One of my (now retired) mentors used to say he was “the CEO of his own life.” At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but over the years his saying has made more sense to me. I can’t quite remember when he started saying this phrase,but perhaps it was after he was passed over for a promotion he wanted, or perhaps it was when he was working on projects that weren’t very enjoyable. In any case, he found happiness in his current situation, helped others hone their skills, and led a balanced life. “A hard 8 hours; no more, no less” was another of his sayings that fostered work/life balance.
Do you feel like you are trapped in your job? I think we’ve all felt that way occasionally, but if you often feel like an animal that needs to chew off its foot to escape the trap of your job, your stress could lead to health impacts. Often those feelings arise when we don’t have control of our situation, either due to our financial situation (who can afford to leave a job?), a negative work environment, an overload of work (and/or not enough staff support), or other reasons. If you dread getting up in the morning because you have to work, if the end of the day can’t come soon enough for you, if you feel you have too much work to be sick for a day or to go on vacation, then your body may decide for you! Remember the flight attendant advice – “put on your own air mask before helping others.” Sometimes you just need to step away for a day (or more!) in order to recharge and clearly regain control over your life.
Often we feel trapped when we feel like we have no alternatives to what we are currently doing. But is that really the case? What WOULD you do if your job ended? Would you work in another branch of your office? Work for a contractor? Start your own business? Or do something completely unrelated to your current job, like work as a cook, florist, or coffee barista? Would you retire? The reality is, we usually DO have options to our current jobs. With some creative thinking, you may be able to line up another work option, even if it’s patching together a few part-time jobs (selling things online, renting extra rooms in your house on Airbnb, etc). This is an important point, because it means every day we can CHOOSE to go to our current job. Just knowing that each day we have a choice can provide us with a sense of control, which can ease anxiety. If you are choosing to remain at a job you hate, then check out these ten hints to make life more tolerable.
Now that you know you are choosing to be where you are, commit to working with purpose. If you are choosing to be at this job every day, you can also choose to do it well, and make it meaningful. If the work itself isn’t meaningful for you, then decide to make meaningful connections with your co-workers, or to mentor younger staff, or in some way benefit others (and yourself). When we choose to be someplace, and choose to work purposefully, keying in on what makes us happy, then each day is easier, our attitude improves, and so does our work. For tips on living purposefully, check out this article.
Choose To Be Here!
So, you have options to your current job – you have chosen to either follow a different path or continue at your current job (knowing that you are always free to leave). That freedom of choice leads to happiness. That happiness and positive attitude will help you develop workplace friendships, another factor in being happy at work. Choose to be where you are, and choose to be happy! If you aren’t happy in your current position, then it’s up to you to make a change. Remember – you are the CEO of your life, so live it!