You're at a pivotal moment. You've realized something is missing from your current job, you can't pinpoint it, so you have an internal debate.
Do you jump ship immediately because the "hitting snooze 10 times each morning because you dread going to work" routine is not how you want to live?
Do you strategize an escape plan while you plow through the discomfort?
Do you accept that this is what work is supposed to feel like? It's inevitable, isn't it? This must be why people call work, work? In other words, do you stick with status quo?
None of these options sound good, I know. I've been there. It's scary and loaded with pressure, like you're about to shape the rest of your life with one decision. And a lot of time, we end up paralyzed in fear and don't take action.
Let's dig a little deeper with some examples so we make action more palatable:
- Stick with Status Quo
- You accept that work is work, and for you, that is totally what you want and need to be your best you. You are probably really good at creating boundaries and you make sure to find fulfillment in other areas of your life. Some people live fantastic lives like this! (this was not me)
- But to many, when we commit 2/3 of our waking hours to a job we don't like, we are settling for mediocrity. And that really sucks! Mediocrity can then bleed into literally every area of our lives. If you find yourself or others constantly saying, "new day, same problems," "I got a job, can't complain" or "could be worse" when you ask them how their day is going, you're most likely at least surrounded by mediocrity and sometimes misery. That misery loves company; office gossip, excessive drinking at happy hours and competitive victimization (i.e. "omg, this project I'm working on is absolute worst! It's worse than my last one - I didn't think that was possible") are really common in a lot of workplaces. It's like a sport where people compete to see how bad can it get! Remember, you get a choice to live HOWEVER you want. Don't settle! And if you now realize you've settled, it is never too late to change.
- Jump Ship
- You cannot bear another day of the madness! You must get out - the anxiety or dissatisfaction you feel will be gone, if you just find another job. But there's a part of you that knows the grass isn't always greener. You're a little hesitant to just "jump ship" because you know there is something bigger happening here and you fear your problems following you to the next job.
- Depending on how bad your situation is, getting the F out of there may be your best move. A quick move could also serve as a stepping stone to a more manageable workload, or to an organization where you feel a better cultural fit. You could end up with more balance, which can allow you to focus your free time on your strategy to make a bigger move, into something that is truly fulfilling for you.
- Planning an exit strategy is a great option for most people; especially those with families, financial obligations or have a fair amount of risk aversion. Once we start exploring an exit strategy, we often feel immediate relief. We are ignited with the hope of something better. We learn that there are options - endless possibilities in a lot of cases! Some more scary and risky than others, but developing a plan to get there is liberating and exciting!
- Strategizing can also bring to the forefront that there are often tweaks we can make to our existing role, things we can ask our organizations for, that will allow us to incorporate more satisfaction into how we spend our valuable time at work each day.
So what's the answer for you? Depends on a few things... your tolerance for risk being one of them. Are you someone who loves to jump into the unknown? Chances are that's not you - you wouldn't have made it this far into the article (you'd have left your job already!) What's important is that you don't ignore the signs of discontent. If you used to be happy doing something and you're noticing that something has changed, it's ok, there is always a good solution, if you allow yourself to look for it. And if you ask for help when you need it. If you're ready to strategize, let's work together to figure out what that next step is for you!