I settled. I had just graduated from college and I was applying to jobs like crazy. You always hear people say that all they want is a job that pays and I felt beyond lucky when I got offered my job, especially with the state of the economy. I didn’t even think twice before I accepted the offer. I took the first opportunity that came my way and I settled.
Now for some people – including myself – settling was the responsible thing to do. It meant job security and stability in what was the craziest period of my life to date.
And settling has its perks:
• You have steady income
• You can complete tasks without much mental strain or challenge
• You can coast and don’t have to think about the moves you take next
But, these perks are also the downfall. Imagine how monotonous it can be to wake up every day to complete work you can do in your sleep. I remember all too well dreading going to work on Monday immediately after leaving work on Friday, because I wasn’t challenged.
But to be honest, that’s not the most terrible part. The worst part about settling is when you dream about what could have been. It is enough to make you miserable in every aspect of your life. This is when I knew I had to make a change, I had to un-settle.
Inspired by the post Reinvent Yourself Through Your Career and this sentence from the Live in the Grey philosophy, “Start with what makes you happy. Identify it and fold it into your life,” I took action.
I asked myself the following questions when I was stuck – perhaps they will help you too:
1. Does it get any better?
For me, I could easily imagine a better job in my future. It involved marketing, social media, pop culture trends and interacting with people – my passions. My current job wasn’t the right fit for me, so I knew I needed to look for something different. But things don’t happen overnight, so I had to think further about the job I was in…
2. Does it count as a step towards my end goal?
My end goal was not crystal clear but I did know that I wanted to be happy, be working in marketing, not work in an office and have enough money to support myself. I had only 1 out of 4 things, so for me, the answer to this was no. Which verified that it was time for me to stop doing this job and move on to something else.
If the answer for you is yes… that’s great, move along to the next question.
3. If you had to be in the same position for the next three years, how would you feel?
This is a big one. It forces you to have to think about your future and keeps you focused on your end goal.
If you answered no, then you should start thinking about how to find the next right position for you.
If you answered yes and can see yourself hanging out for three years and still feel like you are learning what you need to, this position is where you need to be. Move on to the next question.
4. Are you content? Are you fulfilled?
This is the most important question of all.
If the answer is no… ask yourself why you are still in this job? Are you in resistance?
If you answered yes to being content… that is great, but watch out. Being content can be short-lived. A better question is to ask if you are feeling fulfilled. Fulfillment is like contentment that lasts!
Going through this series of questions helped me determine that I had to un-settle. As difficult as it might be, it is possible to un-settle. Constantly feeling unfulfilled is much worse that any challenge you have to endure when chasing dreams!
Think of it as like moving into a new house- you have to start unpacking one box at a time. It’s a slow process, but little by little, you make real progress. Everyday after my coming home from my 9-5, I would spend a few hours developing my passion. Slowly I began putting pieces in motion for myself so that I could realistically live in the grey.
I am finally un-settled, and let me tell you, it is great! I am now Co-Founder and Publisher for my passion project, Speaking of Everything Magazine. I spend my days networking, writing, developing content, strategy and our brand, managing social media accounts and keeping up with pop culture… I love every second of it! Living grey and un-settled does involve some sacrificing, but remember that life is too short to spend the majority of it unhappy. Dreams are worth the chase!