That's Why It's Called Work and Not Vacation...
Do you think it is impossible, given your current circumstances, to get a sense of fulfillment and happiness in your career?
When I speak with people about what I do, and the impact I have on the lives of others, I frequently get comments along these lines:
- “Oh, you do career coaching? I wish that I could make a change. But I just can’t – I have kids at home, we have college looming on the horizon, and I just can’t sacrifice the stability right now.”
- “I am so jealous that you love what you do. I am so unhappy at work, but I just couldn’t make a change like that – I don’t do well with big changes.”
- “I am not supposed to like my job – that’s why it’s called work and not vacation.”
- “I just don’t think I could ever find a type of work that I truly LOVE doing.”
- “It’s work. What do you expect? I don’t know anyone who likes going to work.”
Have you ever said any of the comments above?
I completely understand each and every one of these comments. In fact, I am quite certain that I have said them all at least once in some form, and some of them many, many times (“That’s why it’s called work and not vacation” was my personal favorite for years.) The first comment is the one I hear from others most often. Wanting to be happy at work takes on a whole new meaning when your decisions will have a major impact on others.
It is so challenging when you’re in the middle of your career, raising kids, going to school, volunteering, keeping a social calendar and the million other things that gobble up our time, to stop and take a hard look at where you are in your career, and why you are unhappy. For those of you who have found the time to take a hard look, were you able to see why you are unhappy at work? Personally, I couldn’t. In the time it took for me to walk to the restroom and back to my desk, I would devote every single one of those precious, peaceful moments to thinking about why I was unhappy….and then it was back to work. Not surprisingly – I never figured it out! All I knew was that I was unhappy, and something had to change. It wasn’t until I consciously made the decision to do something about it – to devote time and effort to solving the problem – that I finally made progress.
I want to be very clear about something here. When we talk about career coaching, that does not mean I am suggesting you quit your job, make a 180-degree turn, and reinvent yourself completely. For some, that may be the right path, but for many others out there, it isn’t necessary to do something so extreme. For many of us, we can work towards happiness by working through every day issues we are experiencing in the workplace – feeling stuck in your role, feeling unsupported, doubting your own skills and abilities, inability to speak up and ask for what we want, confusion and fear in planning our next steps, anxiety over making it known what you truly want to do, inability to acknowledge what is truly important to us, feeling like you’re “faking it until you make it”….except that you’ve never reached the point where you “make it” – the list goes on and on.
Here’s the thing about happiness – happiness is not something that is going to fall into your lap. It isn’t a gift someone else can give you (wouldn’t that be awesome?? “Dear Santa, For Christmas this year, I would like happiness!” Done!). Nothing will change until you take steps to drive that change. If all of this talk is making you anxious or seems overwhelming, think about it in steps, and focus on your first step. The first step is to reach out and set up a sample session with me, or another coaching professional. There is no commitment associated with the call, and if the coach is the coach for you, it should feel a little different, but very comfortable. So quit waiting for happiness to fall into your lap, and take your first step!