|Mutual Metaphors by Mars-1|
The other day an anonymous commenter wrote:
"Zee, I see from your recent posts how unhappy you really are at your current job. I ask, why don't you look for something else, something in a completely different field even. You are not living paycheque to paycheque, maybe the universe is telling you to take that leap. Of course your goal is not to work at all but might as well try and find something better until then."
First I would like to say, thank you anonymous commenter, really, thank you. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to even comment on something I wrote. It's nice to know that someone noticed a theme with my work lately and suggested that I make a significant change to it.
The other day I read a post over at Retire Before Dad and it summed up my feelings towards work really well. I'm sure that I could switch jobs or careers at any point at time but right now my job is really the path of least resistance towards financial independence. My ultimate goal is to not work... I mean, it's the title of this blog after all, I have this feeling that if I was doing anything else for 40 hours a week I would start to hate it to some degree too. Since I feel like no matter what I would dislike work to varying degrees I might as well take the shortest path to my goal. Let's say my current job has a dislike factor of a "broken leg", and switching to another job is somewhat better but it still is like having a fractured foot instead.... Sure it's a little less pain, but it's still just drawing out the pain longer.
But in response to your question I have multiple answers as to why I am currently sticking with my current job/career path.
Coworkers/Environment: I've had five "real" jobs since college. Well.... Five career type jobs that were in my field. Of all of these jobs there are only two that I had coworkers that actually liked. You know, people that you might call friends and invite to a birthday party or hang out with on the weekends. My current job is one of the ones where I actually have coworkers that I wouldn't mind hanging out with on occasion. Going into a job where you have people you can call friends makes a job a thousand times more enjoyable than having a job where everyone is just, "a person that you work with."
Flexibility: This is becoming a much more important factor to me lately. I usually get to work from home one day a week which is a nice perk to have. But there's another advantage to my job that I haven't taken advantage of yet but may consider at some point in the future. My job would allow me to work remotely if I choose to move somewhere else. So I could move to the other side of the country if I wanted and I could keep my job. That is a very nice option to be able to take advantage of if I really wanted. If the universe is telling me that I need change, this is probably more of the change that I'm actually looking at right now. But moving away from a safety net and what's comfortable is just really fucking scary... Which brings me to my next point.
Fear: Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason I don't change career paths. Yes I could change jobs and stay in the same industry, but for the reasons I mentioned above I fear that I might not have as nice of a situation that I do now at a different company. I could change careers entirely too, but almost any career change I would take about a 50% pay cut to do it (the pay cut is less of a fear and more of just an honest evaluation of the situation), and then there's no guarantee that I would like it any better. Also there's a lot of fear for me in thinking that if I leave my current career path then I may never be able to get back in after a few years off. People think that for some reason you lose your skills if you don't use them but I think that's just dumb... I know that when I'm looking at resumes and someone hasn't had any sort of programming job in the past few years they go near the bottom of the pile, in the "maybe I'll call you if we're not getting anywhere with these other candidates first pile."
But as you mentioned, I sound unhappy with my current job, and you are correct to an extent. But I'm also depressed, I know that I go in cycles since I'm bipolar and all, but of the crap at work just triggered me to go down the rabbit hole again. But after years of dealing with depression I know to fight my natural instincts, burying my bad feelings and not making extreme decisions when emotions are high is just something I've gotten used to over the years. Right now I'm very unhappy with my manager, but that will be changing as there is some mobility within my company to change groups. Once that is done I will still be working with people that I can call friends but I won't have to talk to that manager again.
Another thing is that I usually end up leaving a company over politics. Either I'm promised things that aren't delivered, or I'm micromanaged, or just simply don't like my coworkers. It's usually not the work itself, but some other factor that makes me unhappy enough to leave. I think switching to another job would probably result in the same thing eventually. At my current company there's something wrong with the politics of the situation and I'm able to fix my main issue. So that's why I'm choosing to stay for now. I may think differently later but for now, I'm going to see how this plays out first.
I'm also getting closer and closer to the end of my working career. Somewhere between five and ten years left doesn't seem that bad anymore. I'm already past the half way mark, I have enough saved that I feel like I see light at the end of the tunnel and just need to hold on a little longer. There's still a ways to go but slowing down now doesn't make sense to me at the moment. Maybe it will in the future, but for now I'm going to just keep at what I'm doing.
Do you view your job as the path of least resistance? Have you ever made a complete career path change?