Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash
Our working lives call on us to make many compromises, some we have a hand in shaping and others we do not. When your work no longer makes you happy, or if your workplace becomes something that forces you to make the hard decision “this job or my well being”, then an interesting conversation occurs; “What exactly can I live with?”. If you are (or have recently) been asking yourself that question, stay with it; as difficult as this exploration can be it is fertile ground for what comes next.
With this question you will pass through the gates of “Is it me?”. Checking to see if you are being too emotional, making a mountain out of a molehill, confirming your strengths and weakness, looking to understand if you are being too picky or too needy. This is a lonely dark place in this exploration; remember to take the light of objectivity with you before traveling here. You have skills and abilities, do you get to use them, grow them or share them? You have needs and values, many of which should not be compromised. What are they? Have conversations with loved ones you trust to explore this place, as doing this only in the dark recesses of your mind may mean you get lost and stuck here with the echoes of “I am not enough” to keep you company.
If your basic needs are consistently being compromised at work, it’s time to see what can be done. And this is perhaps the most vulnerable part of this process; reaching out and having candid conversations with your employer from a place of humble and uncompromising truth. See what is possible. Be open to learning some new things about yourself you may not have had access to before you began this conversation. Things will take time, give yourself a window to explore and see movement. If nothing changes then you need to consider something more. Stay or go?
If the pros outweigh the cons and you choose to stay, how do you do that happily? Happiness resides in the difference between giving in and letting go. When you give in and abdicate your happiness to stay with an employer, you become a victim; someone helpless and dependent on this entity called employment. When you can accept your employer for their flaws (keeping in mind that you determined the many benefits you receive from this relationship outweigh the costs), you are able to let go of the picture you had in your mind of what you wanted, or what you had, and become dedicated to building a new picture, an objective picture. No employer is perfect and the only constant is change. Being able to recognize your job/organization/boss isn’t going to support you in all the things you need is part of the process of letting go. Becoming a willing participant in shaping this relationship is the act of letting go. Objectively accepting “what is” at work is the way to open a new path forward, working together with your employer as an equal partner, to explore what is possible.
“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ~ Edwin Lewis Cole