Lessons From A Crossroad
A few months ago, when I wasn’t very happy at my job (or generally, for that matter), what seemed like a golden opportunity landed in my lap, in the form of a LinkedIn direct message by a recruiter at a dream company.
Beyond the fact that this was probably too good to be true, I pursued the opportunity to see if it was worth my investment. I had several rounds of interviews — which seemed almost too easy, a concern of mine considering the esteem of the company.
Before I could blink, I sat with a job offer staring at me. At first I knew I was going to say no because the salary wasn’t what I required, so I challenged the offer. And to my surprise, it was accepted. However, there were things about the offer that sent off little, tiny red flags in my head. Thanks to some supportive family members, I didn’t overlook those flags. I recognized them, but at the same time realized that this job provided me some opportunities I’d been itching for: a bigger salary, a job in a city I loved more than DC, and the chance to start over.
But this happened so fast. I’d not even been at my job for a year and here I was contemplating a move across the country. Kicker here: I had only a few days to decide, and a caveat of the higher salary was that I’d have to start in six weeks.
I remember the day I got the notice from the recruiter regarding the higher salary and impending start date, freaking the fuck out. I was sitting at work and spent the day in a fog, avoiding work to call family members for their opinions and ask myself 271 questions to try and figure out what to do.
As aforementioned, at the same time, issues from other areas of my life were bubbling over. And partly because of these issues, I saw this opportunity as an escape. I thought that I could run away from my problems and ‘fix’ them by starting over: new city, new job, new me - right?
One thing I’ve learned from adulthood thus far is that although I often wish things were black and white, that is rarely ever the case anymore. And further, no one is going to tell me what to do or know what the best decision is. That’s definitely been challenging at times — such as at that point, where I was pacing a conference room wondering how the hell I could manage a cross-country move in six weeks, thinking through how to sublet my apartment, how much of my savings I’d need to dip into, etc.
Thanks to my intuition, my supportive family, and the select number of friends I had kept in the loop during this time, I ultimately declined the position. I went back to the tiny red flags in my head and spent some time evaluating those. I then thought on if it was really my job that was causing me this unhappiness and fire to up and run, or if it was the result of multiple areas of my life. And then, I thought: how silly it would be to run away from my problems, when it’s likely they’ll simply follow me on the hundreds of miles across the US.
But I still felt stuck where I was. So I made a deal with myself: if I still felt this way come October (when my lease is up), I’d be okay with finding a new job and/or moving.
With that agreement to myself, I moved on to resolving the other areas of my life causing me unhappiness. I had tough conversations, reset my priorities, and took a pulse check on my life. I stopped scanning LinkedIn for job openings and researching cities that I wanted to potentially move to. I focused on cultivating what I had going for me: wonderful friends, a supportive family, a cool & bustling city to call home, and an optimistic mindset.
Then, a few other areas of my life re-arranged themselves to ultimately come together in a new and better way. I watched things crumble before they could be put back together, but it ended for the best. The past few months have allowed me to be incredibly self-reflective and self-focused in order to keep improving on who I am.
Fast forward, and here we are today with summer quickly approaching. The job situation has improved (due to some things I’m not quite yet ready to disclose; I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitous), my friendships have grown in new ways, I’ve worked on some of my own self-limits, I’m learning to love DC, I’m putting myself back out there, and I’m traveling.
So what did I learn in all of this?
Black and white situations aren’t realistic. It’s 500 shades of gray and ultimately it comes back to knowing yourself in decision making.
The status quo won’t help you improve. If I didn’t dislike where I was at work I wouldn’t have pursued new opportunities. Accepting mediocrity and status quo leads you where you are - but if you are unhappy enough with something to take action, the result will likely be more than mediocre.
Bandaids don’t fix flesh wounds. Trying to find a quick fix to something usually means there is an underlying issue that needs to be solves. Slapping a bandaid on it will hide the wound but it sure as hell won’t fix it.
Your support network is significant. Surrounding yourself with people you can trust and confide in makes life easier, no matter how shitty the situation.
Mindset over matter. Believing that it will be okay and things will work out is half the battle. Focus on showing gratitude and positivity and you can likely find a silver lining.