Do you feel stuck in your current job or work situation? Or more dramatically, do you feel like Sisyphus from Greek mythology, who was condemned for eternity to labor at rolling a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down to the bottom once it reached the top of the hill? For many, the seemingly endless toil of their day-to-day routine can feel like being fated to hard labor for eternity. I know I felt like that once upon a time.
You may fantasize about quitting your day job. You may have even “quit and stayed” in your job, where you are checked out but continue to come in to work day after day, week after week, year after year. You may believe you only have two choices – quit or stay. What if you have more choices in this situation than you think? What if you have at least five choices. And the ones made in victim mentality or anger are catabolic and lead to stress, whereas others are anabolic and lead to growth and a sense of personal responsibility.
Choice #1: Quit
The most obvious is to quit your job. You may find another job. Make that job or career change you have been contemplating. Take a leap into entrepreneurship. It sounds obvious, but for many of us, you want to have your new revenue generating gig in place before you walk away from your pay check. If this is your preferred choice, instead of quitting out of anger or frustration, make a plan for a better, more fulfilling choice. Determine what steps you need to take and once you feel prepared, make your move.
Choice #2: Quit & Stay
Some of you may have already done this. I do not recommend it, but it is a choice you are making. If you choose to remain a victim to your situation and/or blame other people or circumstances for your unhappiness, then you will take no action to change it. You may enjoy complaining and commiserating and believe that you have no power in the situation. If this is the case, do not expect that anything will change. This is a catabolic choice, but it is still a choice.
Choice #3: Reframe Your Perspective
Maybe you have valid reasons for why you need to stay in your current role. If that is the case, you can choose to reframe your attitude. See this job as a stepping stone, a way to house and feed your family, or some other positive reason for why you choose to stay in the job for now. Find a way to rationalize why you need to stay and find a way to take responsibility for this choice. By doing this, you will feel relief from the catabolic energy you have been living with. This is an anabolic choice and will relieve you of some stress.
Choice #5: Accept and Embrace It
With this choice, you are not just rationalizing or tolerating your choice. You are truly accepting it. With this choice, you release judgment and find inner peace with the situation. You no longer let your boss or colleagues or the job itself upset you. Regardless of what you are doing, whether cleaning floors, creating products, or delivering services, you find a higher purpose in what you are doing and feel that what you are doing has meaning. This is also an anabolic choice and will help you feel more fulfilled in what you are doing.
Choice #5: Change You
With this choice, you change yourself by showing up differently in a new improved version of yourself. You are fully present and engaged regardless of the circumstances. You learn about yourself and your reactions from the process. You learn more about how your thoughts, feelings and actions are all intertwined. You begin to see what you react to and when you feel the tug towards catabolic energy. You see your strengths, and you see your weaknesses. You begin to embrace your gifts and express as much as possible in your role. You may even begin to know whether this role will provide enough opportunity for you to express your gifts and talents. From that place, you will be able to decide whether to stay or make another change. This is another anabolic choice, which may very well lead you to quit and pursue a career that is more fulfilling for you.
The bottom line is that you are always at choice, whether you believe you are or not. Even if the choice is simply to change your own perspective. Some choices are anabolic and growth-oriented, and others are catabolic and wear you down. It is your life so choose wisely.