Yes that’s right, I have quit my job.
When I first moved to New Zealand at the age of 22 I was more concerned about having a good time then my career or working. 5 years later, a couple of rungs up the corporate ladder and living and working in the UK I still have that nagging feeling in my gut that something just isn’t right.
During this time I’ve worked for a couple of different Fortune 500 companies and have observed some disturbing trends, as well as having gained some valuable insights into the true nature of big business and the effect it has on people.
In his book, Daniel Goleman talks about an emerging phenomenon of people in the 40’s and 50’s suddenly reassessing their lives, deciding what’s truly important and reordering their priorities.
New studies show, for example, a sharp rise in people’s altruism at midlife, a key sign of new priorities. Psychoanalysts now see this increased caring as the flowering in middle age of emotional development that begins in childhood.
The key phrase there is: ‘the flowering in middle age of emotional development that begins in childhood’.
My questions is; if this begins in early childhood and only starts to flower in middle age, in terms of emotional and spiritual development (don’t freak out, I’m not a hippy) what happens in our 20’s and 30’s?
If you work in an office I am willing to bet you know at least one ‘serious guy’. The person that:
- Takes their ‘supervisor’ or ‘champion’ role a little too seriously
- The boss that sends emails from her laptop at 9 p.m. and thinks because she put’s in so many hours that her staff should be following her example
- The guy at lunch that is totally incapable of having a discussion about anything other than work
Keep things in perspective
Do you want to be that person? Are you already that person?
When you work fulltime and are heavily involved in your job, it is easy to lose perspective of what is actually important in your life. Family and friends can easily slide down the list of priorities and trivial things can be blown way out of perspective. If you lost your job, would it truly be the end of the world?
I am self obsessed and so are you
Don’t get defensive, it’s true. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be compassionate, loving and interested in people, but the fact remains that we, as people, are primarily interested in ourselves.
The danger here then, is that people can easily fool themselves into believing that getting that report completed by Monday actually is important. That sacrificing time spent with their partner or children is an acceptable trade-off and ‘comes with the territory’.
Understand: your company does not care about you.
I’m sorry, but it’s true. If you have a good work ethic then you probably try hard at your job and want to impress your boss(s). If you’re still with me at this point, I encourage you to answer the following questions:
- How much power does your boss actually have?
- Will they still be here in 10 years?
- If so, will they remember and be grateful for all those extra hours you put in on the weekend?
- Will they remember and be grateful in 6 months?
By working extra time and effort during the ‘hard times’, are you setting a precedent that people will come to expect from you all the time?
Decide what is really important in your life. Now.
My major concern with writing this post is coming across as preaching or being pretentious. OH LOOK AT ME!”$ I HAVE QUIT MY JOB AND YOU SHOULD TOO”$!”£. This is not my intention, for the record I don’t have a great deal of money saved to fall back on, or a business already setup. Yes I am scared of failure and concerned that any ventures I embark on may not succeed. (side note, if you seeing how I get on, I plan on tracking all my progress and documenting the steps I take on this blog)
Not trying is still failing.
The point is, by not backing yourself and giving it a shot you are still failing. The precedents are already set. The signs are there, they just need to be recognised.
Look at all the people that have been obsessed with their jobs, what happened 20 years later when they are made redundant? Do you think you are any different? If you continue as you are, in 20 years will you feel fulfilment or resentment?