I’ve got something radical to tell you today and it’s unconventional wisdom, but a true solution to job confusion.
Why you should love your job before you go…
Lately, I’ve had a lot of questions from my busyaholics who’re feeling a bit tortured and a lot dissatisfied in their jobs. The questions that’ve been coming up are deep and scary having to do with security, safety and the meaning and purpose of life.
Have you been feeling like your twisted up like a pretzel too because of your confusion around whether to stay or leave your current job?
If so, you’re probably daydreaming about what else you could do with your life that might bring you more meaning, freedom, satisfaction and even money. Something else is calling you. Somethings are pretty exciting to entertain, but you find yourself questioning your ability to actually make them happen.
You’re probably asking yourself these questions:
“What would I do and HOW?”
“How could I find the time?”
“I’m already feeling burned out on this job, what if I have to put in so much effort to change and I don’t have the energy?”
“What if I can’t handle the stress of doing something new?”
“I’ll probably have to learn a whole new skillset, is that even reasonable at this stage?”
“What will my friends and family say if I leave this secure job that I’ve got all this education, training and experience for for all these years?”
“Should I become an entrepreneur? How can I create something new for myself and still make money, I’ll have to work around the clock?’
“Maybe I’ll never make us much money as I can here?”
“What if I won’t have all the benefits that I have here?”
If you are single: “How can I make a big change like that and get married and start a family?”
If you’re married: “What if I risk not having something secure for my family’s sake, I have too much responsibility now?”
I get it… all you want is freedom and fulfillment to make a difference with the work you do. It’s human nature.
With all the questions, doubts, and unknowns you find yourself stuck between a job you’re unhappy in and a mountain of mental angst to sift through before you can make a move. This is where things usually shut down and you forget about it for a while and just try and manage.
Because hey, even if you do muster up the courage to solve this conundrum, what if you fail? Have you watched as some friends and family tried to varying degrees of success and failure? Maybe you’ve already tried it yourself but for this or that reason come running back to the safety and security of your job. You’ve got bills to pay woman after all, right?
Of course it’s “Just another Manic Monday" and you live for the weekends with this kind of dark night of the soul background worry running on repeat in your mind. So let’s see how we can get you some more satisfaction.
You can love your current job, and you can if you decide, to leave it without crashing and burning by preparing yourself for a graceful landing into what you choose to do next. Yep, this can be done without freaking yourself out too much. Houston, we have a problem. Nope not anymore.
So how did you get in this mental headspace about your job in the first place? It’s important to know.
Our mind is trained to look for the negative. It’s trying to keep us safe. But the negative ways you’ve been thinking about your job are likely hurting you rather than helping you stay safe.
Confirmation bias is the psychological phenomenon of collecting evidence for what you’re thinking.
If you’ve rinsed and repeated a thought like,“ I can’t stand my job,” or asked yourself any of the questions mentioned earlier then you’re probably stuck in confirmation biases about your job.
When you have dissatisfaction in any area of your life your mind will automatically and without your conscious consent start to look for all the evidence to confirm your dissatisfaction. The cool thing is our mind does this when you love something too. We’ll circle back to this in a second. But notice this…
In the short term it's easier to love the devil you know, right?
All this mind chatter results in mental and emotional exhaustion. It’s usually answered with something along the lines of:
"Ok, forget it. That’s all too stressful, I’ll just stick with what I have for now. I don’t know what to do anyway.” Have you been in this loop?
"Love and work, work and love. That’s all there is."
You're not alone my friend, this existential crisis hits us all at differing points of life and it’s an opportunity to flourish and grow into the best version of yourself. If you know how to let it. Which most of us don’t. By no fault of your own, I might add. Just because no one ever tells you how to USE your mind productively and to your benefit.
Stay in the Cocoon or risk becoming the Butterfly?
Most of the time when we are stuck in a massive river of confusion like this we try so hard to “figure it out” and swim upstream against the rapid current. We falsely think if we can just change the CIRCUMSTANCES--the job, or the ACTIONS WE’RE TAKING--what we will do about it... then we can figure it out. But it never works well this way.
Your real power lies in your ability to choose what you think about your current circumstances to find the clarity you're searching for.
One of my clients, let’s call her Lisa has worked really hard to climb the cooperate ladder and get to a secure place in management at her job. It’s not that her job's so bad, or hard, but she finds herself constantly questioning her decision to stay and she gets stuck in indulgent confusion and this has ended up coloring the rest of her life.
What I noticed with Lisa, and what you may notice in your own life is that this dissatisfaction at work starts to leak into other areas of life too.
In efforts to avoid this pain, you start to busy your mind and your life in other ways to avoid or buffer these feelings away. You might think, “well my needs are not being met at work so I’ll just try something new.” You pile more things on. You may sign up for another training, a class, take a trip, spend a lot of time with friends, or find yourself buying a new car. You might find yourself eating or drinking more because you need a little reprieve, "after all you are working so hard.”
The other tricky way your mind attempts to solve this problem, is that other stuff starts to bug you too because your dissatisfaction cannot be solved at work (or so you think), so you start to see dissatisfaction in in other places too.
Maybe your relationship isn’t looking so hot anymore, you hate all the traffic in your city and dream about moving somewhere new, maybe you’ll take that transfer your company's offered you even though you know that'll just prolong your stuckness.
Maybe you’ll even make random decisions and cause yourself more confusion… because you are trying to escape all the negative emotion you’re pushing against.
I’ve seen this over and over again, and you don’t have to fall into this trap. You might notice that you get busier and busier because if you sit still for too long the frustration from the mounting thought chatter is unbearable. You could even start thinking, maybe I’ll just get married and have a family, do the responsible thing and settle down. Totally cool if that’s what you want and who you want to do it with. Totally uncool if you are doing it to avoid so that you don’t have to make a decision. You already feel trapped in your job, why trap yourself more by making half-hearted decisions that could lead to you feeling more and more like you have no choice but to keep your current job? Or if your married you start to question if the grass is greener and long for your single days. Midlife crisis anyone?
If you have had moments of this don’t fret, you don’t need to act on any of this. It’s just your mind’s natural response to want to escape negative emotions but there’s a waaaaay better way, than blowing up your life. In the moment you think at least it's something new and it'll help me feel better, but no…
Wherever you go, whatever you do, there you are. YOU’RE ALWAYS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF YOUR EXPERIENCES.
If you are addicted to constantly changing your circumstances so that you can feel better there’s a better way. Your circumstances-- what’s going on outside of you will NOT change what’s going on inside of you. Yes, at first you might notice you feel some relief, or at least be distracted buy the newness of something, but soon the dissatisfaction starts creeping in again, and you feel deflated and powerless once the newness wears off and right back in the loop you felt stuck in before.
This is because when we change our outside circumstances, we quit the job, or move, or date the new person, or take the latest training, we don’t change how we think for long. All feelings are caused by what you’re thinking.
So it’s not actually the job that’s making you feel bad but what you’re thinking about the job that’s making you feel bad.
This is the best news that I can share with you. Because you may not have a lot of control over your outside circumstances, your boss, the hours you work, etc., etc., but you do have control over the way you choose to think and feel and that's the most powerful place to be standing in with any job.
When you don’t know this you chase your tail looking for the next best thing, and the satisfaction never comes.
Do you believe you can HAVE, DO, & BE anyone or anything that you dream up? Well, you can! But you have to believe it.
This doesn't have to be pie in the sky, although who am I to say. It’s up to you. But this can absolutely be you being happy in your life. And how that starts is by you being happy in your current job.
You can empower yourself to feel however you want to no matter what the circumstance. This will allow your mind to open to the answers because you're not scrambling to change things up outside of you, which never works.
You'll realize one of the most powerful things in the world, how you feel is up to you. Then you're set free from the confusion.
When you know nothing outside of you can cause you to feel any way unless you allow it, then what you “want to do, & what you truly desire to do" will become more clear.
Your assignment: Noticing your confirmation bias.
Everyday this week, think about something that you love. Notice how easy it is to think thoughts that make you feel good about this. For example, I love yoga. It’s easy for me to find all sorts of ways that I’m thinking thoughts that cause positive emotions when I think about yoga. What is your thing?
Compare this with your observations of all of the things you are dissatisfied with in your job. Just notice without judgement any thoughts and feelings that come up around your job.
Remind yourself that circumstances do not cause your feelings.
Remind yourself that thoughts cause your feelings. Be curious about this and compassionate.
Remind yourself that this is not an insurmountable issue in your life, that because you can think and have the ability to choose your thoughts you can affect great change in your life whether you stay or leave your job.
Jump on a free mini session call with me if you feel like your brain is going to explode after reading this. Get some clarity right now and stop this cycle. If your committed to showing up for the call and being open you’ll find relief in just our short time together and some practical steps you can implement specifically for your job. I promise I will not pressure you. But I will tell you about my program if we’re the right fit and I can help you out of this conundrum. The rest is up to you. Choose you, lovely.
I want you to take this in manageable steps. So next week stay tuned because after you start to become the observer of your confirmation biases you’ll be ready to dig into the the meat of how to love your job before you leave it.
If you feel some resistance to this concept, know that it’s completely normal, your mind’s been thinking like this for so long, but it’s just a pattern. Patterns of thought that aren’t serving you can be changed. And trust me you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. Loving your job isn’t going to make you stay in something you don’t like forever, it’s actually the opposite. Deciding to leave something you love, because you have clarity is easier than leaving because of fear and desperation. It’s true. :)
If this resonated with you shoot me an email and let me know how. Good luck!