Has your job or career stopped progressing?
Whatever the reason may be, if it’s been a few years since you’ve progressed in your position, perhaps it’s time to reassess the situation.
About 75% of the women I talked to recently told me that although they wish they had more fulfilling challenges and growth at work, not to mention more pay, they’re hesitant to seek a promotion.
This made me want to dig deeper to understand why.
Lunch with a friend
I was at lunch a few months ago with a friend, a mother of two young kids who has been in the same position for 10 years. She knows her salary is much lower than her peers in the industry, but has a fairly easy and stress-free job, and is able to telecommute several times a week.
A few weeks earlier she mentioned in passing that she didn’t feel challenged at work anymore and that she admired people who were passionate about their careers. She was almost 40 and still wondering what she wanted to be when she grew up. I totally knew how she felt! Been there, done that.
So, when we met up for lunch I was super excited to hear about her dreams, fears, and plans. I wanted to help her define her goals and coach her on getting there.
Eh…not having it
To my surprise, she was not interested in talking about any of that. Instead, she just wanted to eat her salad and talk about our families and life in general.
I kept wondering why she wasn’t more driven. Why was she okay with the status quo if she’s not happy with her job? What was holding her back?
I wanted to understand what really motivates a person to seek career advancement; especially moms of young kids that have a ton of responsibilities on their plates.
The reason? She, like many others out there, are hesitant to make any changes because they’re comfortable.
Her stress is minimal because she can do her job with her eyes closed; and because her job is flexible, she can spend as much time as she wants with her kids.
Her fear is that if she takes a more challenging job, she’ll lose some of her freedom – to control her own schedule, have time with her family, etc. And frankly, “new” and “unknowns” can be scary.
To take action or not to take action…that is the question
Now, there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing your family time above money or your career. In fact, I think it’s commendable.
The problem is when you’re unhappy with your situation and you choose not to take any action, physical or mental.
Complaining or sulking constantly is a total waste of time. It does nothing but stress you out and others around you.
Instead, when you’re feeling uninspired or dissatisfied with your situation, think of all your options and the worst that could happen in each.
If I take a new job in a new company, I’ll have to wake up earlier, commute longer, and have to drop off and pick up my kids from daycare. I’ll have to work harder initially to re-establish my credibility and learn new skills. I won’t be able to take a shower in the middle of the day when I telecommute. I can’t sleep in. My expenses will go up – gas, lunches, daycare.
If I stay in this same job, I won’t have extra money to go on that amazing European vacation with my family, I can’t hire help around the house, I can’t buy my dream house, or go on regular dinner dates with my husband. I’ll be bored, I won’t get to meet new and interesting people, I’ll continue losing my professional skills and knowledge, and I won’t be contributing as much as I know I could, to the world.
Which scenario felt more painful?
And which “pain” are you more willing to live with? If the first one felt more painful, then you’d probably be happier staying where you are. But you have to accept that it is the best decision for you right now. You don’t need to feel guilty about it. Be grateful for what comes with your decision; maybe it’s sleeping in, wearing your pj’s all day, not being stuck in traffic, saving on daycare costs, and giving you more time with your family. Know that you can always change your mind later.
If the second scenario felt more painful, then perhaps it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone and take that next step. Accept that there will be challenges with getting interviews, learning new job skills, getting familiar with a new work environment. Know that you can handle it.
Nothing great ever comes easy. Every decision has its pros and cons, ups and downs, and no one decision is right for everyone. But trust that you can indeed do hard things.
The bottom line is, life is too short to stay unhappy doing things that no longer serve you. What fulfilled you two years ago may not today. What you need today may and probably will change two years from now. Priorities change as you evolve.
I know I know, some of you are thinking…but it’s not that easy to decide! It sure isn’t. But first be honest with yourself on what you are feeling, what your dreams are, and who you want to be. The key is to find joy in whatever it is that you choose to do. YOU have the power to either change your situation, or change your mindset.
Your Call to Action: Which action, mental or physical, will you commit to taking today? Then, share your results with us!
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All the best,