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Relationships With Work Take Work, By: Zoe Mills

Feb 14, 2023 02:52 PM
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Relationships require constant work. No surprise, our relationships with work do too.

A certain amount of synchronicity leads to anyone landing a job offer - the career version of  a "meet cute".  A specific sequence of events and decisions fall, like dominos, leading us forward.

Any relationship has three phases. Some call the first ‘honeymoon/falling in love’, the middle ‘being in love’, and the final stage, ‘unconditional love’. Without the first you can’t sustain the last.

Like life, we’re all just playing the odds, and no one gets out of this thing entirely unscathed – hence the undying question “All is fair in love and war?”.

To be blunt, what we do for a living, where we do it, who we do it with, well, it’s not always a cakewalk – like any relationship.

Recognizing Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together a “quick and dirty” list of questions to ask yourself in determining if your current role is ‘the one’ or it’s time to move on. 

Our Top Three Questions to Ask Before Breaking Up with Your Boss 

One: Do you have room to grow? 

This is arguably the most important question in our Top Three. By answering it honestly you don’t only discover if you will continue to be challenged and fulfilled at a company but the possibility that you have outgrown what you do and where you are.

If we’re working for a dynamic organization committed to employee retention and engagement, one interested in making (at minimum) 21% profits more than their peers who don’t have engaged employees, you are far less likely to outgrow where you are and what you do. You will continue to be engaged. 
A recent Corporate Leadership Council study found that 87% of people are less likely to quit when they feel engaged. If you’re scratching your head wondering why a poll of 50,000 individuals needed to be done to uncover this obvious reality no one blames you, but this kind of data is still critical to keeping employers investing dollars in upskilling, training, and more to grow with their teams.

In short, we can’t just get married and stop trying. We know this doesn’t work, 50% of marriages end up in divorce, with good reason – it's easy to get comfortable. However, if we stay within our comfort zones we don’t grow and we get bored.  

Two: Are you really tired or just burnt out? 

Like relationships O.O.O, often what we seek outside ourselves is just what we’re lacking. This is just a given, so applying this to your job...can you honestly say that you are sick of what you do, where you work (the people you work with?) or are you just exhausted and not thinking clearly?

If you’re not giving yourself what you need to feel fulfilled as a human being and then wondering why you’re “over” your work life you’re in an especially common place. You’re also mirroring what most people do in relationships. And, although walking away feels temporarily easy what’s easiest long-term is taking time to actually work through why you’re feeling what you are to adapt unhelpful patterns.

Sometimes this process of change takes difficult or initially awkward conversations but without transparency and vulnerability in the workplace there really is no progress overall.

Feeling burnout is common, so you’re not alone if you are in this boat. More than one third of the population is currently self-identifying as burnt-out. It’s no fun, but like a healthy relationship, not every moment is and if your boss can be made to witness how you’re actually feeling and what you’re processing then there are ways to give you what you need to bounce back

“For no one can fill 
Those of your needs that you won't let show”  

Bill Withers 

On the other hand, perhaps you’re feeling swell! Heck, maybe you’ve got pep in your step, a big Starbucks in your hand, sunshine on your face, and are humming a jovial tune every morning! Then, without fail, you open your laptop or office door and feel your insides recoil. That, frankly, means it’s time to move on. Any relationship dynamic that makes you feel this way is better prefaced with an EX.

Three: Do you think it’s worth saving? 

We saved this “real doozy” of a question for last and only you can answer it. If you feel there is enough ‘still there’ to have the meetings, open conversations, and open-minded approach that can get you to greener pastures without leaving then by all means DO. Loyalty is something that goes a long way – both ways. If you can really commit to people, that says something about you and your dynamics with other people in your career speak volumes. The question is: Are they really committed to you? If the answer is yes, you’ve still got something to work with here.

This could even mean changing your role but not the organization. After all, from an employer’s perspective, what better hire than one who is internal and already conscious of organizational culture, departmental and client needs, and the overall aims of your business? What better team member than one you can implicitly trust? 
In the end, not all relationships with work, as in life, are supposed to last forever. Everyone and everything in our lives is a teacher - if we listen carefully. Whatever you decide, make sure you’ve done all the work, asked all the questions, and fully shown up before determining “It’s not you (insert me), it’s me (insert you). Because the truth is, relationships with work.... take work. Any relationship does (including the one with yourself).