I worked with a client recently who is in a situation that is familiar in this economy. After being unemployed for 5 months, she took a job that is far from where she would like to be at this point in her career. Though the job is in her career field, she is overqualified. She’s got the drive, motivation, and ideas but says she is stuck in a situation that leaves her feeling bored and without any choices in her life. And of course when you feel bored and powerless, a little bit of anger starts to brew.
For the first part of the session she stewed about all the things that were wrong with this job. As the list continued I could sense her resistance to her situation getting stronger and stronger. After she got it all out, I asked her for her choices. Of course she said she had none. It’s at this point that I ask my clients to dig a little deeper. We acknowledge that there is a part of the situation that is crappy. But unless you choose to leave the job, you need to accept what is. In her case, she had to accept that there were elements of the job that were not pleasant and that she was not in her ideal job.
Once she acknowledged and accepted “what is”, she could now let go of her resistance. Releasing existence doesn’t mean you suddenly fall in love with your job, it means you choose to not let it affect your every thought and action in and outside of work be affected by the unsavory work environment.
Then I asked her what she really wanted to do with her career. Full of passion, she detailed a project that she was really excited about. Suddenly, she realized how she could use her position as a spring board for the project. All of the resources and even the people were in front of her at the job she previously referred to as a waste. Now she realized that she has the choice to better her job by creating opportunities that will help her in the future. The end result: replacing frustration with a sense of joy and purpose.
Here are some tips for shifting from resistance to choice:
- Acknowledge your disappointment and accept the situation
- Limit the time you spend dwelling on the situation. Resistance will drain your energy and keep you stuck
- Focus on the potential opportunities of your situation
- Create an end game and make steps each day that bring you closer
- Incorporate the things that bring you joy into your work. It could be as big as a walk in the park during your break or as small as a flower or favorite picture on your desk
The challenge here is to learn how to co-exist peacefully in a job or situation that is not your ideal. That’s where the most personal and professional growth happens.