I kept my last post brief because it had been so long since I posted, I wanted to at least give a quick update. Now that I'm back on the horse, I want to spend a little time on the How. Some people say that you shouldn't put so much emotional real estate into a job, and that career satisfaction is as much about your state of mind as it is what you actually do: I fully agree with that sentiment, but I think there are some other factors involved as well.
Focus on the context
Sometimes a new job is needed because your current job is so depressing, sometimes a new opportunity presents itself and is such a good fit for you and your goals that you can't pass it up. There are many driving factors that affect your emotional relationship with your job and why you might need a new one.
Your current job sucks!
- Toxic environment - sometimes the environment you work in is so dysfuctional that you come home stressed out, depressed, and exausted just from having to put up with the people you work with. This is one of those self evident things (hopefully) that should be easy to spot in the wild.
- No respect - similar to toxic environment, but can exist in its own right. You don't need to be admired by your colleges and adored by your superiors, but you should be able to at least be treated like a human.
- Dead end - and lastly, a job doesn't have to be a torture chamber of an experience, sometimes the opportunity cost of staying at a job can set you back for years and really put a hamper on your long term goals and happiness.
The new opportunity is so much better than what you do now:
- An offer you can't refuse - Whether you've been on an agressive job search for months or an aquaintance you met last week offers you an amazing job out of nowhere; sometimes it doesn't matter how good or bad your current job is, an opportunity presents itself that is SO great that it's a no brainer to move on and progress your career to the next level.
- You know what you want - And what you're doing right now ain't it. Getting a job in the field you want will, by definition, place you in a happier environment unless...
- You don't know what you want - You don't like what you're doing now, but have no idea what you'd rather do instead. This is your opportunity to experiment! You might come across a new line of work that really inspires you. What's the worst thing that could happen? You get another crappy job? Quit and start all over again.
Well there you have it. A short list of items that I've found true to my job/happiness hunting experience. I'm still in the honeymoon phase right now though, so check back in a couple months and see how happy I am. But the fact of the matter is that all jobs have their down points, but the key is to know when those down points have crossed a line and be keen to when that happens.