“This decision is really, really hard,” Tom wrote. “Can’t you just tell me which is best now?” And my answer is no . . . not gonna do it. But it’s not because I’m a waffler—it’s because the only person who can make that decision for you is you.
I’m saddened by how many of you amazingly talented professionals are wondering, worrying, stressing about whether you should stay or move on–and then you keep wondering, worrying, stressing–and never make a decision. You need some honest advice, fresh thinking, and perhaps a little kick in the patootie to get into action. So if you are one of the many today agonizing over this decision, here are four secrets you should know to make the right decision for you.
You don’t have to leave your job to change your life at work.
We’re living in a myth-driven era where the loudest voices are talking about the extremes. This is as true in career change as it is in Washington. I shudder at the extreme stories in women’s magazines (O, I’m talking to you) that introduce you to people like Anna, the banker who is now a goat farmer. In their 500 well-intended words, they make it sound like extreme change is the only way to change.
You read that, and you think, “Well, good for Anna, but I’m not her. I don’t have her money/time/lactose intolerance/patience/family situation. . . .” And then you do nothing to change.
But real change happens closer to the middle. It’s not an all-or-nothing choice. You actually have options, right where you are. (Yes, even you, in your profession, with your experience, in your town, in your company, in this economy.) And these aren’t pie-in-the-sky, fantasy options; they’re the real deal for the real you. Once you understand the secret that you don’t have to change your job to change your life at work, you’re ready for real change that can make all the difference.
There are only three things you need in order to start looking for your next opportunity or improving the one you’ve already got.
Just three. Sounds a lot simpler than the thousands of things other people are telling you that you need, right? Regular readers have heard these before, but time after time, these magic three things continue to be:
- Clarity: You may know what you don’t want (your current boss/commute/schedule/paycheck, etc.), but what the heck do you want? You’ve got to get brave and get clarity about not only what you want, but who you are and what’s important to you right now.
- Confidence: What do you believe about yourself? Or what stories are you telling yourself? Building your confidence and winning the battle of the brain can create change in an instant.
- Control: Yes, you can control your experience at work, whether you stay right where you are and initiate changes or whether you start an external search. If you’re feeling you’ve lost control, it’s time to use proven tools to get it back.
Your next step doesn’t have to be your last—no matter how old you are.
Are you too old for some things? Well, if it’s hot pants and extreme sports, probably. (Except for you, Bob—but not both at once, please.) But taking a new step in your working life? Today, the reality is it’s never too late.
Let’s look at the facts. For those of you in the US, if you were born in 1960 or later, your “official” Social Security retirement age is now 67, not the assumed 65. (Go check your own year here.) So that’s two more years than you may already be thinking.
Plus, why would you let Social Security decide how long you work? Have you noticed how may energetic, vibrant 70+ old folks are out there (hello, Mom and Dad!). People are working longer–not just because they have to, but in many cases today, because they want to make a contribution and feel of use.
Increasingly, doing great work that works for you is not about your age–it’s about your energy. If you’ve been feeling zapped of any spark in your current gig, isn’t it time to get that back before you feel as old as you are?
And remember this—no matter how old you are today, you’re going to be older tomorrow. So why are you waiting?
You’re not alone. There’s help.
That’s why we’re here. We know from working with people just like you that you can change your life at work without changing everything in your life. But it’s not always practical for you to invest in your own private coaching, and that’s why we teach a class from time-to-time called “Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Guide to Making the Big (And Best) Decisions of Your Career.”
Some of the topics we cover include:
- Five Strategies to Stay Where You Are (Without Martyrdom, Suffering, or Sacrifice)
- When It’s the Money, Honey: Ways to Examine the Numbers of Change
- What to Say When You’re Not Sure What’s Next
- How to Network While You Work
- If You’re Going, Then Where To? Creating a Smarter Career Search Plan
If you want to be on the list for the next time we open up the class, email us. Be sure to invite your family member, friend or colleague who’s always agonizing over their next career step, too, because staying stuck is just a waste.
YOUR TURN: If you need to decide whether to stay or leave your job, what answers do you need? Tell us below or on Facebook.
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