Do I Hear Flushing?

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It’s easier to get a job if you have job.  At least that’s what I’ve always been told.  To be honest, it has never really seemed that easy to get a job if I’m currently employed.  Mainly because I’m too busy working to put much time and energy into looking for another gig.  Not to mention the difficulty trying to have confidential calls with recruiters or potential employers, especially while working in cubicle-land.  With conference rooms booked and stairwells that echo, that leaves the bathroom or possibly the car.  Flushing is not a sound anyone wants to hear over the phone, much less a potential employer. And sitting in a stuffy car is hardly conducive to intelligent phone conversation. Yep, looking for a new job while I’m working has always added even more stress to my life.

The simple solution would be to prepare financially, then to leave the current job in order to focus my energy on finding a new one.  On paper, this looks great. Yet somehow I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve come to realize that I have a hard time letting go of things.  No, I’m not a hoarder; I can purge my closet of clothes and I don’t purchase toilet paper by the truckload.  It’s just that I have an innate sense of wanting to finish whatever I start.  And the word “quit” is not in my vocabulary.  Nope; mom and dad did not raise a quitter. 

Most of the time, this is actually a good trait.  I had a boss once who told me I was like a bulldog.  It was a compliment, although it took some explanation. He said he knew that he could give me any project and, just like a bulldog holding onto his favorite squeaky toy for dear life, I would never let the project defeat me.  He could count on me to be successful.

Unfortunately, my bulldog instinct can sometimes get in the way.  Like when I realize that a job is no longer right for me.  It’s quite a predicament.

Sometimes it’s not easy for me to recognize that I’ve outgrown my job.  The feelings of uneasiness may be confused with the occasional frustration we all experience from time to time at our jobs.  It takes time to truly identify the signs.  For me, it’s the lingering day-in, day-out frustration that is so frequent it feels like a huge boulder is on my chest and I’m about to buckle from the sheer weight.  It’s not about being incapable of doing my job; it’s about no longer getting satisfaction from it. It’s the time when the bad feelings begin to outweigh the good. A no-win situation, at least for me.

I remember being in this position some years ago.  It felt like I was trapped, unable to escape.  Hubby will tell you I’m a commitment-phobe on many levels, which is partially true. I have a hard time committing to a pair of new shoes, much less a new job. And don’t get me started on my commitment fears when it came time to get married; Hubby still wonders if I’m in this for the long-haul.

In the case of this particular job, I felt trapped, like a wild animal who just wanted to run as fast as I could away from whatever was trying to hold me down.  But the bulldog in me would not let go, especially without another job to go to.

Which leads to my question: Is it ever OK to walk away from a job without another one waiting in the wings?  Seems like it should be, yet for me this is almost impossible and unthinkable.  I get worried about things that are rational and even some things that are not: Will we have enough money? How will I explain this during an interview? What if the new job is a mistake? Will I ever work again?  But my biggest concern is my reputation – even though logic tells me that 99% of my friends will not care. I simply don’t want to be known as a quitter.   

All this to say that my bulldog tendencies + my aversion to commitment + illogical thinking under stress = more stress when looking for a new job.  It sure makes for tough interviewing.

As I continue to be open to new opportunities, I’m hoping the commitment-phobe in me stays locked away.  I don’t want to miss anything good simply because I’m afraid to make a mistake.  In the meantime, if you hear a muffled conversation in the bathroom, it’s just me trying to interview. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t flush.

job hunting while you have a job

Credit Image: toilet seat nice via Shutterstock

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