I guess this is not really a great revelation, but I had numbed out the fact I don’t really enjoy the environment I work on at the moment. It’s something that it is definitely coming to an end, but over the last couple of months I started to consider that maybe I should keep doing the same kind of “job”: teaching and doing research in institutions that are not really ready yet to make the big leap into the future.
However, last night I had a very insightful chat with someone in Turkey, about the memories that a recent family trip brought up in me. By the end of the conversation I got a different perspective and understanding of what has been actually underlying such memories and feelings: I have been running away from myself and from my feelings, silencing what I really feel, to avoid confronting people about their behaviour and attitudes.
And I have been doing the same about my job: instead of facing the fact that I don’t fit in my working environment, which includes people, practises, and values, I have been trying to convince myself that I should simply settle for what there is, that I should stop envisioning the future and aim for it. But my DNA is of an entrepreneur, how can I make my natural attitude in life dormant? I guess I can’t, and that’s why I woke up today again to the thought that I am not happy doing what I’m doing, where and with whom I’m doing it.
It took me a flight to Lisboa to step aside and see what has been happening over the last months. Now I just have to decide what step will I actually make: will I choose what there is or will I work on what can become?
I have been thinking about this a lot and even though we can read some stuff on turnover intentions and why people decide to leave their jobs, I didn’t find out much advise on the ‘right’ timing to leave the organisation you work for and embrace the culture and mission of a new one.
The reason I have been thinking about this is exactly because I’m going through this decision right now: should I aim to stay in the same organisation or is it time for me to leave? On my desk lies a job application for the same organisation I’m working in at the moment, and three others for new places and new (exciting) roles.
Nothing extreme happened to make me want to do a move but the truth is that sometimes nothing needs to happen in the concrete to let you know that it is the right time to venture out. Here are some psychological reasons that have been pushing me towards the decision of making a new step in my career, outside my current organisation:
- I’m not learning anything new anymore
- People I work with are not the kind of people that inspire me to do more and better
- My proposals to create and work on the relationship with external partners are often dismissed
What makes you look for a new workplace? When do you know that the right time to change has come? Do you prioritise your learning and career development needs?
There are essentially three big myths that can also be pointed out as the three big reasons why so many work-life balance attempts and interventions fail. I remember the first time I came across this topic: it was in a work psychology lecture, while I was doing my masters. I was glad to see that such concept was actually something that we were already taking care of in the workplace but I also had the feeling that there was still much to do, because even though we all dream about managing work and life successfully the truth is that the majority of us struggle to make it happen.
I was one of those people for almost my entire life. Curiously enough I think I reached a point in which I either had to change my lifestyle or I simply could not keep teaching my students about stress and work-life balance, because I felt like such an impostor and a failure myself. Moreover, I actually started thinking that it was impossible to have work-life balance, and in fact that is partially true. Work-life balance makes us think that there must be an optimal point between work and life, a point which must be universal and the same for everyone. That’s exactly when our management efforts start to make us feel worse instead of inspiring us to integrate two of the most important dimensions of our human existence.
Let me explain it in more detail: thinking there is an “ideal” that we must achieve sets us immediately for failure. There is no ideal balance between work and life, because each one of us are different and each one of us has different aspirations. We can’t simply apply a mathematical equation to calculate how much work-life balance we have or how much we are missing, especially when our own aspirations change through time and the context we are in at the moment. To make it clearer, let me give you what seems to be the three big myths behind work-life balance:
Continue reading “3 Myths Behind Work-Life Balance”