Ahhh…bad jeans. At one point you bought them, thinking yes, these’ll work. They fit, they worked for your wardrobe and the look you were going for. You looked good, stylish even. That’s why you committed to them.
But now, years later and from the outside looking in, it’s not the same image you once had. Often we need to take a step back to get an accurate reflection of what we’re working with- what’s changed and what feels right.
Your job may be the same. Stay with me here.
My client Sara eagerly took a job right out of college when so many of her friends couldn’t find work. She was starting out and knew she’d have to put in her time. And that she did, working 10-12 hours a day, every day for years.
Thing is, when Sara was 24, working like a mad woman was ok. She was living the good life- acceptably selfish, single, splitting rent with roommates, no desire to cook a meal or read a book. Her job gave her what she needed to sustain the lifestyle she was living and more.
Fast forward 10 years and she’s even more successful. But, she’s also married with a baby and a mortgage, parents she’s too busy to see and friends she’s too exhausted to get on the phone with because she’s still working 12 hour days and traveling non-stop.
Today her job is like those jeans that used to really work; it fit Sara and her lifestyle and now it just seems ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with her, it doesn’t mean she’s a quitter or is any less ambitious because she needs a change. Let’s get real: it’s hardly expected that any of us would like the same anything we did 10 years ago!
Consider if you’ve outgrown your job. Are you stuck in a traveling role, working for a tyrant boss, stuck in a job you could do with your eyes closed but that doesn’t light you up? In the case of the mom jeans, that would be the butt-region, the tapered ankle or the wash…take your pick.
Basically, your job may not “go” with the rest of your life. Maybe you’ve held on a bit too long out of comfort and stability. Maybe you’ve noticed it no longer feels right and it no longer represents you. Awesome! The first step is recognizing it.
So what can you do?
The way I see it, you have a 2 options:
1. Tailor your jeans
Parts of your job may be so very you that you don’t want to start from scratch with a new job. A job you’ll have to break in and get used to can be exhausting. Take a good look at where you want to go with your career:
Where can you step from competence into growth? (tweet this!)
Who do you want to be? What tasks, projects, responsibilities will have you working toward that?
When do you light up at work? When do you focus without trying to?
Begin collecting this info. Rather than force your mind to answer these questions, begin to journal about it.
Challenge: It does no good to recognize you need a change and to sit with that info without taking action. Set up a meeting with your boss. You in your zone will help you feel more engaged and focused and you WILL perform better. You in your zone, continuing to learn and grow, will then help the company and it’s results. Construct your conversations around that.
2. Find a new pair
Consider what else you have in your closet (your experiences, strengths, perspectives, desires) and seek out a job that’ll highlight those things.
As you look for jobs, you’ll be drawn to those where you can say “yes, I can do that” and checking off boxes but that’s like swapping one high-waisted, pleat-front jean for another. Just because you can do a job, doesn’t mean you should. This is an opportunity for real change.
Using the above questions, take stock of what you’re doing and what you want to do more of. Once you know what that is, get the word out and begin talking to people. Network in person, over email, on LinkedIn- just get talking about what you do and what you hope to do (this article shows you how).
Know this: people who know and care about you want to help you. Even connections through connections want to help you. It’s how we’re wired.
Challenge: This month reach out to 4 people- friends, family, family friends, college friends, alumnae and have a chat or grab a coffee. Plant the seed of what you’re looking to do; that commitment to the universe that you’re open to change will call it in.
Whatever your situation:
It’s time to ditch what isn’t working for you to make room for more of what is. (tweet this!)
You may have done all you can with this job and need to start fresh. Or maybe this job’s got some years left in it but it needs some altering to better fit the YOU you’ve become. Either way, don’t waste any more time NOT doing what you do best- what makes you happy, what lights you up, what makes you you.
This topic brings fire and everyone has a thought on it. I’d love to hear from you: what’s your opinion on the stay or go conversation? Let us know in the comments!