If that’s the question you ask yourself everyday, this might be a different perspective.
If you are reading this, chances are you’re not that thrilled with your current job. (If your job is deeply satisfying don’t take it for granted!) Whether it’s the actual work or your relationships with your boss and coworkers, my guess is that you are sitting on the fence.
One foot is in the stay-put-and-vent zone, the one in which you kvetch to your spouse or friends because what else is there to do but stay at your job. Perhaps the prospect of leaving frightens you or the uncertainty which other career to pursue. The other foot hovers in the risky arena, as you put out feelers about available jobs, checking the ads in your local paper, quizzing acquaintances on their pay rates, and otherwise pursuing careers ranging from zoology (okay, hopefully you’re not too desperate!) to graphics (because why not develop your creativity, if you have it) to speech therapy (is there an accelerated program that will provide a degree in less than two months?).
Need I mention that you are disgruntled, burned out or ready to move on to the next step in your life?
More than anything, you want the happiness and freedom that a new job promises to provide you with. You have so much to offer and it seems like your creative juices are fizzling out. It can feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place. You want a job that offers fulfillment.
I would like to share some ideas that I hope will bring more clarity to your decision-making process. Your job is not some random experience that happened by chance. Each challenge at work is there to serve you in some way. A good way to understand this is to consider an arcade game. To get to the next level, you need to become good at that level and conquer the bad guys. Similarly, you job is there to draw out potential in you.
Are you having difficulties with the work assignments? With your boss or coworkers? With leaving your house every morning in turmoil? With finding enjoyment in your work? The first step is to recognize that it isn’t random. This particular game challenge was designed for YOU. How do you play it well and pass the test?
The simplest first step is to ACCEPT yourself and your situation. Yes, that may come as a surprise… You thought words like hate, resent, run away were more like it. By accepting yourself as you are and your job as it is, you can stop focusing on what is not working. This allows you to concentrate your time and energy on being grateful for what is going right. Of course, that gets you into a peaceful place. (Isn’t that what you really wanted all along?)
Practically, when your boss criticizes your work or you find that you are dissatisfied, just sit with compassion, knowing that you have done all you can and that you are worthy of being accepted and appreciated for who you are and for what you do right. As soon as you can, look for what you are doing well or for what is going your way.
Before you go off on a rant to your fellow friend, stay with this problem and listen loyally to your own upset. Then, mentally give yourself a hug. You are a wonderful, creative individual. You have so much to offer. It makes sense that you feel overwhelmed after a long, difficult morning or after a long difficult project.
When you send yourself that loving compassion, what starts to get activated is a sense of worthiness. You are worthy of being appreciated. You are worthy of being valued. You are worthy of expressing your creativity. You are worthy of being respected. You are worthy of understanding. You are worthy to be doing what you love to do… even though you don’t see the possibility now.
You may not have experienced it yet, but you are holding a place for it. That’s what draws clarity and answers. (Try it! It can’t hurt!) This is a refreshing approach that’s easier and more fun than complaining, resenting and fighting.
The more you are holding this truth about yourself, the faster you’ll either find more to celebrate and be grateful for at your current job. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll love your job so much you won’t want to leave anymore! On the other hand, you may be in a position in which it is time to leave. If that’s the case, then all-the-more-so you’ll want to come to a place of peace at your job. Would you want to bring the same level playing board into your next career? My guess is, no.
The idea is to learn all the life lessons that appear in your current job now; they’re here to expand you and strengthen you so that you are ready for an advanced level. When you are in this place of greater confidence, the solutions will appear clearer and closer to you. Perhaps an acquaintance will suggest the perfect position that feels right. Maybe you’ll get a phone call or a sense that one specific occupation is the next best step. More importantly, you’ll be leaving with a sense of closure and appreciation.
If the answer does not seem certain, keep applying the Accept and Deserve principles until something shows up near or at your door. (Okay, don’t trip over it and say, “See, there’s nothing out there.” Keep your eyes and ears open and be willing to go for something that’s slightly out of your comfort zone, as long as all the pieces make sense to you.)
Talking of leaving, if your desire is to free up your time, a big issue that arises is money. Financially speaking, you might want more freedom, but you need the ability to do it. While each individual case is different, you may have to make an educated jump into the unknown, as long as you have a back-up plan and some coverage for the missing amount. Can you handle that risk? Sit down, figure out what’s most important to you and decide if it makes sense.
If you don’t know what business or career to jumpstart, or you are afraid of going into the unknown by leaving your job altogether, it is time to work on TRUST. Begin noticing all the times you trusted your gut instincts. Did you feed your family a new recipe chicken and it went over pretty well? Did you say the right thing to a neighbor and it made them happy? Did you find the perfect gift for the perfect person? By building inner trust, you are going to grow more confident in your decision process.
To get practical, consider the following scenario. Chaya is at her job for six years and she feels ready to make a change. She is bored and restless, her position in the office leaves her vulnerable to receiving the flak for what’s going wrong, and she leaves two crying babies at home every morning as she goes to work.
First, she can accept that she is in a less-than-ideal set-up. As she faces the negatives, she will comfort herself by reminding herself how lucky she is to have a house to go home to, a job that pays timely and her own desk and space. She will extend compassion to herself as she goes through rough patches during the day. (“He must be in a bad mood; it doesn’t reflect on me.” “Let me rest for a minute and see what I did accomplish.”) Over the week, Chaya finds herself in a better mood and is handling her workload with greater optimism and strength.
Chaya starts to find confidence in herself and her abilities. She starts to feel worthy of being treated with respect, even if those around her are not offering it. In fact, she has come to realize that she loves the billing part of her job. Something to consider as she looks for her next job… She recognizes that she really deserves to come to work like a mentch, calm and ready. This opens up her desire for a shorter workday. As her worthiness grows, so does the clarity until the perfect job presents itself.
Chaya’s trust in her instinctive desire for change follows along with her worthiness. Instead of complaining or feeling washed out, she is quietly asserting her own power over her life. Although it would be a small risk out of her comfort zone to cut back on her job and to even try finding work for the hours she wants, she goes along with her gut feeling. In the end she is so happy with her decision. She ends up in a great job that pays well enough to cover the hours that she cut.
There are three choices. First, you can complain and be bitter about your position. Guess how that one usually plays out! Second, you can stay in your comfort zone and find the good where you are, but ask yourself how happy you will be in the long term. The third option is to be optimistic and positively focused and to take an educated risk as the opportunity presents itself. This will, hopefully, open up new horizons.
At whichever point you are, remember to ask yourself: Am I being wise or hasty?
When it comes down to it, having a job you’re not happy with draws on your courage as you make your decision. If only it would be as simple as pizza, where you can choose “to stay or to go” in a matter of seconds without any consequence! Remember to exercise your Acceptance, Worthiness and Trust muscles as you look forward to a fulfilling future. It’s there, all yours for the taking!