Stop wishing. Start doing.
I wonder, what will your obituary say? How have you impacted those around you? Did you treat your colleagues well? Did you spend enough time with your family? Were you kind to yourself? How will you be remembered? How do you want to be remembered?
A couple of years ago, I read an article that changed my life. The writer broke down, based on age and location, how many times a person would do things she both loved and hated before she died: visiting parents, reading books, hours of work, hours of sleep, time spent exercising, the list went on. After filling out my personal information and describing my general lifestyle, I was shocked—and mortified—by the results. The days, hours, and minutes I had left in my life, in the form of an infographic, stared me in the face. From that moment on, I could not escape the fact that I needed to reevaluate how I spent my time.
Let me ask you this: why do we stay in jobs we cannot stand, work with toxic, bullying colleagues, and live and die by our boss’ emails? I certainly do not like self-torture, and I would safely assume that the majority of you do not either. So why do we do it? Is it for the money? Is it because we are comfortable? Is it because we are scared of the unknown? Everyone has their reasons, I understand that. However, what I want you to understand (and what I try to remind myself of often), is that you only have one life to live. #YOLO clichés aside, the clock does not stop ticking, and you are the only person in control of how you spend your time—and what you are willing to put up with.
There are more than enough articles on the internet that outline “Warning Signs that Tell You It’s Time to Leave Your Job,” and most points I agree with:
- You are bored all the time
- Your skills are not being tapped
- You have a boss from hell
- Your growth is stunted
- You are burnt out
However, there is really only one question that I think matters: What does your gut tell you?
If you were fired today, would you feel relief or anger or sadness or glee? If you took the reins and quit your job, would you feel empowered or defeated? Your friends and family will always present you with their opinions, but only you know what step you are meant to take.
Regardless of whether you are ready to say goodbye to your current job, you have an opportunity to shift the dynamic in your office. Like you, everyone has a story and challenges that they face outside of work. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This statement is not just about the possibility of leaving someone damaged, it also reminds us that we have the power to positively influence another’s life.
It is important to look out for those around you, but it is critical that you remember to look out for your own well-being. You deserve to feel respected. You owe it to yourself to feel good about the value you bring to the table. You have to be your own champion, because you are the only person who will consistently put you first.
This is your life. Stop wishing. Take control.
When the time comes, makes sure your obituary is a best seller, authored by you.
–Courtney Stanley is a marketing and business development strategist. Recognized as one of the meeting industry’s top young leaders, she has just completed a term on Meeting Professionals International’s International Board of Directors. @LadyPhenomena