As very few people anymore retire from jobs in their mid-sixties that they started in their early twenties, it’s a pretty safe statement to say that all of us at some point are going to move from one job to another. As it would be peculiarly odd to suddenly wake up one morning and decide to quit one job and look for another with no prior thoughts of doing so, it’s equally safe to say then that we evaluate where we are and our happiness in a job on a regular basis.
Now don’t misconstrue my meaning; I’m sure you don’t sit down with an evaluation sheet and check off how you’re feeling and how you’re being challenged or not in your present job. However, I do believe that like me, you recognize in yourself positive or negative moods and feelings as you prepare to leave home for work. As you go about your day, you’re probably pretty in tune with your emotions; whether you feel stressed, overwhelmed, happy, valued and in the end content with how things are.
If you are happy in your job, you decide to keep doing what you’re currently doing and you stay. If however you find you’re not as happy and content as you’d like to be, you have two choices; continue with the job as it is and be unhappy or change something up and then evaluate your happiness once the change has occurred. This process is true not just of your work happiness and career choice but of many things in life.
As much as we all want a measure of happiness with the work we do, the employer we work for and the products or services we produce, there does come a time when upon reflection, we opt for change. If the urge for change is dramatic – such as loathing the work we do or having an ethical or moral conflict with the products we contribute to make and distribute, we have a much easier time rationalizing and justifying to ourselves giving up that job or career to look for another which is a better fit. If on the other hand our motivation for looking for another job is only slight; the money is good, the benefits are good, the people around us are good – we’re just not being mentally challenged – we might stick it out longer than we should and look for another job with less urgency.
Remember that looking for another job is a natural activity; looking for a career in another field altogether is also something that many people encounter at least once in their lifetime and sometimes two or three times.
Your interests and needs change as you evolve and age. What you may have found uninteresting and boring in your early years you may come to appreciate and seek out later in life. As an older adult, your skills will have increased with experience and where you may find your quicker to grasp the bigger picture of things in the workplace, you may also find as you age that your body reacts differently to the demands of the job you once performed with ease.
Let me ask you a question. If you could change jobs right now and you’d maintain the same wages as the job you currently hold or receive an increase in wages, would you stay where you are or would you move on? If the answer comes quickly with a resounding yes, then it may be that financial security is a key barrier to finding your true happiness when it comes to the work you do. Unfortunately, there are many people who, fearful of the transition period from one job to another and the lack of income that they envision if things take longer than expected, stay in jobs they’ve long since if ever felt any real passion for.
For this reason, it’s a cracker of an idea to set aside each pay period a small percentage of your income as a contingency fund for just such a time when you move from one job to another. Suppose you had enough to live on comfortably for 6 months say. If you grew increasingly disinterested in your job, you’d be less stressed quitting the one to search full-time for another with funds to cushion the transition period, and you’d be motivated to find work before the funds run out.
Of course you don’t always need to quit one job before finding another. Many folks are well equipped to do their full-time job while they actively look for another to replace it. If you can handle this addition and not have your current work suffer in any way then it may be wise to do so. On the other hand, if you find you’re exhausted and have no energy to look for meaningful work after your existing job concludes for the day, you might be better suited to quit the one, then after a week to clear your head, move at full speed and look for another.
Possibly the worse thing you can do for the company who now employs you, your own mental health and those who surround you in your personal life is in fact what so many people end up doing; staying in a job where you’re losing your enthusiasm. Holding on for the income while losing your happiness is a bad trade-off.