Back in the day it was commonplace to have a job for life or at least stay with the same company for an entire working lifetime.
As time has passed, it’s become less and less likely that any of us will stay at the same job, company, or even career for very long. Most people choose a job because it satisfied their needs at that moment.
For most everyone, there will come a time when their needs or circumstances change and it’s time to leave. Sometimes for a progression in the same career, sometimes to do something entirely different. But how do you know when it’s the right time to change?
How long should we stay doing something before it’s time to move on?
Many people stay because the position ‘pays the bills’ or because ‘it’s easy enough.’ Most stay because they don’t know what else to do, so they resign themselves to a lifetime of mediocrity, in the same position simply because they are devoid of any new ideas.
Is that really any way to spend your life? Waiting for the time to pass until you can retire and do what? Nothing? If that’s where you’re at, it might be an idea to pray for a layoff so that you are forced to come up with something new to do.
No doubt when you started in your current position there was something about the job that you were drawn to. Maybe the challenge? Maybe it was something completely new for you? There was something there that in that moment that you wanted. Has that something gone? If so, now is the time to change.
You Are Not the Same Person You Used to Be
Why should we find a career and stick with it for life? There are so many things we could do, so many new things we could learn. Think about it: just showing up in life causes personal growth. If you apply yourself to any job or career you will also grow from that.
You are not the same person you were 10 years ago. You are not even the same person you were 10 weeks ago, or 10 days ago.
Growth comes from experiencing life.
The more you engage with life itself, the faster and more dramatic your growth.
With growth comes awareness and right behind awareness is clarity. You can learn most about your direction for the future by understanding your thinking and decision making in the past.
Making smart decisions and taking effective actions on those decisions can be improved with the benefit of hindsight.
Try these techniques to develop greater clarity:
1. Make a list of all the things you have done in the past. Include your hobbies and things you did just for fun.
● Figure out what it was you got out of it. Maybe it was the challenge, maybe it was building or creating something, maybe it was in your service to others, or setting something up completely from scratch.
2. Then make a note of what caused you to stop or change direction in each scenario. The past is no indication of our future, but it can be useful to understand our thinking around the circumstances we were in at that time. It can help us make wiser choices for the future.
Are You a Contrarian Thinker?
Do you light up when you get involved in anything new? Do you love helping others? Do you thrive on variety and change? Could it be that you are smarter than you thought and you’re multi-talented? Could you be a contrarian thinker? Is that nearer the truth for you?
When or if you start to feel like a new challenge, observe anything that attracts your attention. Notice how you feel when working on something you really enjoy. Make a note of the ideas that come into your head.
Not everything you love has to be for a lifetime or become a career. Do what fulfills you, fascinates you, or makes your heart sing. Then, when you’ve got your reward, move on. It will make your world a much more interesting place.