You can always find a reason to leave your current job, right? However, you consistently agonize over career indecision because, there exists an odd comfort about staying right where you are.
To leave or not? If so, is it worth the jump – and how will you know?
These stifling questions are all too common for the professional who longs for something greater (See Post #10). If you’re not careful, you can agonize over career indecision indefinitely. And the agony can consume you. I’d like to offer the possibility that you don’t have to agonize and live in fear of making the wrong decision.
In general, there seem to be two reasons why people agonize over career indecision:
Situation 1: Too many options. Your career choices are numerous, attractive and you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). Each decision could be right and each could be wrong. It pains you to think about choosing only one, because you want to do them all!
The sky is your limit, and you feel suppressed by having to make one lonely choice of many desirable options. While people may tell you it’s a good problem to have, you still agonize over career indecision.
Situation 2: Too much risk. You cannot decide if the potential rewards of leaving will outweigh the risks. You have gained enough professional experience to know that the risks could be high. You may have to ‘prove yourself’ all over again, or ‘start over’ from the very bottom of the ladder.
On the other hand, it seems easier and convenient to stay right where you are. Why pack up and move to another location if the job isn’t worth it? But, you’re not happy where you are. You agonize over career indecision because you might make the wrong choice.
Right vs Wrong
Despite your reasons for career indecision, the good news is that the path towards a solution looks the same. Here are three critical points to keep in mind as you contemplate your future:
Point 1) Assess your reasons for working in the first place. If you are heavily focused on the benefits (salary, retirement, perks, etc.) then you will forever be chasing that wild goose. Rather, the purpose of work is threefold:
- Service: Contribution toward something greater than you as an individual. Because as a collective, people make profound impacts as opposed to working solo. The next time you’re frustrated or wishing for more, think in terms of service: ask yourself how you can help others, how you can contribute, and how you can make those around you better.
- Development: Evolve your skills, enhance your character, and progress your brain. The way to do this is by defeating obstacles, challenges, and road bumps. One way to defeat obstacles, challenges and road bumps is to go to work. How can you rise above the difficult coworkers or incompetent management and perform your best despite their intentions? And this, my friends, requires a lot. It requires you to be a mature emotional adult.
- Legacy: Manipulate your authenticity, maximize your output, and make an impact. Another purpose of going to work is for you to apologetically discover your authenticity and apply your strengths. Always leave a position and leave a company in better shape than you found it.
The great news about Point 1 is that you don’t have to rely on an employer to fulfill the purposes above. In fact, I recommend you pursue creative projects that will enable your brain activity to flourish, both in and outside of the workplace.
Point 2) What if your decisions are neither right nor wrong? Given point 1, you can make the ‘worst’ decision and still have much to gain. No matter the decision and the outcomes, you are still in a position of learning. And that’s what life is about. You may not know what it is you want until you actually commit to a decision. So, stop lollygagging, commit to a decision, and remember it is all about the learning process.
Which leads us to Point 3…
Point 3) The decision itself is much less important than who you become while executing! Hey, as long as you are learning, growing and challenging yourself in new ways, then you are doing the right things (whether employed or not). Comfort equals stagnation.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes I heard by a dear friend and fellow life coach Bridget Sampson: “Always be new at something.”