You really hate your job. We’ve all been there, and so we all understand the urge to just up and quit.
But if you really want to know how to change careers or jobs, you might be surprised to know there’s more to it than you may have expected.
It would be nice to realize you’re DONE at your job and that it’s time to move on, and just be able to quit, right?
It would be nicer still to be able to leave that terrible job and sail smoothly into the next perfect one.
Being ready to quit is not all about having your new job offer lined up or how much money you’ve saved.
Actually, quitting your job is a lot like leaving a relationship.
Once you leave, only a fraction of the work is done. Even though you might feel a huge surge of relief, the truth is in jobs, just like in relationships, you should be asking yourself what went wrong.
Because if you’re honest, only in the most extreme situations will things be completely one-sided. And if you’re not careful, you’ll end up repeating the past and find yourself back in that same godawful situation again – just like you can find yourself in the “same” relationship again and again.
I’m not telling this to blame you.
I’m not saying that your bad job, or your bully of a boss, or your insane co-workers are created or imagined or exaggerated by you. I’m not saying they’re your fault. Not at all.
What I am saying is that you – that all of us – tend to find ourselves in the same interpersonal situations again and again with different people playing the same roles – and this happens until eventually we learn the lesson that’s there to be learned.
So if what you want is a better job with people who feel functional and who don’t push your buttons, quitting your job is the wrong next move.
Just like in relationships, when you’re changing careers or jobs in search of a better one, you’ve got to do the personal development work, instead of believing that running for the hills is the solution to all of your problems.
Personal Development Work & How To Change Careers
Like I said, I’m not here to blame you.
It’s seemed right at times to point to the other guy (whether it’s the job or your partner) and think “That’s the problem.”
And here’s the real shame: When it comes to your job, no one has really ever told you otherwise.
Now, I’m ALL about finding the work that you’re uniquely suited to do. Work that you love. Work that you feel passionate about, and coming alive through it and making the world alive through it.
Your current job may never be your passion.
But I don’t think that means that when you’re in a job that feels bad it means it’s time to get out immediately without looking back. Don’t be fooled into thinking that there’s nothing to learn from the situation.
In fact, sometimes starting exactly where you are is what you need to do to find your way to your passion.
Using Your Bad Situation for Personal Growth
You don’t need to believe in the law of attraction to believe that we attract the same situations into our lives again and again.
Sometimes, things do feel too weird to have happened by chance or even by our own unconscious design. And who knows, maybe the universe is conspiring to create situations to help you learn and grow so that you become exactly the person you’re here to be.
But on a more concrete level, we all resonate unconsciously with people, roles and relationships that feel familiar to us, whether or not we “like” them.
So, if you had a domineering mother, you might have an unconscious belief that it’s really no use to form your own opinion, and that it’s better to surround yourself with very opinionated people – and then on a conscious level wonder what the hell is going on and why everyone always seems to be telling you what to do.
Even in work situations, you may find familiar people – your mother again, or your father, your siblings – anyone who has a relationship with you that still has old baggage, especially baggage from when you were young.
And until you learn to relate to that relationship dynamic differently, grow through it, and heal it – whether or not it’s with the initial person (your parent for example), it can continue to show up in your life.
What To Do if You Suspect a Recurrent Relationship Pattern
If you suspect that your dynamics at work are more than just a bad fit, here’s what you should do.
First, determine if what you’re dealing with is deeper than just a difficult work situation.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I more emotionally upset by this situation than the average person would be?
You may be able to assess this by running the situation by a friend or two and getting their read on it. See how they might react.
If they’re not equally outraged or don’t see the situation the same way you do, you might be getting triggered.
It’s helpful when you’re asking a friend for an emotional read to tell them you need their honest opinion, not an empathetic “joining” with you, where they tell you what a jerk your boss is in an effort to help you feel better.
2. Have I seen this situation or the people/roles (or something very similar) before?
Maybe you’ve already done therapy or other personal development work, and you’re already aware of your dynamics. So ask yourself, is this something I already know or have seen before? If it seems to fit your pattern, you can probably be fairly certain you’re dealing with a deeper issue.
Once you determine you’ve got a deeper dynamic on your hands, ask yourself:
What is it triggering?
Write out the dynamic in detail. Who are the “players”? What are the roles? What is the story? It might look something like: domineering mother/submissive daughter/mother is in charge, daughter is without opinion or voice.
How do I want to be able to respond?
Write a new story. If you’re the daughter in the story above, how do you want the new story to end?
What lesson is here for me to learn?
What is the lesson you’re learning overall from this? Why does life keep presenting you with this situation?
In the case of our submissive daughter, she’s learning to find her voice – even in the face of domineering people, which might even carry more strength than someone who never had to fight so hard for her voice.
So why are you learning your lesson?
Once you understand your lesson, you can begin to learn it.
It still takes time. It can be painful, and it can be tempting for many reasons to revert to old patterns. But if you understand what the lesson is and commit to learning it, you can then move on from your job (or relationship or any other situation) with assurance that you’ll encounter new and better challenges.
And if you happen to run into your old, familiar challenge again, you will recognize it and be able to handle it with skill. You will no longer need to hang on to this pattern and instead be ready for bigger and better things.