When we think about how unhappy we are in our current job, we often go through all of the ways our life would be amazing if only we weren’t chained down. We picture non-stop smiles and good times, with people in awe of how happy you became without a leash.
Back in reality, we build a list of reasons that justify the status quo. Financial uncertainty, fear of getting in over your head, and the amount of work that will be involved in getting another job which, in all likelihood, you will grow to hate even more.
These debates are based purely on emotion, not reason. Since emotion feeds our overall state, it’s great when we feel great.
But these defensive debates are based on fear, and we will never gain anything if we focus on what we might lose.
Fortunately, I have some reasons why you need to quit your job, so I’m happy to join the “angel vs. devil” debate and jump on one of your shoulders. (You can decide which side I’m on. ☺ )
1. It can’t be worse
Yes, I know what’s coming: “Of course it could be worse! I’m unhappy now, but I could be miserable and in tears every day!”
But every day that you put up with unhappiness is a day you lower your standards. What you call “content” could be someone else’s misery.
2. The regret just might kill you
In retirement, we have more than enough time to think. Unfortunately, some of us think about what we could have been. We relive our lives in “course correction” mode, thinking of all the different choices we would have made if only we’d had more time, if only someone had shown us how, if only money hadn’t been so tight, if only… if only…
Research has shown how sick we can become in retirement, because when we retire we often give up our sense of identity.
Why is that? Because if we do not own our careers, we are given our identities by our employers.
Don’t live a career that you didn’t want.
3. You would never tell someone else to keep their job
We all want the best for our children, and their unhappiness would make us feel awful. That’s a general rule, right?
Here’s a specific scenario: if your child asked what it’s like to have a job, what would you say? Would you tell him or her that having a job is something miserable, that unhappiness should just be accepted as a fact of life?
Or would you sternly tell your child to work toward fulfillment, and never settle?
Do what you say and follow your own advice.
4. You’re running out of time
The end of the Big Clock is pretty far away for most of us – far enough away that it gets put in the “important, but not urgent” file.
But every action or decision we make has an impact on the overall game plan. And the more time we take to reach those decisions could mean that options begin to evaporate. (Good luck qualifying for the 2012 Olympics!)
We always say, “eventually” I’m going to get things in order, or I’ll set real priorities “when the time is right.”
If we run our careers (and our lives!) like a project, it becomes much easier to see progress – and waste. If we set clear targets and deadlines, we won’t see so many years just slip away.
Days can turn into weeks and months and years so easily that it can leave us begging for a replay.
Use the time.
Don’t waste the time.
5. There’s way, way more out there than you think
Growing up, I sincerely believed there were two classes of life: mega-millionaires, and everyone else. Yes, there were some people who made up to a hundred grand, but that was pretty much the limit – after that, there was a huge gap until you became a Hollywood sensation.
In my late twenties, I got into financial services and started meeting all of these “normal” people making $200,000, $400,000 – one guy was making close to a million.
It was as big an eye-opener as I’d ever had.
No, it didn’t make sense to always think that everyone was carved into two groups, and that there was no gradual increase of salary.
But it doesn’t matter that it didn’t “make sense.” It’s what I believed, and beliefs can sometimes lock us into closed perspectives.
Open your eyes and shift your perspective toward a prosperous future.
Quit your job – and embrace a new kind of happiness.
Have you ever tried to convince yourself to stay in a job you hated? How did you break the cycle? Tell us in the comments!