When I start working with people navigating career change, I always ask them how they feel on Sunday nights.
“Sick to my stomach!”
These are just some of the responses I tend to get. Now of course (especially during summer!) Sunday blues lead to “hard-to-wake-up-Mondays.” If any of the above answers resonate with you, it’s time to look at what you might be ignoring.
Human beings in general don’t love change. How many times have you noticed yourself ordering the same thing over and over at your favorite restaurant? You glance over at some of the other delicious menu items and then you say something like “I get the same thing every time I come here…oh well!”
Not being adventurous in a restaurant is really not going to affect your long term happiness. It is, however, a microcosm of how we approach change. No matter what we think might make us happy or could give us a different experience, we are creatures of habit. Routine is a beautiful thing. We get into a groove with what is predictable and we set up our lives to run. It feels safe, happy, and comfortable.
Your Sunday blues and the intensity of them are another story. See where any of the following scenarios fit:
- You are in a job where you love WHAT you do but who you work FOR or WITH is bordering on toxic. The organization in general is not one where you feel supported, respected, or in many cases, fairly compensated.
- You are in a job where the people rock, your boss is tolerable (possibly even awesome), you feel at home when you arrive, but the content of your work is not something you are passionate about. You have many things you want to pursue but fear leaving a safe environment where you feel welcome.
- You are in a job where BOTH the content of your job AND the culture of your organization have taken it’s toll on you. You may be the main breadwinner in the family, and others are relying on your paycheck. Being adventurous sounds great, but you can’t be going around quitting your job
In all of these situations, you could feel like you lost track of time, did what you had to in order to get by, or are just “being responsible.”
Here’s the thing — you’ve got to free yourself from an either/or world. Being responsible doesn’t mean staying at a job and being miserable. Being responsible for your professional happiness means taking informed risks.
In very few cases do I ever suggest someone leave their job without a safety net of at least one year’s income and this of course depends on if they have a second income to rely on as well. Remember, finding a job can take 3-6 months or longer and other factors like time of year affect the process as well.
You CAN keep your job while looking for something that will make you happier. Saying “I don’t have time to look,” given how much time we spend at our jobs, is essentially saying: “I don’t have time to care for my happiness.”
Looking for a new job can be arduous, but it’s possible to do it in small chunks. No one works out for 6 hours in a row, they break it up throughout the week. If I told you to do this for a friend, spouse or child, chances are you’d make the time.
Before you start looking, you must embrace that every organization, every job has it’s downsides. You will always have the potential to have a less than stellar boss. There are no miracle solutions, and anyone who preaches them to you probably buys those magic diet pills on TV at 3 am.
Turn your Sunday night blues into ACTION by working on your resume or polishing up your LinkedIn profile. Repurpose that energy into something that is going to take you where you want to be.
Stephanie Licata is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.