There’s a well-known Einstein quote that has been bouncing around Pinterest and Instagram recently. You’ve probably seen it:
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Now, let’s relate this to your current job search.
You are looking for the same types of jobs and applying for the same types of roles, again and again, expecting them to be the answer to your general unhappiness and quest for life-purpose. But they’re not, and so you are slowly going insane with the effort of it all…
Here’s another similar quote, that has been attributed to the likes of Henry Ford, Tony Robbins and, erm, Aerosmith,
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
No matter who actually said it, they’ve got a good point. You are not going to change your reality if you keep doing the same thing.
I know it’s frustrating.
I know that it’s a total pain in the arse to start again. And I know that it is scary when you move away from your trusty well-trodden path. But it is also insanity to think that you are going to solve your career-related problems and soothe your heartache if you just keep side-stepping and repeating the same job.
The reality is, you will be walking into the same problems, just in a different office.
And so the cycle will continue, until you’re grey and old and dribbling onto your ergonomic mouse mat, wondering where it all went wrong.
Let’s assume right now you are stuck in your job and looking to move. Let’s imagine you move to a different (yet same) job. You may have the initial challenges of a new work environment to keep you occupied for the first 6-12 month.
But after that?
You’ll likely find yourself face-to-face with the same realisation of ‘what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life?!’ whilst discussing spreadsheets over your 11am doughnut. And you should NEVER ruin a doughnut.
‘But I get great work perks!’
I get it. It’s lovely and enticing to be given an iPhone/car/coupon for Aldi, but really, are you willing to wager your future well-being on it? These are some of the fastest depreciating products on the market!
Please, for the love of Aldi, don’t try to convince me that it’s worth sacrificing your long-term health and happiness for something that you’ll probably have to sell to your local wheeler-dealer in a couple of years time.
These are avoidance tactics.
There are always going to be reasons to stay where you are.
Sometimes it’s the people. If you’re lucky enough to find great workmates it can be really hard to let that go. But the things/people that matter will find a way of being in your life. They are not reasons to keep your life on hold.
I was once a knitwear designer. I had a general sense that I wanted to do something to help the planet rather than add more knitted swatches to it. So I tried to figure out what that was by sitting down and thinking ‘hmm, what should I do?’.
As you can imagine, that wasn’t a particularly successful strategy. My brain could only figure out a handful of possible outcomes for this. In reality, there is an abundance of possibilities – but I had no idea how to tap into them, or even that I could!
Our conscious mind has all sorts of limitations.
Generally, they’re stories that we have no idea are there and keep us small. Or we use our in-built survival tactics to talk ourselves out of things because they’re scary.
I thought, hey I know how I can do something more worthwhile and not have to re-train/start-from-scratch/freak-out. I’ll get the same job but with a company that is eco-friendly. Yeah! That’s going to change EVERYTHING!
Aside from the fact that the job didn’t materialise (likely because it wasn’t actually the right job for me), I was ignoring the fact that every single other part of the job would essentially be the same. It’s like changing the cover on a romance novel and expecting to read a thriller. The contents are going to remain the same.
So, what can you do from here?
Do not think about what logically makes sense at this stage. Remember, we can only fathom a handful of outcomes. Right now, you are in a position to start to explore what you ACTUALLY want to do.
And if you don’t know what that is, ask for help!
Ask friends and family what they perceive are your strengths. Chat to people who are in industries you’re curious about. Take a look at what you do in your spare time. Investigate into what your values are. Forget about what you’re trained in and what you think is possible to you right now. You’re allowed to dream! So, dream!
When you start asking new questions, you’ll get new answers.
And when you take new actions…you get a new career.
Hello! I’m Gemma!
I’m a Holistic Career Coach and I’m here to help you get unstuck, find clarity in your working life and take brave, actionable steps towards fulfilment and purpose.
Find out more