Dreaming of something different
Dear Cabin Diaries,
I'm stuck in a funk. I've been working in my career field for going on 6 years now, and my current job in this field offers me amazing benefits that I couldn't get anywhere else. The problem? It's a very negative and stressful environment, both from the people and from the nature of the job. I've considered leaving this career field for a while now, but I've stuck around my job because the benefits give me time to spend with my family that most corporate jobs don't, and the pay is fairly competitive too, so I can set aside for the future (both financially and mentally). I know that this isn't my "forever job", but the more time goes on the more it seems like my "almost forever job". What can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
Dreaming of Something Different
Dear Dreaming of Something Different,
Thank you for writing in. I applaud you on voicing your truth, and a fear that many people will face at some point in their life: this isn't what I want, but it's what I have. It can be utterly terrifying to really look at that sometimes, a certain dissatisfaction with where we've ended up.
What stands out most to me in this letter is that you say it is a very negative and stressful environment. To balance out the negativity, however, you have great benefits and a decent salary, meaning that you can be safe and also have "savings" for an unseen future. You also get time with your family, which is, of course, priceless. But is the balance feeling balanced?
You also ask, what can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
This is where things get tough, Dreaming of Something Different. Is it only temporary? How long did you anticipate being in a temporary job before you got your "forever" job? Do you want a forever job? Is the line of work in line with your heart and with your happiness? Do the benefits give you enough time with your family, or are you still missing them and lacking a sense of peace at home?
Although in life it sometimes seems like we don't have many choices, we often have more choices than we perceive. It sounds to me like you could benefit from some exercises with a pen and some paper. I recommend creating some quiet time for yourself and writing down a few things so that you can sort out your thoughts. This will take longer than a day. If you can, buy a special journal just for writing about this—about your job, your future, your happiness. When you look at that future of yours, what do you see? What are you saving that money for? Security? A house? A trip? Etc. Write it down.
More important than writing down your future vision is writing down a few things about the present moment and where you are at in your life right now. How do you want to feel in your life? Each day, I mean. What is the primary feeling you want to embody and emit to the world? How does your work contribute to your current state of being?
When it all comes down to it, all you have is the present moment. If you are unhappy in a not-forever-but-maybe-forever job and you think that the future holds something better, it's time to shake things up a bit and look at the cold hard facts: the future is actually now. Any changes to your future start today. The future doesn't happen without you taking firm hold of the present. No one says this better than Queen Oprah herself (the important part of the video starts around 40 seconds). Bottom line is, you are responsible for your own life.
In order to shake your feeling of stagnation, my dear, I think it's time to start making some changes. Start working toward that shimmering future that you hold so dear. You can start small, very small. But each day, do something to start changing your life. Spice up that rèsumè, have a friend proof read it, send it to a few places. Start journaling daily. Set some goals, really clear ones, about what you want, why you're saving, and where you want to be in 6 more years. Time happens, no matter what you decide to do, so you might as well get in the flow along with it. All of these small practices will start getting your energy moving, and then who knows what will unfold after that.
Last thing: be good to yourself. Allow yourself to feel good. You deserve it. Treat yourself kindly, and ask that others do the same. The more that you can begin to have boundaries around negativity, the more clear your own path to positivity will become.