If you and all your friends love your jobs, the people you work with, and the opportunities that await you, this post isn’t for you.
But if you are like many people who gripe about their jobs or endure endless complaining from friends about theirs, then you might be interested in STUCK: Why We Can’t (or Won’t) Move On by Anneli Rufus. We all get “stuck” in various situations like toxic relationships, unhealthy mindsets, and addicting habits, but feeling stuck in your job is all too common for many of us. Not anymore!
To get unstuck from the negative mindset about your job, try what Rufus calls the “Deathbed Test.” Imagine yourself on your deathbed. (Go on, it’s just a fantasy.) From that vantage point, look back at what you “did” for a living and decide what course of action is best for you:
Was it worth it?
You’ve got three options:
Keep your job and seethe.
Keep it and stop seething.
Keeping it and seething is simplest. Chances are, you’re already doing this. It affords you the frisson of venting – without having to risk anything or move a muscle. The ready-made “lazy and afraid” career-management strategy is staying and seething.
Staying without seething requires effort: the inner workout of exercising optimism and patience, of finding silver linings when your impulse is to shout, “Take this job and shove it!”
Switching is the most strenuous workout of all. It’s not just mentally and physically hard but also terrifying, as it means learning new skills and routines and agreeing to take orders from and get along with a new set of strangers.
Yet switching is also easy in at least one sense. If one keeps switching at the first sign of dissatisfaction, one need never learn resilience, patience, or endurance. One is never forced to find inner peace.
As Rufus notes in the above excerpt, when assessing where to go on a career path, it’s important not to stay stuck in a habitual pattern that prevents growth. The hardest route is very often the one to pursue.