Have you ever wanted a different job? I’m not talking about finding another job doing the same kind of work that you are currently employed to provide. I’m talking about charting a new career path unlike anything you’ve ever done before. If you are like me, part of the issue is a lack imagination to see myself doing anything different than what I’ve always done. I tell people that I’m simply an old child-welfare worker than never grew out of it. It isn’t that old child welfare workers never die, it is the reality that until they die, they continue to be child welfare workers.
When someone asks about my work and wants to know what I do, I generally respond: “I do the best that I can”. I then add the caveat: “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Nine times out of ten, my light-hearted response generates laughter from whoever asked the question. Sometimes someone will respond: “I really like that answer. I’m going to start using it”. Yet, there is always the one in ten that gets their feathers ruffled from my failed attempt at humor. Those are the people that I sense by nature require extra grace.
Do you ever have the sense that people need to lighten up? Before I’m accused of throwing stones, I guess sometimes the same could be said of me. A friend recently asked: “Are you alright?” He then added: “You seem more serious than you are generally.” The observation was probably true. I’m not always a 100% when it comes to nonsense and any number of things can temporarily throw me off track.
When it comes to my everyday persona, I generally come across as though I don’t have a lick of good sense or a care in the world. I do all I can to generate laughter and keep myself and others focused on enjoying the day. I also go out of my way to avoid the folks who require extra grace and are always negative. Negative people can kill you. Avoid them at all risks. I’ll say it again, “People really need to lighten up.”
I read somewhere that the vast majority of America’s workforce is neither qualified to do their job or extremely satisfied with their work. I don’t get it. Why would someone stay with a job if they were absolutely miserable doing the work? I guess there are probably a variety of reasons. A friend recently told me that it is all he can do to get through the day at his work. He doesn’t have enough work to keep him busy and the work isn’t challenging. His boss is perfectly content with the status quo and has no complaint with the quantity or the quality of his work performance. Consequently, he feels powerless to initiate changes that would make his role more enjoyable.
Many years ago, I resigned from a job because I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I was at a state of red-alert when it came to stress. Literally, the job would have eventually killed me. There was no escaping it! There was not a Win/Win situation on the horizon. When sleep won’t come the whole night through and all you can do is develop a strategy in your head to manage getting through the next day or the next week, it is time to cash in your chips and walk out the door. Actually, I didn’t do that exactly, but I came really close. I still remember the shocked look on the faces of “the friends of Job” who stopped by to make my life miserable. I provided a month’s notice to the two board members that were in my office when I told them that I was resigning. When I finally accepted the fact that I was in the midst of a no win situation, I knew I had to leave for my sanity and sense of wellbeing.
Consequently, why keep-on-keeping-on if the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming in your direction? Did I mention that deciding to resign without having another job was the most frightening decision I ever made? As it turned out, it was one of the most productive things I’ve ever done. It also resulted in a wonderful opportunity.
So what do you do when you need a job? Truthfully, I don’t have a clue. In my case, I telephoned Charles Wright, the Executive Director at Texas Baptist Children’s Home and told him I was looking for work. He responded by saying: “Don, I’ve known you a long time. Let me see what I can do.” Mr. Wright was true to his word and the rest is history.
I have a friend who recently decided to resign from the security and predictability of his current job to fulfill a life-long dream. It wasn’t that he didn’t like his job. He did. That wasn’t it at all. His decision to resign also had no relationship to his not having the skillset or being a good match for the work he was doing. None of that factored into his decision to do something different. He was the consummate professional and highly regarded in the work he was doing. It is just that he wanted more! He had an itch that needed scratching and the need wasn’t going to get met by maintaining the status quo.
How comfortable would you be to simply go out not knowing and color outside the lines of anything you’ve ever tried before to fulfill a dream? All I can say is: “Kudos to him. If you don’t follow your dream, you’ll eventually find yourself in the midst of another dream and it could degenerate into a nightmare.
All My Best!