One day I woke up and realized that there is nothing left in the organization that I wanted. I was a c-level executive in a $2+ billion business. There was no promotion. There was no title. There was no project. There was no purpose.I felt like work became a giant vacuum cleaner that kept sucking up my energy. My reward for doing good work was more work.
I kept telling myself stories about why I need to stay and I was brought up to keep going. “You never quit.” And there was also something that kept me there (partly the misperception of security and since I now live in the US, healthcare was a huge barrier to leaving). It was that I loved my team and the amazing people I worked with. Advocating for women, the younger employees and doing excellent work kept me going. I had a lot of responsibility and yet in all that, I lost a piece of myself.
It took an awful flight to let me know that I was simply done. I was being approached with opportunities to work in new areas. I wanted to have meaning, purpose and the ability to do work that matters. And so I jumped on the first opportunity and in retrospect I call joining the start-up my “rebound relationship” after divorcing my job. We broke up a few months later. We are all better for it. It was not a good fit. But I would never have known that had I not tried.
And here is what I am trying to share: don’t get stuck with misconceptions and what is expected of you. The road to success is always under construction. Try. Try again. And never, ever give up. Some times something not working out is a gift although it takes time to see it that way.
What are you trying? What’s right in front of you that you are not seeing? Who can help you see?