Selene stood gazing at a wall of shelves. Each book’s spine, unique in height and colour and thickness, represented a doorway to something more. She had come to the library, like so many times lately, and roamed through the various sections hoping to find a book that opened up like a map to a future that she was impatiently awaiting to arrive.
The feeling of uncertainty was completely foreign to her. After graduating university and beginning her career, Selene had felt nothing but driven and challenged and excited for the professional road ahead of her. In those early years, she happily spent hours at the office perfecting her policy proposals, reading extensively on the international affairs impacting her company’s clients, and volunteering for extra projects. It had come as a surprise when she realized that she no longer felt energized by her work but instead left the office as soon as the clock struck five and headed home, exhausted.
Selene wasn’t sure when her career had shifted from an exhilarating challenge to eight plodding hours of daily work. Her disillusionment sat with her like a lead weight and leached into every part of her life.
When Selene finally talked to her best friend Breanne about it all, she felt like a guilty person confessing to a crime.
“I spent so much time worrying about landing my first ‘real’ job and then I threw myself into it completely, and for a long time I really loved it. But lately, it’s more tedious than exciting. I never imagined that I would feel this way so early in my career”, Selene told her over red wine.
“Your job always sounds so awesome!” Breanne replied. “Maybe it’s just a phase, a dull time at the office? Maybe you just need a vacation!”
Breanne had smiled with encouragement but Selene sensed Breanne's discomfort. It was jarring, after having started out so confidently, to find yourself at a crossroads and not be sure which path to take. She didn’t blame Breanne for not knowing how to handle it. For a long time, Selene herself had not known what to make of her feelings and she had considered all the same possibilities that Breanne was suggesting.
Finally, though, Selene confronted herself with the truth that the problem couldn’t be fixed by changing something within her job - that the problem was her job itself. It just wasn’t a good fit for her anymore. Her interests and priorities were changing and she was ready for new challenges.
After her conversation with Breanne though, she had hesitated to tell anyone else of the big changes that were on her mind. If Breanne had a hard time understanding it, what would everyone else think? The thought of leaving a thriving career felt illicit, almost radical. Wouldn’t her family, friends, and most importantly her partner Morgan also assume that Selene was just in a slump and was acting on some crazy whim?
It seemed for every new opportunity that might come from leaving her job that two new worries came along with it. Her identity had been wrapped up in her professional persona for so long - who would she be without it? Could she find the same success down another career path? Would her friends from the office drift away from her once they didn’t have anything in common anymore? Could she and Morgan manage financially without her growing salary? And even more scary - could Morgan embrace a new lifestyle and still feel proud of her?
So Selene did what she always did when confronted with something she hadn’t experienced before. She started doing research. She spent lunch hours scrolling through online articles and blogs about career change, she secretly did calculations to figure out if they could survive without her salary, and she came to the library to look for inspiration in others who had walked down this path. The world was full of countless stories of people doing incredible things in unconventional ways - surely Selene could be the author of her own unconventional story?
When you read Selene’s Story…
What thoughts came up?
What emotions did you have?
What similar situation have you faced when deciding on a career direction?
How did you decide what to do?
What emotion did you feel afterwards?
What could you have done differently?
What can you do in the future when you have questions about what you “should do” with your life?
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For more Information on the “Is the Grass Really Greener” question, which Selene is confronting in her decision about whether to stay in her current career. As you read these articles, bear in mind that you may or may NOT be experiencing this syndrome. It’s crucial to spend focused time considering whether you are making fear-based or conscious-based decisions (see the 5 tangible tips below)
If you think you may be stuck in a ‘grass is greener’ phase, consider booking a strategy session with me (first is complimentary). And in the meantime, here are 5 tangible steps you can take to help you decide whether you need a career change, or whether you are having a “Grass is Greener” moment: