"It's a job, not a hobby," and 4 other lies we tell ourselves about why we don't move on from dead-end careers
You know those mornings when you open your eyes and think to yourself, “Ugh. I can’t believe I have to do this again. How many fires will I have to put out when I open my email? Why am I so tired when I just woke up? I should workout, but that deadline is tomorrow. I’ll workout tomorrow. [insert any other version of a busy leader’s morning dread here]”?
Sure you do....
Don’t you find it fascinating that somewhere in our pasts we were sold a story about what a “job” is, and the natural level of dissatisfaction that must naturally go with it? After all, if our jobs don’t bring some level of dissatisfaction, they would be called a hobby instead! Right?
What a load.
But...“If I just work a little harder, a little longer, it will all be worth it.”
Instead, let’s try, “I’m going to be honest with myself about this job that makes me unhappy, and is holding me back from living a better life.”
So, how do you know it’s time for a transition and not just a bad day?
#1. You have convinced yourself that being overworked and underappreciated is just part of being an employee and that no matter where you work, some level of pain and dissatisfaction will exist. The societal mantra, “It’s a job, not a hobby” is certainly alive and well, but that does not mean it is true! This old story has got to go!
#2. When friends ask you about how work is going, you immediately start the internal self-editing process. You’re a professional-- you certainly are not going to sound whiny. You begin to talk about the achievements you feel proud of, and all of the opportunities in front of you, and at the same time your internal mini-me is saying “liar, liar, pants on fire.” You hang up the phone or get off social media and feel like total crap for not being honest with yourself. Instead, let’s start believing that it is okay to be authentic and honest with ourselves and each other. Friends are there to support you after all. Right?
#3. You regularly tell yourself that you would look for another job, but you don’t yet know what you want to do. You tell yourself over and over that once you figure exactly what that is, you will most certainly move on. News flash...figuring out what you want to do first is highly unlikely. This internal dialogue is simply fear or attachment, veiled as “being strategic.” Clarity comes through the process of exploring what is out there and by asking yourself, “What life do I want to live?” “Who do I want to be?” “What do I value?” Clarity does not come solely from asking, “What do I want to do?” Truth is, your highly competent with a strong skill set and could do a variety of things, and you have a lot of interests...which is why this question doesn’t steer us in the direction of our dreams.
#4. You have convinced yourself that your lack of diligence and commitment to self-care is the reason for your unhappy work situation. If you did a better job ate healthy food, exercised, and slept better, you would be able to deal with the BS and would not suffer the emotional and physical toll of your demanding job. You convince yourself that the lack of healthy routines is something you are really going to get in check next week. “Next week, I’ll really find a way to get some exercise during my work day.” “Next week I’ll start that diet and lose these 20 lbs.” “Next week, I’ll start a meditation practice so I’m not such a loony tune by the end of the day.” More often than not, lacking in the self-care department is the outcome of an unhealthy work situation, and the limiting beliefs you are holding on to, not the cause of it.
#5. You won’t say this out loud to anyone, but you are afraid. You are concerned that you are not smart enough, or good enough, or qualified enough. You are convinced that you need to stay in your job to learn more, and grow more, because you just aren’t ready to “level up.” One day, you will wake up knowing you are “ready.” Nope. Not gonna happen. You have limiting beliefs about yourself and your worth, and those don’t go away by staying in the same, dissatisfying job. These limiting beliefs go away by taking leaps of faith, getting gutsy, and going for it!
Want to determine concrete action steps to move forward? You can do this!
And I can help you.
A proven executive coach and consultant, Carrie has a doctorate in organizational development, and over 16 years in non-profits. She has consulted and coached leaders from more than 30 states, and has held various leadership positions in some of the largest nonprofits in the US.