I was in a conversation over the phone with a friend who spoke to me about his stress related health issues. And I happened to share with him about my work woes too. Being in the same profession, we could relate very easily to each other’s problems and suggest the best possible solutions. The easiest and most practical one being to quit and restart by moving on to a different place or start over with something entirely different. However, we both realized that that was the hardest decision to make.

Deeper into the conversation, we both tried to analyse what keeps us from taking this step when we know that we’re not happy at work or we don’t see any further potential for growth. We do know that eventually we’ll have to move on but then why not sooner than later? The answer was that somewhere we had become complacent. We had gotten used to functioning in a certain way and for things to be in a certain manner. There was a rhythm to it. We had got too comfortable with our co-workers and although everything wasn’t necessarily working well for us, we were hopeful about things changing or improving on their own. Clearly, we were stuck in inertia.

Making decisions like quitting undoubtedly have several implications that need to be thought through, but whatever the reasons may be, I realized that there are two very critical questions that we should ask ourselves to help us make this decision better.

  1. Is it contributing to my growth professionally or helping me achieve my goals?
  2. Is it affecting my health or my personal life?                                                     

The answers to both these questions would be the key drivers to deciding the next steps. My upbringing lends itself to trying harder, not giving up and single-mindedly focusing on achieving the set goals. However, the sooner the realisation sets in that the answers to both these questions are not in your favour, it’s time to rethink a new gameplan. 

Time is of essence. The more time we spend being unhappy at our workplace, the longer it takes us to get to doing something else we’re actually good at or enjoy doing more. I happened to accept a role once which was completely new to me. Considering it as a challenge and an opportunity to learn something different, I was was excited to embark on this new journey. I realized in a short span of three months that it was a misfit. Having thought of three months as too short a duration to understand the intricacies of this new territory, I decided to give it a fair shot and dragged it on for over a year – all throughout being unhappy, realizing that this wasn’t aligned with my career aspirations and barely getting any sense of satisfaction out of it.

The longer I stayed, the more it bothered me that I was keeping myself away from doing what I was actually passionate about. But the fact that I had become familiar with the work and in turn better at it (although I still didn’t enjoy it), the thought of leaving a very supportive team and a great set up were all the reasons that deterred me from parting with it, until one day it dawned upon me that if I remained complacent and didn’t break away from it, it could lead to more frustration, affect my productivity and eventually have a negative impact on my growth. That thought was threatening enough to make a timely exit. And the decision enabled more clarity in thought than it had ever before. 

Complacency could not only delay your decision to move but also hold you back from pushing yourself harder and achieving your true potential. Whether it means setting new goals for yourself or moving on to something new, it’s important to pull yourself out of that inertia before it’s too late. Stay alert!