You’re really good at what you do. You’ve established a solid track record. You’ve got all the credentials. It pays well (or well enough).
But you’re no longer feeling the energy in it.
You used to love a new week. A new challenge. Making something happen. Doing something well.
Now. Not so much. You’re probably still doing a good job. You probably have a great game face at work. But maybe you’re wondering ‘is this all?’. Perhaps you’ve focused your energies on the weekend – family, friends, hobbies, volunteering.
For some people, sticking with it works well – even if it is not super gratifying or energizing. Your heart’s not quite there but you know you’re grateful for your job and the stability it provides. You’re ok with things staying the same.
This post may not be for you.
For others, you feel trapped. Trapped in the very success you thought you wanted. But now, you have no idea how to get out. Every day is hard. At work you worry when you are going to be exposed. You wonder when your boss or colleagues figure out you’re just putting in time. On days off, you both revel in the time away and have serious anxiety about going back. You may either worry you might explode from the feelings inside – or you look at little red sports cars or other shopping therapy to see if they’ll help you feel better.
It is really helpful to know that this can be a normal part of life. While many of us still have that old-school thinking of ‘pension = security’, the data shows that more and more of us who are ‘older’ will be looking at something different for the next third of our life or the second half. And those who are younger are expected to change jobs and careers multiple times in their lives.
So where to start?
Some people cut the cord and jump quickly. Cold quitting your job is a hot topic, but the reality is that the idea of cold quitting leaves many of us in a cold sweat. And for good reason. This is one of those times and spaces where looking before you leap may be a great idea. Intentional thought about where you want to land and how you want to transition makes it more likely that you’ll be satisfied with the transition and less likely that you’ll find yourself looking for a new job in the near future.
1. First off, spend some time stepping back and look deep. Get the big picture on what is important to you. What resonates for you? What gives you passion and energy? What skills do you have? Are there jobs or a market in this area?
2. Run to, not from. When considering your next steps, focus less on what you don’t like in your current job and focus more on who you will become, what you will get to do. We are more motivated when we are moving towards an aspiration, a dream, or a goal.
3. What else needs to happen for you to move into this area? Do you need to gain skills or education? Do you need additional connections? Can you manage your current finances to pay down debt or create a savings to provide a buffer during the transition? Can you volunteer or somehow test the water to get a sense of the day to day reality?
4. What’s in the way? Sometimes there are very pragmatic issues to address. However, often the biggest obstacles are in our head. Get around some like minded people who can encourage you. Find someone who has done it before. Engage a coach to help you meet your goals.
5. Finally, recognize that a desire to quit is often just the first step of an inward journey to identify what is really important. The journey is often just as important as the destination – and the pace and direction are up to you.