Boy, we human beings are creatures of habit. We love routines! So comfortable, isn’t it, to mindlessly know what to do first, then go on to that, then move on to the next thing. Oh, we love it! The sameness of routine is so comforting.
Even if the routine sucks.
And is boring.
And might even be bad for us.
Kinda like having a habit we just can’t give up.
But it’s known and comfortable and predictable.
Which makes us feel safe.
And sometimes feel stuck.
It’s at this moment of awareness of our stuckness that we need to stop, and think, and ask, “What’s not working?” It’s a scary question, most certainly, but an eminently sane question. And exactly the right question to ask.
You’ve got to start by identifying what’s not working — what doesn’t feel right — so you can move out of stuck and right into happy.
Let’s say you’re stuck in your career. You’ve been in the same job with the same group for five, ten, fifteen years. You’ve got the system wired. You know where the bodies are buried. You’ve got the routine knocked.
And you are bored out of your freakin’ mind.
First, identify what’s not working. You’ve probably got pages to write on that one. Am I right? But then you start to say, “Well, yeah, but who else would pay me what I make here”, or “Well, yeah, but I’d have to start over and wouldn’t know anything”, and maybe even, “Well, yeah, but it’s not really that bad.”
For those of you who have such big “buts”, let me challenge you to look at your situation in a new way, with one more question: Did you get what you came for?
When you took the job, what did you want? Why did you take it in the first place? Because you needed the money? Because you could pick up certain skills? Because you could work with specific people? Because of prestige? Because it was the only job open?
And now, five, ten, fifteen years down the road, have you gotten what you came for? Have you met that initial objective? In spades?
Then maybe the reason you’re stuck and bored and not as happy as you could be is because you’ve actually done what you set out to do. And the task at hand is to set new objectives and figure out if you can achieve them where you are — or if you have to find a new place to do what now needs doing in your life.
We human beings are designed to learn and grow and, believe it or not, be happy. And if your career has become like a bad habit, a routine that no longer gets the results you intended, then now is the time, and this is the place, to start making changes.