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[HOW] How to make the right next move.

It's in the air right now, no matter what industry you're a part of. Restlessness. Frustration. People are over it. Whether they are submitting a polite letter of resignation or dropping the double middle fingers (I salute you!), people are leaving their jobs and not looking back.

....Or will they?

A very important person in my life offered incredible wisdom back in grad school: Do not make any important life choices while depressed. Treat your depression first. Then re-assess. You will probably make different decisions when you're healthy.

So I write this today to heed the warning: It's completely understandable that we are a burnt out, overworked, underpaid society. I totally get it. And you deserve more. But my warning is this:

Are you Running Forward or Being Chased by Wolves?

The intention behind your next move is critical. We're in the middle of a pandemic (remember that COVID thing?). We are 2 years into watching our toddlers put on masks to go out into the world they've never seen, witnessing our our school-age children believe that it's normal to wear masks all day, sit far apart in class, and ride the bus in cold weather with the windows down, and measuring ourselves by (unhealthy) standards of success carried over from the Before Times. It's tempting to blow up your life, sell your house, and move to Vermont to sell maple syrup out of your camper van. If you did and it worked out, please take me with you.

But what if there's a better way?

I am in no way advocating for people to stay in jobs that are demoralizing, abusive, predatory, etc. But for those of you who have something that's OK for now, there's something to be said about that You have the gift of time on your side. I ask you to be mindful about what you want. You deserve more than a knee-jerk escape hatch. Running toward something you do want will yield you better results than running away from something you don't want. You deserve the time, space, and energy to think deeply about what it is that you truly want your life to look like. Let me repeat: this isn't about what your next job will be. We're talking bigger picture. Finding the next thing isn't the only challenge. Identifying what you actually want is the hardest part of all.

Ok. So how do you do that?

To get started, here's a few magic questions that I what I want you to ask yourself:

Note: Ask your actual self. Not the self you want to be or think others want you to be. Or the self you used to be. Or the self you'll be later. Your true self as she exists today. She's in there. If you're quiet enough you'll hear her. Resist the urge to shame her and tell her no, that's foolish, etc. Oh, and when you find her, give her a hug for me, will you?

  • What makes you feel so engaged that you lose track of time?

  • What do you research, read about, or naturally want to know more about?

  • What do other people come to you with for help?

  • What tweak would you need to make in your current role/lifestyle/relationship to make it work better for you?

  • What might be fun to try on the side, or on the weekends?

  • Who would be helpful to get to know?

The exercise of ideating your next move in itself can provide you the hope you need to make it through if you're willing to do the work of truly getting to know yourself. Do not underestimate the power of spending a quiet Sunday morning on the patio with a notebook, a hot cup of coffee, and some peace and quiet.

As always, if you need support in this area, well.... that's why I'm here. You don't have to go it alone!

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