Romancing a Dream
When I was 18, I met a boy in Paris. One summer, I was invited to stay with the family at their holiday home in Normandy. There I learned a lesson I would always remember.
As I understood it (as all our exchanges were in French), his father was someone important. Monsieur E. worked as part of the entourage that protected the interests of the French President at the time.
He was evidently successful both in terms of career and at home. And so I asked him for a life lesson. It’s amazing what insights people will share if you ask politely and listen carefully.
“If you’re unhappy, don’t cheat on your wife or leave your family. Change your job. It has an overwhelming bearing on things.”
Ever since then it’s one of the first thoughts that springs to mind whenever I’m unhappy with my job.
Monsieur E.’s advice has served me well over the years and I’ve found jobs I enjoy doing a little bit more with each move.
Of course it makes sense to change jobs every so often. Circumstances change, ambitions grow, people morph.
And yet, when I look back at the well-trodden path of my professional life, I now see something else. A recurring yet subtle pattern that sticks out like a sore thumb when emotions fade and memories crystallise.
It’s easy to condemn a job for things like office politics, insane bureaucracy and a toxic culture. It’s even easier to leave.
Sticking around when the going gets tough is hard. Running away is almost always the easier option.
What can you do to change the system around you to help create the place where you long to belong? It won’t be easy, but you could make it worth your while.