For some people, the word, “Change” stirs up thoughts like uncertainty, flux, chaos, and those words bring about feelings of anxiety and negative stress. At the other end of the spectrum, change can mean a fresh start, new challenges, stimulation and unknown possibilities. How do you view change?
Now if you are observant and self-aware, you’ll tune in to the cues all around you that might suggest you are due for a change when it comes to your job or career. Some folks are very sensitive to these signs, recognize them for what they are and take the necessary steps to bring about the change for themselves. However, there are some people who are so resistant to change, that they choose rather to ignore those cues and forge on, and rather unhappily, rather than embrace change.
Today’s blog however, is really intended for another whole group of people who fail to see and interpret the signs and cues around them that are screaming for change. Without an awareness of these signs, it can lead to a lack of fulfillment, happiness, and create a dark place for future sadness and malaise to creep in.
To start with, check your physical health. If you’ve noticed an increase in the number of days you experience headaches, you ache but nowhere in particular, and your absences are increasing, it could be that you’re having a physical aversion to going to, or being at your workplace. While it may be normal to want to stay home every now and then when you look out and it’s cold or rainy, if you find you’re not wanting to go to work more and more, maybe you should pay attention to why you feel this way.
Call it passion, call it joy, call it job satisfaction; do you continue to feel enthusiastic about the work you do and the rewards it offers? I’m not suggesting everyone should be doing cartwheels around the office or factory floor, but because you’ll spend 7 or 8 hours or more at a job every day, shouldn’t it bring you happiness and don’t you have a right to feel good about whatever it is you do all that time. If your work is, well, just work, think about that.
Have you become stagnant? While some jobs are much more repetitive than others, if you have a job that allows you to be creative, propose new ways of doing things or work with a variety of people, and at the same time you are resisting this creativity and doing things the way they’ve always been done more and more, that’s a definite sign you need to shake things up. While you might not need a career change, maybe you do need some stimulation by embracing a new project, mentoring a new employee if you’ve never done that before, or making a lateral move to a new department.
Growing irritability with others, and displeasure in the apparent happiness and social behaviour of your co-workers is a sign you may actually be envious of those connections and relationships, especially if others see you as retreating more and more away from workplace social activities.
Think now about your commute and how you get to work. Whether you drive, carpool, rely on transit or walk, you might be finding that you just don’t enjoy that time as much as you once did. If road rage is becoming frequent for you, if you are repelled more and more by the conversations you overhear on a bus, or you just don’t like the constant chatter in your carpool any more, it could be that this is all tied in with where you are going; namely your workplace.
Maybe you’re starting to do the BIG THINK. You know, the “Is this all there is?” stuff. “What’s my purpose?” or “I’ve gotta do something on this Earth before I leave!” Well these kind of thoughts really translate into feelings of current inadequacy. You just aren’t getting anything out of your work beyond money, and that’s losing it’s lustre too. In other words, the meaning of what you do is becoming more important than the actual compensation for doing it.
IF you feel the need for change is coming, or indeed is upon you, you do have some choices to make. Try and look at change as a positive. You and you alone have the capacity to change your job, career, maybe propose revisions to your current job description that Management would embrace. You also have the choice perhaps to walk away from your current job and explore a hobby, travel, spend time with family, restore your health, take on some additional training and education etc.
There are many young people who take a year off in their mid-twenties and travel to other countries and do a variety of jobs in those countries to pay their way, living modestly while they experience new cultures and new possibilities. Why can’t you do that in your 40’s or 50’s? Sure you might have mortgages, responsibilities, car loans etc. It’s not possible for everyone; or rather it is possible for everyone, but most will use words like, “can’t, impossible” and “unable” when convincing themselves that they have to stay and take home the money to pay the bills.
There are some people out there however who DO make these life changes – they feel their health and happiness is paramount and over rules shuffling papers all day long, and meeting their quota of assembling parts etc. The choice they make may not be yours, but people do make those choices. When they return, some go back to their jobs they’ve taken a year’s leave from. Others look for new work and maybe took a buyout package or early retirement funds.
Change can be embraced rather than feared.