Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Let's just get it out there, the last 18 months have been a LOT. Covid-19 has brought some unique hardships to the Work Life situation. If nothing else, the pandemic has caused everyone to take stock of their current situation and consider what it could be like to just, do, something different. You yourself may be considering all of this, but far before you go out with a lot of bang and not a lot of plan, it is critical to consider how green your current grass really is, and how much more prepared you could be before leaping without so much as a look. If you made it reading this far, you get me (!) you really get me, and I feel you as well. I recently partially retired at 41 from a well-paying 15 year career with handsome benefits and as much future as I could have handled! To give you some further insight, as I personally evaluated my own situation in the recent past, and pondered my future, I used a process and framework very similar to the one below, and ran these questions by the most important people in my life (wife, brother, etc.). Further note, and for key reference - I write this as a white male, with a career that afforded me even more privilege than I was born into (status, perception, benefit of the doubt, etc.). We will address those specifics and nuances of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Year of Social Justice Movements, and the Great Resignation, that you're just not finding anywhere else on the web, all in due time. But for now, to to kick off this blog on Work Life, let's first consider 5 Reasons that you Actually Should Stay in your Current Role (job, career, own business, etc.).
You currently, already, have what reduces to the MOST important things in life, that which at the top of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, is summed as either: Contentment, Satisfaction, or Fulfillment. Choose your descriptive adjective for Self-Actualization. If your fundamental needs are beyond being met, perhaps consider that you've achieved more than most will in their lifetime. For perspective, 3 billion-plus people in the world live in poverty (poverty by a global standard, not US or OECD, for example), according to FINCA and WorldBank data, and 10% of the world population lives in EXTREME poverty. The first two "lower-level deficits" according to Maslow (Physiological and Safety needs), aren't being met for this group, so imagine how difficult it would be to achieve more. If you are IN this group and reading this blog: 1) thank you and 2) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me evaluate if I can personally help you in anyway. I look forward to giving back and will work to feature a free Coaching package for one individual or group, most deserving and in need, every 6 months. Basically, contrast that with your current - if you are in a place where you can achieve Self-Actualization - you most likely are really well off in this position! Consider staying.
#2 Career Arc
The BEST years are still ahead of you. A quote from an important family member in my life sounds something like this: "Can you continue to see a future with your current company 3 - 5 years out? And does that future line up with your own current plan, for personal growth and development?" If the answer is yes, then it continues to be among the best choices for you, and you should definitely consider staying.
#3 Continued Ascendance
Growth and Opportunity. Similar but different to #2. . .Are you now and will you continue to be sufficiently and adequately challenged? Can you grow in your current role or into your next one, and are the barriers to doing so both exciting and high enough of a hurdle that you'll achieve what you're looking for? Can you continue to grow or improve your total compensation outlay in a meaningful way for you, your future self and your family? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then that signals you could need to consider remaining on the course you're charting.
Are you now, or will you be, surrounded by the best supporting characters for your current and future roles? According to Jim Rohn, you are the AVERAGE of the FIVE people you spend the most time with! Who are these five critical people for YOU, do you like who you are or could be when around them; are they moving you forward or holding you back? If you're getting the most of your manager, your mentor, your protege, your team, etc., and you continue to draw energy and inspiration from who you are when around this crowd, it could really suggest the best action for you is to stay on your current path.
#5 Work Life
How is your Work Life? Formerly described as "work-life balance," does your Work Life tip too far in one direction or the other, or do you feel that the key areas of your life, including physical, mental and spiritual, are getting all of you that they should? If too much "work," then it's hard to say with great accuracy what the price will be, to have afforded it, and more specifically, will it come at the expense of an important cornerstone of your life (family, hobbies, seeing the world, giving time to your church or charity, etc.)? If you can easily sum up in 3 sentences or less, why your Work Life is out of balance, and you've taken every step to address where it lacks or falls short, 1 don't give up you just could need to run it by someone to see the missing part of the puzzle, or, 2 don't panic, there could be a path forward but in a different situation that you need to consider. If your Work Life feels on solid footing, you should consider staying at your current role.
Your Work Life should be helping you point to, and plot a journey towards, financial freedom, and above all else, be balanced with some fair modicum of personal time or space to reflect, which ideally should be longer than your car ride home from the main office. Along with a proper Work Life comes the ability to achieve the other most important areas of your life, whatever those are to you personally. Before stepping further outside of your comfort zone, to consider a departure or big move that could change your Work Life, consider these 5 reasons to actually stay in your current role.
- Matt Holmes