Stock that vests on a 4 year schedule. Annual bonuses. Free healthcare. Really, really good money.
All of this is fantastic, unless...you don't love your job. In that case, these feel less like benefits and more like you've signed on to an offer you can't refuse, if you know what I mean. And once you start earning those great perks and bonuses, leaving seems impossible. My friend, you are wearing the Golden Handcuffs.
Companies are smart. To hold on to the absolute best workers, they make leaving hard and staying a no-brainer. But what if you're questioning what you're doing there? If your role doesn't feel fulfilling, you're not making an impact, you're a monkey in a monkey suit making money for someone else and wondering WHY? What if you have a secret tiny dream of throwing it all in and opening a bike shop in New Zealand or coaching Little League full time or farming goats? You shove that thought way deep down and laugh at it because how could you give up this money, lifestyle, these perks? How would your partner or your parents ever look at you with a straight face again, walking away from all this?
Your dream is not crazy, and there is a way forward. There is an option that doesn't require living in poverty but still lets you explore what it is that would really light you up and make you excited to pack your metaphorical lunch box and head out the door in the morning.
Step 1: Redefine Success.
If there wasn't a standard script for what success looked like, how would you define it? It probably would include money, but how much? Does your definition of success include your health? The connection you have with your partner or family? Does it include the impact you have in your community or the positive mark you leave on the world? What about your legacy? How about freedom, flexibility, or giving back?
Further, what price are you currently paying for the perks that you earn? Yes you may have more money than you ever imagined, and free health care and a regular cash payment that means your bank account is ever growing (while your cars grow ever sexier). But what are you giving up to have that? Your satisfaction, sleep, health, connection to family, friends, or community? The bucket list thing that you never have time for? Or the perpetual sense that there's more to life while time continues to tick on? Tally the true cost of the benefits your job currently gives you. Is that good enough?
Step 2: Open Your Eyes to Alternatives
When I work with people looking to find more impact and meaning in the work they do, there is often the assumption that doing work you love means earning less for it, or giving up the security of a great corporate job. There are certainly fulfilling options that mean earning less than you do now. But there are also many roles, companies, ventures you could take on, maybe even within your existing company, that will leave you with as much or more, and even add on a sense of fulfillment and purpose that you're missing. It is possible for a move to be a double-win. Start looking for examples of this. Are there people in your community doing work they love and who are well compensated for that? Start to measure their success not by the traditional social definition of success, but by the measures that are truly important to you. How much connection do they feel and have in their lives? Are they financially comfortable? Do they have a legacy, freedom, impact, strong health, or other things that you can only dream of right now? Begin to look for what is possible. Meet some of these people. Talk to them.
Step 3: Get Creative.
Go for a run, put on some music, take up a pen, and craft your way forward. My clients have come up with astonishing ways to combine interests, make ends meet, and do what it is they really want to do without feeling the loss that you are afraid you will feel if you make a change. This change can happen when you begin to take stock of what an ideal day, week, and life looks like to you, and you put aside the assumptions, fears, and self-set limits you're carrying around with you. What might really, actually be possible?
You can get a free guide to Crafting Your Job here:
We all can do impactful work, and be successful while we do it. Do not waste another day doing work that sucks your soul just for the money. You can do better, and I'm here to help.