Imagine yourself in a more perfect job.
Everyday you work on problems that need your specific experience or skills. You are successful in your work, completing your projects and meeting your objectives. Your contribution is additive to the organization and its mission. The team that you work with has respect for each other and the work being done.
Working in this type of an enviornment is actually restorative and not consumptive. While you might be tired at the end of the week, you feel like you made a contribution; that your work mattered. That you matter. You are energized to go back next week and do it again.
Contrast this with working in a consumptive position.
Such a position is draining and day by day, week by week, and year by year, you end up bringing less of yourself to work. You might become less engaged, defensive, critical, or even combative. These are all natural reactions by your body and mind trying to protect you. That being said, you are solely responsible for “who” you bring to work each day and “what” you contribute.
Change is difficult and can be scary. It is so easy to rationalize a situation and blame others for anything that is negative...but it won’t help, not in the long term. This approach will only move you further away from being in control, making it harder to create the change that you seek. Think of it as a car with a bench seat. On one side you have the driver’s seat with the steering wheel, pedals, and controls, and on the other side you have the passenger seat with a nice window. Only when you are sitting in the driver’s seat can you change the view.
So when is it time to move on?
It's time to move on from your current role when you feel it becoming consumptive rather than restorative. This can happen for any number of reasons, including a change in the mission, being assigned to a new project, getting a new boss, etc. Hopefully, if you find yourself in a role that was previously restorative and is now consumptive, you can figure out what changed and take action to get things back on track. If this is not an option, then it's time to take action.
Scott Ryser, a local tech leader in Frederick, MD, has a saying that everyone can be an A+ player somewhere. And he is absolutely right. It's your job to find that place.
Put it in drive, hit the gas, and when you find it, I hope you enjoy the view.
Written by: Austin Meyermann, Founder and President of Hunter Crown, LLC
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