Thousands of people stay in destructive personal relationships ranging from stifling to genuinely abusive. Why? They are comfortable with the expectation. The same mentality applies to reluctance to pursue a new career. Has your career “lost that loving feeling,” as The Righteous Brothers lamented?
You might call it fear of the unknown, and frankly, the unknown is terrifying. It can also be exciting. With good decisions, commitment, and discipline the unknown can quickly become your new comfort zone. Just as the right romantic relationship should make you a better person, the right job should enhance your good traits, give you room to grow, and provide healthy stimulation.
It’s not you, it’s me
This old break up line is meant to let the other party down easy, without feelings of guilt. But the old cliché holds some dark truths with regard to employment. Many people are hesitant to change jobs because they believe it represents failure. They think it would tell the world and themselves that they made a bad initial choice. So they shoulder the burden and stay, out of a sense of responsibility.
It doesn’t have to be that way. People, situations, and companies change. There is no shame in recognizing that, and creating an informed plan for betterment, with honor and integrity.
Is it time to break up with your job?
You’ll spend a third of your time working. Eight or more hours of every precious day of your remaining life behind that desk or machine, on the phone, on the road, or in the shop. Will those days, hours, and years cause you pain or enrich your life?
You probably know that physical pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. You pay attention to it. You look into the cause and take medicine or physical therapy to relieve the symptoms. Then why are you ignoring emotional pain brought on by a job that just doesn’t fit your talents, your goals, or your lifestyle?
Seven reasons why you should do it now
1. Your life has evolved. When you took that job your marital situation, family life, hobbies, and health may have been very different than they are today.
2. The industry has changed. What was a promising field just a few years ago may have nosedived in response to economic, global, or environmental stressors.
3. Job burnout doesn’t heal. Maybe you once loved going to work every day, and now you dread it. Stress, uncompetitive or outdated products, boredom, lazy co-workers, or unreasonable management may be the cause, but rarely does the passion return once it truly fades.
4. You want to better yourself. We all want to make more money. You may also crave challenges, educational opportunities, and creative outlets that aren’t available to you now. And maybe you want the whole enchilada – ownership of the business. FULL ownership of the business, not the “economic value” that the company will determine for you as a severance package.
5. You aren’t getting younger. Yes, it’s scary to leave your comfort zone. Yes, it is really hard to learn new skills. Yes, it’s taxing to interact with a fresh group of people. Guess what? It won’t be any easier tomorrow or next year. Those are simply hurdles you have to overcome.
6. You’ll be working for awhile. The official average retirement age in the United States continues to hang at just about 62, but in reality more Americans are working longer. The economic crash made it a necessity, and improved healthcare makes it feasible. We’re living longer and staying productive by choice.
7. The economy continues to fluctuate. Waiting for investments to recoup, hoping that your employer will see enough margin next year for raises or bonuses, basically trying to wait it out – well, those are head-in-the-sand tactics. Taking control of your career is the first step to managing your future successfully.
8. Opportunities are fleeting. They don’t wait and they don’t usually come around again. I’m not recommending impulsive action, but think it through before you push a new prospect aside.
While the divorce rate continues to climb in this country, a surprising number of bright, capable men and women cling to the emotional security of jobs that, well, just don’t do the job for them any more. It’s time to start thinking about a new career partnership to enjoy the rest of your working years.
“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”
Thomas J. “Tom” Peters
Don Meincke, CIC, CPIA, LUTCF – www.donegalagencybuilder.com
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