This is a conversation that happens way too often. I don’t remember these types of conversations in my earlier years, but it’s something that I hear again and again now: “When can I Get Out?”
I had a conversation with a client recently about when they could leave their job. We are hearing this more and more at the office. If I think about the people that we’ve spoken to in the past year who are still working, I would say there were perhaps five who seemed to truly and honestly love their jobs. The rest are unhappy with their administration, their boss, or their companies. I’m hearing more and more complaints.
I continued to talk with my client about the unhappiness they felt with their job. I asked them: When did they decide that this was the job, the field/career that they wanted? They said they can remember exactly when it happened. They were 17 years of age and had no idea what to do. They were in high school and were sitting down with a career counselor trying to figure out what they were going to do with the rest of their life. The career counselor made a proposal. It was a job they had never considered before, but they made the decision, went to college, and have been in that job their whole life. They are now in their mid-50s.
I’ve heard similar stories from teachers, dentists, lawyers, and doctors. Some 17-year-old kid dictated what they would do for the rest of their lives. How can we help in a situation like this? Well, sometimes it’s very difficult because of the way their money has been set aside for retirement. If you are a municipal employee, teacher, or part of a pension program, you are required to put in the years to get that pension. They are trapped and they know they are trapped. They have to put in the years to get their full benefits, which could take 25-30 years or more. If they have a 401K, that’s a different problem because it was their responsibility for the last couple of decades to save enough money, which most people don’t. As their pay increased, they automatically increased their lifestyle instead of staying conservative and saving the difference. This is normal. As incomes go up, expenses go up because there’s just more stuff available to buy.
There are a few who have been able to make it though, and we have assisted those people to Get Out once they reached a certain age where they were just done. We had worked together for many years and put together the resources needed so that they could make that decision in their 50s. They didn’t want to retire because when you’re in your 50s, you’re still typically young and vibrant if you’ve taken care of yourself. They still have energy and want to have a purpose to get up every day. They just don’t want to keep getting up out of bed for what they’re currently doing. Typically, we have been able to take people from higher-paying jobs that they don’t like into something that they can enjoy because they’ve made the right decisions along the way. We just re-organize or re-purpose what they are doing, maybe going from full-time to part-time, and they typically have more choices and control to be able to say “No”.
Are you trapped because of a decision that a 17-year-old made decades ago and that 17-year-old was you? Did you get on the treadmill and just keep going and going until you didn't have the ability to go anymore either in your psyche or your body? There are options available. Instead of trying to make decisions based on what you did when you were 17 years of age, it’s important to get perspective and understand the choices that are still out there for you. People often don’t know what those choices are. Think of it as a late-in-life Career Counseling.
I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t say that I’m going to “work” each day because the word “work” sounds so negative. I love what I do. I get to go into the office. I get to interact with people. I get to make a difference in the lives of others. The perspective that I have gathered over the last 35-plus years could benefit you as you look through what your possibilities are.
What are you waiting for? There is no reason to wait. Especially if you are suffering physically because of the work that you are doing, mentally because of the work that you are doing, or emotionally because of the work that you are doing. If this message speaks to you, speak with us.