‘Stopping in good time is a science that we do not look upon with the respect it deserves.’
Théophile Gautier – Mademoiselle de Maupin
Success is not always where you are expecting it. We perceive success as the result of surpassing ourselves; but to surpass yourself it is necessary first to know your limits. Like when you are playing a sport; when you stretch it is utterly counter-productive to overdo it – instead of succeeding you will injure yourself and will not be able do the very thing you enjoy so much.
And so it is for everything.
You have been with the same company for several years and you have acquired certain responsibilities, but now have no real prospects for promotion. You have to drag yourself out of bed on Monday morning because you know you are going to work a sixty hour week and your duties are no longer stimulating. You don’t see your family, you are exhausted – emotionally and physically – and you are unhappy. Everyone advises you to leave, but you have responsibilities and the job market is far from certain, so nobody really believes this is the right thing to do – the sensible solution is to stay put.
However, there are alternatives. Rather than continuing to the point of burnout and losing everything, learn to identify the warning signs of executive ennui. You are not at the end of your career; rather, you have come to know yourself well after all these years. Now is the time for preparation not reparation. Well, preparation comes from keeping an ear to the market.
It is in your interest to share your expectations with your friends, without being disloyal to your current employer, of course. Many vacancies are filled through networking and cooptation. But you will not be able to show yourself at your best if you are weary. So do whatever is necessary for your friends and acquaintances to know what you are good at – so that they will think of you if their company is looking for new people. Receiving job offers, even if you don’t accept them, boosts self-confidence and will allow you to renegotiate certain terms of your current contract.
In addition to your friends, you can also make contact with recruiters. If you are in a job and don’t plan on leaving straight away, tell them so. They will understand that you are not actively seeking a new position and will only contact you if they have an extremely interesting vacancy.
And remember – having choices is the greatest luxury there is!