I want to broach the topic of what makes us move out of our current job, and why it’s so hard to make this change.
You know what I’m saying: You start daydreaming, looking at job postings while you eat lunch (or lie in bed at night, scrolling). You are plagued by existential unease (like, who hasn’t been for the last two years??).
You’ve done what you needed to do. You followed the directions and the steps. Maybe you got some company or industry awards; solved big problems; became part of a great team.
(Yeah, you put up with some less-than-effective bosses, too, because it was just easier.)
And now, you’ve reached that intersection of professional success and professional purpose.
And your GPS is offline.
You aren’t ready to hang it up. You might be a long way from retirement. But you know more about yourself now and you know that the current situation just isn’t working.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why this might be the case. We don’t all think through it the same way.
Some of us are:
- Driven by the salary, the financial security end of things. We need to make more money.
- Motivated by great colleagues. That makes or breaks the whole experience. It just isn’t gelling right now.
- Determined to make a difference in some way. Without that, it’s just busy work. And right now, it’s busy work.
- Looking for recognition in that next great leadership role. You can’t seem to get that break.
And others are driven by geography, family priorities, health concerns—you name it.
But where the heck do you start?
Personally, I wanted alignment. I wanted to write; I wanted to make a difference; I wanted to stand on my own. (My fiercely independent streak has produced one or two good childhood stories. Maybe I’ll share them sometime.)
So, I majored in journalism. It seemed like a sure bet as far as employment—unlike an English degree, which (I reasoned at age 18) might have landed me in academic purgatory.
And though I adore theater, I knew I wasn’t a super-talent and I hate constant rejection, not to mention poverty. So, there’s that.
Bottom line, I got a job in my field. Actually, I got several consecutive jobs. I moved up to work at a regional daily newspaper. It was great.
Until it wasn’t.
I just got so tired of the relentless chase. I got so tired of the pace.
After about a year of consideration, I quit to find another path. I was 41.
Sometime, I’ll tell you the full story, including how I landed here. But for now, suffice it to say that I get where you are, and I want to be of service.
So, I’m going to give you a couple of “get started” little exercises to help you.
I actually did these myself, and so have some of my clients. Remember as you write: There are no wrong answers. No one is grading it.
- First, back through your job history and identify what it was you loved and hated about each role you’ve held. Write extensively if you want to. Get in there really tell yourself what you loved, and what you would have changed about those jobs if you had the power.
Great! Now you’re in the Zone.
- Now describe the perfect job to yourself. Define your non-negotiables. What is the work culture like? How is the day structured? What kind of manager do you have? What kind of team? What are you working on? Let your mind travel wander freely. No one else will read this. You can write any pie-in-the-sky thing you want to. Your mom won’t read it. No one will judge you.
Now: Close the file or the notebook.
Wait one or two days. Or maybe even a week.
Then go back and read what you wrote.
- Write down what you’re feeling now. Anything you’re wishing for? Anything you feel compelled to do? Anything you now understand better?
If you want to chat about it, let’s do it! Here’s my calendar link. I might be able to help you make plan.