Dear anyone who feels stuck and miserable in their job,
I’m thinking about you today. It’s hump day and I’m having a hard time getting any work done. And although part of me is feeling blah, the other part is elated. Because this kind of blah is so, so much better than the kind I used to feel…back when being at work felt so icky, it hurt.
Luckily, I don’t feel that way anymore. But if you do, we need to talk. ‘Cus here’s the thing: you are too important to not be happier. Your life is way too valuable to just trudge through it, letting the days pass.
If your job leaves you drained, uninspired, frazzled, and fragile; I feel you. If every morning you wrack your brain trying to come up with an excuse for not going to work; I feel you. If you work for someone who questions your value, overlooks your intelligence, has you on the defensive 24/7, leaves you on the verge of tears, and causes a swell of anxiety to rise within you on a daily basis; I really feel you.
I’ve been there. In fact, I lived there, day in a day out, for four and a half years.
I dragged my ass to work and put on an Academy Award-worthy performance of grin and bear it. I worked long hours, felt unsupported, managed a numbing amount of details, and bowed down to a boss with a leadership style that I will never, ever respect. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but I was good at it. And for a while, I figured that was the best I could ask for. I figured a job “in my field”, a nice pay cheque, a health plan, and responsibility that sounded impressive meant I was pretty damn lucky.
I was grateful for all of that, definitely. But here’s the thing: being grateful and wanting more are not mutually exclusive concepts. It’s OK to be grateful that you have a job and appreciate specific things it brings you. But it’s also OK to question if it’s what you actually want.
It’s even more OK to answer that question with “No. No thank you. This is NOT what I want.”
There’s no shame in that. None. Because life’s too short to be miserable doing the one thing you do the most of: working.
I spent four and a half years in a tiring, difficult and authenticity-draining situation. Because of what I learned, the strength of character I was able to preserve, the financial compensation I received, and the accomplishments I racked up, I would never take it back. But I also would never recommend it to anybody.
If you are feeling stuck, uninspired, disrespected, and below your potential, I need you to know that it’s OK to walk away. It’s OK to dream bigger and to believe you’re capable of more. You are capable of more. You deserve to be happy at work; no matter what type of work you do.
Shhh….I know. I know the “but” you’re about to use. I know them all. For starters, change is scary. Whether you’re happy in your job or not, you’ve settled in there. It’s familiar; it’s your routine. You have friends there. And maybe a favorite coffee shop nearby, a security guard or regular customer with a warm smile, and a cheap parking spot or fast bus route; all of which you’d miss. And your boss? Even though he/she doesn’t give you the respect, opportunity and room for growth that you deserve, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. At least you know what to expect. And all bosses and managers have quirks; you probably won’t ever find someone who’s a treat to work for.
Well, as someone who’s been there and has since come out the other side? Trust me, none of that stuff is worth it. None of that stuff makes up for snuffing out your bright light and being the worker bee someone wants you to be, rather than the brilliant, jazzed up contributor you long to be.
You can find another job – or another career path altogether! You can be a star in your own right. You can find an outlet for the intelligence, ideas, creativity, and passion you’re keeping bottled up. You can work in an environment that is based on trust, respect and collaboration.
I know from experience how much your confidence and faith in yourself can be compromised by having that square-peg-in-a-round-hole feeling at work.
But I also know, now, that once you leave that environment, your confidence and faith – and so much more! – will be waiting for you. They will reclaim you.
Inspiration awaits. Go on…go get it!
Someone who’s been there