When One Door Closes, a Fourth One Opens
If you experience the ‘Sunday Night Scaries,’ count down the days to the weekend, or dread the thought of another day at work, maybe you can only see two options to escape your current misery: quit your job or stay and suffer. Or, perhaps you are among the group who see a third option: go all eat, pray, love on the situation and leave the rat race to be a yogi in Thailand.
There’s good news, though: there’s another option.
You can take ownership of your career, your life, and your happiness. Yes, really.
This is what I like to call door number four. It is the option where, instead of yelling at your boss and saying, “take this job and shove it!” before flouncing out of the office to live in Maine as a kayaking instructor, you look at what can be done within this job.
Door number four is where you ask yourself what you can change about your current job. This is the door of choice, the door of possibility. This is the door that asks you not to check your training, education, hard work, and investment in your career, but instead to carry them through with you. This door gives you control over what happens next.
I can hear you now. You’re laughing nervously, saying, “What do you mean, ‘control’? You don’t know my boss,my office,my coworkers.” You’re right. I don’t. What I do know, though, is that you have choices. You can choose to engage with your boss differently or change the way in which you choose to respond to them. The point is that when you step through door number four, you must embrace the power of choice and possibility. That’s it.
I mean, really, don’t we all want some of that in our lives?
I’m not here to diminish how scary this can be. Change is scary, and certainly more so when it involves pursuing something new like a dream job from a job we thought was the absolute worst last Friday when we ended the week.
To help you face your fears and turn any job into a dream job, here are the Five Essentials to Own, Love, and Make Your Job Work for You. It’s a step-by-step guide to help you walk through door number four. The first step is to acknowledge and ask for the recognition and appreciation due to you in exchange for your contributions. Next, align your strengths and skills to support the accomplishment of your company’s goals and your professional and personal goals. Then, develop skills and knowledge to grow in your career and increase your impact. Next, cultivate authentic relationships with the team to advance your career and love your work. Finally, design your job to find meaning in your work.
These steps are broad. That’s intentional. You need to shape them to support the realization of your unique needs, goals and dreams.
Remember, change won’t happen in one day. Small, incremental change adds up quickly over time. Pick one small thing you can do tomorrow, and then work on it. Then a week from now, pick another small thing. Your little changes become the big changes. One day you will be in bed, asleep at a reasonable hour on Sunday night instead of scrolling through other people’s highlight reels or looking at your ceiling dreading tomorrow.
You have everything you need inside of you to unlock your dream job. Don’t feel stuck. Take the first step to own, love and make your job work for you.
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Carson serves as a consultant to executives at Fortune 500 companies. The author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, her views have been included in Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Harvard Business Review blog, and The New York Times.