It’s easy to believe that the grass is greener across the street. You speak to other people and they tell you how well they are doing at work and how happy they are. It sounds great. You think about where you are, and there are so many challenges. You think about jumping the fence and heading for greener pastures. Not so fast.
Why the Grass (Appears) to be Greener
The grass is often greener across the street because somebody is doing a better job taking care of it. They may be putting in a very different level of effort and energy into producing the results that you see. It’s greener because they are working hard to make it that way.
It’s easy to picture yourself working across the street, making more money, getting away from your current challenges. You can only imagine at as so much because you aren’t imagining the work that it takes to produce those outcomes—and because you aren’t imagining the problems and challenges that accompany business everywhere. You really think that they don’t have their own set of challenges?
Before you quit to work somewhere else, reflect on your total experience working. Hasn’t every company you have ever worked for had some set of problems or challenges? Haven’t they each had their own set of difficult people? Do you really expect the next place not to have problems, challenges, or difficult people? Could it be that you aren’t close enough to know about the things that you would dislike there too?
The grass may be greener. The people you know there may be producing better results because they are working harder, and because they are okay dealing with the challenges within their own company. Lots of people think your company would be a better place to work.
Wherever You Go, You Take You With You
It’s a tough lesson for we humans. Our great aptitude for rationalizing our own behavior and actions while extending none of the same empathy to others is breath taking. We can easily and automatically find fault with our company, our product, or our managers, and we have a tremendous difficulty in discovering the blame that resides within ourselves. We refuse to recognize that our response to problems and problem people is part of the problem.
When you leave your existing company to work elsewhere, it’s likely that you are bringing the biggest barrier to your own success with you: you!
Before you leave, take the time to do some introspection. Ask yourself which of your beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and actions harm your results. Ask yourself whether or not your results might be different if you changed the only thing you really have the power to change, namely, yourself! If you can’t come up with anything, ask for some direct feedback from your peer group or some people that care about you (and don’t be intimidated by the size or breadth of the list).
Would changing you change your results? Are you as much to blame for your present unhappiness as anyone else around you?
Okay, Go Ahead and Quit
I am not suggesting that you not quit a job that’s wrong for you.
Life is too short to do work with no meaning or to work someplace where you cannot fulfill your life’s plan.
If you are being abused, or if the environment is unhealthy for you, then by all means find yourself a new home. But if the challenges that you face are the same challenges you will face elsewhere, you are better served figuring out what part of your problems is you and what you can do to be more effective where you are now.
By working on you, should you decide to leave, you’ll be taking a better and more effective you with you. Hopefully you will bring a you that’s better equipped to handle the new set of challenges that I promise you will discover in your new job.
Why is your neighbor’s grass greener than yours? What are they doing differently?
Do you believe there is someplace that you can work without challenges, problems, things you don’t like, or difficult people?
How much would your results and your happiness change if you changed?
Have you ever changed jobs only to miserable all over again? Could some part of it be something that you are bringing to the job?
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