Source | LinkedIn : By Russ Finkelstein
When people talk about their work they most often say that they fell into what they are doing now. If their working life were a car, they hopped in, started driving and made decisions about where to go with limited information, just ending up somewhere.
Now they’re low on gas, and aren’t sure about which way to turn next.
I’ve been there in my career too. Eventually, I realized where I wanted to go, but it was as much by luck as judgment.
My time is now consumed by talking to people about their work. It isn’t just assisting in the founding of new entities like Idealist or Talent Philanthropy; or career coaching for companies, fellowship programs or conferences.
I’m the guy on cross-country flights and at parties talking to people about what they do, and I am also the guy who says, often: “It sounds like you don’t know what you want.”
It isn’t hard to find conversation partners, because 75% of Americans feel stuck in their jobs and deeply uncertain about how to move on. There is a voice that tells you you’re the only person struggling with feelings of being stuck, and that it’s your fault, because you suck, and that life is hopeless, and you’re really all alone. I know that voice all too well.
First, know that it’s not all your fault.
We live in a culture where work is supposed to be awful.
The dominant voice in American culture says, essentially, that work is supposed to suck, and you need to suck it up.
I met my partner in his ninth year at an awful job. He would come home from work raging about awful management, and how he had to get out of there. He was told: “you can leave, but everyone who leaves ends up coming back and gets paid less, because they no longer have seniority.” His parents would say: “If you’re getting a salary and insurance, you should stay there.”
The message is often clear: “You are miserable, but lucky to have this job.”
Let’s revisit this “car is stuck” idea. You are in a lousy location, but you do have the ability to move again.
I am talking with you from the passenger seat:
You need to take a break and decide on a destination.
Nobody else can take the wheel and drive for you. Many opt for cruise control, but detachment isn’t a long-term solution.
We live in a culture where we don’t discuss most things and have a pervasive pressure to appear successful and not discuss workplace dissatisfaction.
In fact, most people haven’t even spent the time to consider and capture why they’re lost, or what’s making them unhappy. They tweak their resume, put on a blindfold, and play job roulette, hoping that the next destination will be better.