For those of you who haven’t heard (and therefore didn’t congratulate me via text, Facebook or LinkedIn…you know who you are), I started a new job exactly one month ago. Hang on, I need a moment to bask in my freedom from the detestable machine that is my erstwhile employer.
[Takes a bite of a sandwich that cost me nothing since my new job orders groceries for the office]
And I’m back.
It’s funny (in a “tragiccomedy” sense of the word) how easily we can adapt to working in horrible conditions, simply because we need the money. Nobody wants that job that pays a pittance, promises to work you half to death, and offers a slim (at best) opportunity at advancement. And yet, astoundingly, those roles continue to be filled by otherwise talented, creative people who deserve to be doing so much more with their lives. (These roles are also filled by remarkably uninteresting, aimless idiots who will eventually work their way up the ladder by virtue of the fact that they have no drive to do anything else, but I digress.) And all I can think when I see a dynamic person languishing in a job that barely provides the essentials for survival, to say nothing of even a modicum of professional fulfillment, is “Why?” Why in the world do people stay at a job that fails to provide any value to them whatsoever?
I would imagine there are quite a few reasons for this unwillingness to abandon or, at the very least, shirk the duties of one’s current job in order to find a new one, but let’s be honest: most of those excuses are likely invalid. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons people don’t leave their jobs.
Point: “The economy is really bad.”
Counterpoint: Did you know that in New York City, there are 1.2 job postings per potential applicant (the most favorable number in the country)? And that in Miami (the worst job-hunting market in the country), there are 8 applicants per job posting? And that numbers are boring, except in this one instance that kinda proves my point that the market isn’t that bad? Lastly, did you know that Miami is the worst place in America and that I hope everyone there is unable to find a job, ever? Well, now you know.
Point: “Nobody’s hiring.”
Counterpoint: Shut up, yes they are.
Point: “I check CareerBuilder every day!”
Counterpoint: Oh? Are you also sending carrier pigeons with your resume attached to their leg in the general direction of employers in the hopes that: A) the employers are comfortable accepting pigeon-mail (and possibly the plague), B) that the pigeons won’t fly directly into a floor-to-ceiling window and plummet to the ground, a broken husk of their once-vibrant selves, as C) your resume flutters harmlessly to the street below only to be brushed rudely into a dustbin by a 1920’s street sweeper? I’ve said this before about the job hunt, but CareerBuilder is just one of the largely useless tools at your disposal. (For my money, LinkedIn is where it’s at.)
Point: “I don’t want to have to start all over at a new job.”
Counterpoint: Have you been hazed at the outset of every job you’ve ever taken? Do you typically ritualistically murder everyone at your office prior to your departure for greener pastures? No, right? (Riiiiiight?) You have a phone and an email address- use them to keep in touch with your (soon-to-be-former) colleagues and get outta there.
Point: “But I like it here at _________ Rent-a-Car!”
Counterpoint: You lack vision and I want nothing to do with you.
My point is simply this: life is too damned short to do something that doesn’t fulfill you in some way or another just because you fear the unknown. By no means am I saying that finding a new job is easy; quite the contrary, in fact. But I’ve noticed something: Plenty of people say they’ve “been looking” for a new gig but “there’s nothing out there,” and that is absolute nonsense. When my brother died, I decided that I wasn’t going to spend another second more than was absolutely necessary in a dead-end job that I despised, and I obsessed with finding a new job. I probably sent out around 250 resumes, and I’m not talking about the “mass-apply-to-25-employers-at-once” move that you can pull on CareerBuilder- I’m talking about sending one resume and one cover letter for every single available job I saw. Obviously it wasn’t easy- it took me four solid months of searching like that to find a new opportunity, but you know what? I’m a hell of a lot happier here than I ever was at my last job. So stop making excuses- either make a commitment to find a new job by X date and GO GET IT, or admit to yourself that you enjoy your job (or the money it provides) and settle in. If you don’t get an interview within a month, you know what you do? You keep applying for jobs. And applying, and applying, and applying, and murdering a homeless man to relieve some stress, and applying, and applying, and firebombing a church, and applying, lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseam until you have a new job. Trust me, you’ll be a hell of a lot happier once you get out. And when you do, I’m telling you, the future is beautiful.
Yes, I stole that last part from “Swingers.” No, I don’t regret it. Sorry to get all Tony Robbins on you- here’s some music to make up for it.