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Is the grass really greener on the other side?

a field of wild grass with a fence post
Photo by anne-marie robert on Unsplash

"Is the grass really going to be greener on the other side?"

At some point during our discussion about a career transition, our clients inevitably pose some form of this question.

This often happens when we hit what I call the “messy middle” of the process. When it comes to making a career transition, the beginning of the process is well laid-out, clear, and consistent for most clients. To get started, we unpack the way they’re feeling about their current work situation. What’s not working? What’s missing? There are a bunch of self-assessments and reflection exercises that we will assign to help the clients articulate the specific reasons why their current job/work environment/leader does not meet their needs. There’s a predictable structure and rhythm to this process. The client usually feels energized and motivated by this process as they start to imagine what it would be like to have their needs and preferences met at work.

But then we hit the messy middle. This part rarely looks the same for everyone, other than the fact that it’s often squiggly, messy and potentially confusing. This is where the client takes all the information that we’ve uncovered in the beginning of the process to start identifying and exploring different options. This is where they take their ideas and try to figure out a way to make it happen in the real world. It’s where the rubber hits the road. Inevitably, they will encounter roadblocks and challenges, some are internal and many are external and completely beyond their control. This part of the process is filled with uncertainty and fear. And this is where some people start to wonder, “is the grass really going to be greener on the other side?”

“It’s not really that bad where I am now. I have a good job with decent pay and benefits. I can’t say that I love all parts of my job right now but I also don’t hate it. I don’t like my boss but my team is really awesome. Am I even realistic in what I’m looking for? What is really reasonable to expect from a job anyway? Isn’t it called work for a reason? It’s not supposed to be all rosy and sunshine all the time, right?”

While we can’t tell you whether the grass will be definitively greener on the other side or not, we can tell you this: you deserve work that lights you up; you deserve a leader that inspires you, appreciates you, and invests in you; you deserve a workplace that accepts and celebrates you as you are. It is reasonable to expect that. It is possible to get that. Trust us, we’ve witnessed it happen time and time again.

So, if you find yourself in the messy middle of your career transition right now, keep showing up, keep doing the work. Everything you’re doing right now is helping you build the experience, the credibility, and the network so that when the right role with the right organization and the right leader shows up, you’ll be perfectly positioned to seize it. Now go get e’m!


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