When you feel dissatisfied and unhappy at work, it can be tempting to start looking for a new job, send in your resignation and dash for the exit as rapidly as possible. After all, slaving away at a job you detest can be pure torture.
Before you say goodbye, I need you to think: is it possible that you don’t need a new job, but instead a new perspective?
I know, I know. This does not sound like the advice you’re hoping to hear. And yes, you might still need to quit and get a new job. But here are two important factors you should consider before you make that call, especially if you don’t have another offer already lined up.
You had an unrealistic expectation of what your job should be
Picture this; when you fall in love with someone, there is a natural tendency to idealize or even idolize that person (“He’s my world, my home, my life, my light, my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my everything!”) and then in turn expect that person to fulfill all of your needs and desires, unendingly.
*Sighs* problem is, that is too much pressure and expectation on just one person—nobody can possibly cater for all your needs, every single day, no matter how awesome they are!
The truth is, many of us fall into this same pattern with our jobs. We search and find that supposed “dreamiest dream job” and then get heartbroken when it doesn’t live up to all of our sky-high (read: unreasonable) expectations.
From experience, I know this is a bitter pill to swallow, but ask yourself, honestly, “Do I expect my job to meet all of my professional/creative/social/personal desires and satisfy me in every possible way? Is that fair? Is that reasonable? Is that even possible?”
Stop expecting your job to be “your one and only, your everything” and try thinking more broadly. This is so important, because if you continue to job-hunt while maintaining unrealistic expectations, you’ll never feel satisfied no matter how amazing your next job may be.
Perpetually looking for something “Better”
Quick question: Have you ever observed how certain people always seem dissatisfied with their life no matter how cool you think their life is and how great everything is going for them? While other people with arguably “mediocre” jobs (or homes or income levels) seem perfectly content?
Turn outs, there’s a scientific reason for that.
Barry Schwartz, a researcher who studies human behavior and topics like “decision making” and “choice,” has found that most people fall into one of two categories: You’re a maximizer or you’re a satisficer.
If you’re a maximizer, you won’t be satisfied unless you know that you are getting the absolute best option (“I need to find the best croissant in Paris and I won’t stop searching until I do!”).
If you’re a satisficer, you have a baseline of criteria that needs to be met (“Flaky, buttery, warm, that’s pretty much it”) and once your criteria have been met, you stop searching. You’re satisfied. Whatever you have discovered is sufficient.
Guess what Barry found? Generally speaking, people with maximizer personalities tend to be more “successful”—in the sense that they have “better” jobs with higher salaries, “better” apartments, “better” cars, and whatnot—but they also tend to be unhappier than their easy-going satisficer peers.
The lesson? if you have maximizer tendencies when it comes to your career, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. I mean, you’re driven to seek—and deliver—excellence, and that’s a commendable trait, one that will carry you far. But sometimes, you’ll need to cool yourself down. Relentlessly scanning for a “better” job, boss, employer, or paycheck could wind up making you miserable, because the quest for the best is ultimately an impossible one.
I know you deserve a career that’s exciting, meaningful, and rewarding. But that doesn’t mean that you go around with the mentality that every single page out of every single chapter of your career is going to be a nonstop burst of fun.
Irrespective of your career choice, there are going to rough spots, tough times, days you feel lost at sea and weeks when you just have to buckle down and do some “grunt work” to get the job done. The big question you should always ask when faced with ‘not-so-easy days is not “Why isn’t this fun?” but rather, “Is this worth it?”
You don’t have to endure that ‘sucky’ job forever, and you can certainly start planning your next move, now, even while you’re still employed. But try not to be overly hasty in calling it quits. Instead, think through these two perspectives, see your current position through to the best of your abilities, and no matter what you leap into next, you’ll be more experienced, seasoned, and ready to do great work.
How did you handle a difficult or challenging boss or job? feel free to drop your questions and thoughts in the comment section.A New Perspective Or A New Job? by Stellamaris Obomanu