By Cynthia Sutherland
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
“Not all those who wander are lost.” J. R. R. Tolkien
A friend of mine just started a part-time, “permanent” job. She was excited because she was out of work for a long time. And work was an important part of her identity and social structure.
This job was on her anticipated path at this stage of her career: still in the game, wanting to make another significant contribution, but resigned toward accepting less, for now.
Even so, it appeared to be a challenging job in her field, one that allowed her to use her extensive job skills and background, work independently from home, and potentially make a positive impact. And it left time for other ventures.
Yet this job didn’t pay well. Is that the new normal? Still, it had future potential. So the job situation was OK with her – at first.
Well, what happened? Her new boss began micro-managing, calling at all hours of the day and night, seven days a week. What was supposed to be a very part-time job quickly became a set of full-time expectations.
Here was a new job that turned out to be immediately different than what my friend thought she had interviewed for. Yes, she’s thinking about quitting already. But she will discuss the work situation with her new boss to see if it can be salvaged.
This job was going to provide some of the means for moving forward. But another more pleasant journey can take her there as well. Or, she could wander for a while until she discovers a new path.
Job change inevitably becomes a catalyst for re-tooling our life goals.
Did she “settle” for this job? Probably. But I think she just hoped that she could perform some interesting work while sorting things out, and she crossed her fingers.
What started as a job search became more of a life satisfaction journey. My friend realized gradually that there IS more to life than work, and work needs to be satisfying in this mix. I identify with that.
What priorities motivate you? Will you “settle” short-term or long-term? Or, not at all?
Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.
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