In last week’s post, Love Your Work? (What Are You, Crazy?) we looked at how you can single-handedly turn around a difficult work situation. Yes, I said, “single-handedly.” And I meant it – when you first look to yourself and change (for the good) what you can – then, you can absolutely, positively, single-handedly turn around a difficult situation. I’ve seen it too many times to doubt that it’s a successful strategy.
And if you are doing the right thing, you are firmly in your integrity, and your work stays a soul-sucking hellhole, then… it’s time to quit.
I wrote about When To Quit a couple of years ago. Come to think of it, I really liked that post. In it, I suggested:
“It’s time to quit when the person you are becoming is someone you don’t like. When you’re in a job, and as a condition of employment you are expected to fudge facts, shift numbers and lie to customers, you become a person who fudges, shifts and lies. Is that who you want to be?”
“It’s time to quit when you find that you love having the problem more than the problem loves you. If you find yourself talking about the problem all the time, stewing and fretting, worrying about it, analyzing it, turning the problem over and over in your head – is that who you want to be? Is that how you want to use your energy?”
Now, let’s just be honest right here. Some of us slip into a familiar and comfy place where we absolutely love using our energy stewing and fretting, worrying, analyzing. Why? Darlings, it’s an artful dodge. What are we dodging? Why, fear, of course. We’re dodging and dancing around the thing so many of us fear the most – fear of change.
We change-fearers expend all our energy mulling things over – which leaves us absolutely zero energy to do the thing we need to do most: change something. So, to snap out of the contemplative coma and get going, ask yourself these questions:
- In the past, when I’ve made a change like the one I’m contemplating now – what’s been the outcome? Look back, write it down. What’s your change experience been like? How does that inform your actions right now? If you’ve been less than adept at change, what did you lack at the time? Can you shore that up this time?
- What scares me most about making a change right now? I’m not kidding: Make a list. Then look at each item that scares you and say, “If that happens, then what?” Follow the trail right down to the thing that scares you most. Such as, “I will become the bag lady who lives in a shopping cart at Westmoreland Circle.” Then decide: is that really possible? This approach puts many fears right where they belong – out of your way.
- If I make this scary change, how will I grow? (remember Finally Un-Stuck, where we talked about the power of always choosing growth?)
- By staying where I am – do I like myself? Do I even want to like myself?
That last one’s a zinger, huh? But coming to terms with whether you’ll ever allow yourself to truly like yourself – now there’s a thought worth pursuing.
So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you have quieted your fears, you want to feel better and you want to be better. What do you do next?
You know me – I’ll tell you to focus on your strengths, your passions, your priorities and your values. I’ll tell you to network, network, network. I’ll tell you to read Finding A Job 2.0 about the new rules of finding a job.
I’ll tell you to take a deep breath and get yourself un-stuck. Because there’s so much more to life than that soul-sucking hellhole where you work.
So much more.