Serbia was under sanctions, you couldn’t get almost anywhere without visa and wherever i was applying for job abroad, they were refusing me because of my passport. However, situation for software engineers was a little bit different and computers were my second life passion. Despite all, software engineers were breaking through sanctions wall easily because demand for them was pretty big. I took my chance, taught carefully what excited me the most, started to acquire knowledge and skills, passing exams, getting certificates and then started to apply for jobs locally to gain enough experience. I was even ready to volunteer, just to get into circles of Oracle professionals.  Did my whole plan work? I suppose so, cause today I am living in United Kingdom.

Here is a couple of action points for you, if you are in some challenging situation. Think about your current challenge! Ask yourself:

What do I  want to change ? What do I  want to achieve ?

How I can achieve this ?  How can I solve that ?

Did I have some similar situation in the past ?

How did i do then ?

Do I know someone who had similar situation ? How did they solve it ?

Do i need some additional skills ?

How I react and behave ? Is it purposeful and productive ?

What skills I need to achieve this ? How and where  can I get such skills ?

Is there some leader or authority in this area  who is successful in this ?

What I can learn from him/her ?


If you think that your task is hard and not achievable, you are right. Keep complain and you won’t achieve anything, you won’t get anywhere. You might even get replaced with someone who thinks opposite and even lose your job sometimes in the future.

If you think about solutions and choices, how you can do something, improve situation, come with suggestions, I guarantee you that you will advance, get promoted, prosper. You will become very valuable member of your team and company. Managers like such people. You will get your chance, to put your idea in realisation, to become manager’s right hand, person on whom they can lean on always, future manager and leader.

If you are ready to advance, to be promoted, to challenge and improve your current situation, subscribe to our newsletter and 5 part mini course. Take your chances, extend your choices!

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