Adulting (the act of becoming an adult) is hard. There’s lots of advice out there from friends, family members, the Internet, even perfect strangers, on what responsible adults do. Responsible adults should floss every day. Responsible adults should eat their vegetables. Responsible adults should find a stable job with decent pay, benefits, and a retirement plan. Responsible adults don’t get to have fun because they’re too busy being responsible.
In the words of punk rock poet, Frank Turner:
“Oh maturity’s a wrapped up package deal so it seems / And ditching teenage fantasy means ditching all your dreams / All your friends and peers and family solemnly tell you you will / Have to grow up be an adult yeah be bored and unfulfilled / Oh when no ones yet explained to me exactly what’s so great / About slaving 50 years away on something that you hate…”
Bored and unfulfilled definitely describes the majority of American workers, but it doesn’t have to define you. The first thing you need to do is recognize that this is how you’ve been feeling. Note – if you’re reading this blog, you may have had the realization already! Check one off the list!
The second thing you have to acknowledge is that just because a job sounds good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good match for your talents, skills, interests, beliefs, and values. Trust me, I’ve been there. I once spent more than a year trying to convince myself to stay in a job, because on paper, it checked all the metaphorical boxes. Great pay. Decent benefits. Reasonable hours. Retirement plan. Matched my skill set.
It should have been awesome… but I was miserable and to top it off, I felt guilty for feeling that way. Lots of other people wanted that job and would have enjoyed doing it. But I didn’t. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. I would love to go back in time to encourage my past self to leave that job sooner. My misery was making everyone around me miserable too and that’s no way to live. The rear view mirror eventually allowed me to reflect and see what was happening in that scenario. Spoiler alert: it was the fact that I wasn’t working authentically and it’s helped me make better career choices moving forward.
The final piece you should remember as you are on your career journey is that everyone makes mistakes (chooses the wrong role, stays too long, etc.). Don’t beat yourself up over it – you’re already feeling bad enough if you’re in that position right now! Instead, make up your mind to get clarity on what exactly you like and don’t like about your job so you can make an informed decision moving forward. I am always here to help you on your unique career journey.