Other Musings

Growth vs. Ease: Making the Choice

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

Abraham Maslow

I had a thought at work last week that stopped me in my tracks: staying at my job would be easy. This was an incredibly unsettling realization for me.

Let me preface this rant by saying my job isn’t bad, at all. I like and know my coworkers well enough, I’ve got my routine down to a T, I know what to expect when I walk into my place of employment every day. It’s a very easy job. Very easy. Which is something I don’t think a lot of speech pathologists, or anyone who exchanges 40+ hours of their week for a paycheck, can say.

My job being easy doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days; I’m always one minor inconvenience away from leaving in the middle of the day and never coming back. But I do, because as annoying as my job can be, it’s easy. No one bothers me (much), it pays enough to cover my bills, I get to enjoy summers and holidays off to do whatever I want. I should be happy, right?

But I crave challenge. I thrive off occasionally having no fucking idea what I’m doing, because the satisfaction that comes with *finally* figuring out that missing piece is incredible. That’s the piece of my job that’s lacking. I’m almost scared of how comfortable I’ve gotten. Comfort itself is a wonderful thing, but when it comes at the expense of my full potential, that’s when we have a problem. That’s when I find myself asking, “Is this really what my life is going to be for the next 3 decades?”

I frequently ask myself what I’m going to do once it’s time to renew my contract. Am I going to stay at my current, easy job that I get little satisfaction from, or am I going to venture out into the terrifying, uncertain job market once again and throw myself into the unknown in hopes of finding something that aligns better with who I am as a person and what I want out of my career?

I think just in typing this post, my choice is clear: I have to move on from this job in order to grow. It’ll absolutely suck having to say goodbye to my current students, revamp my resume, submit job applications, and get prepared for interviews only to be rejected over and over and over again, but I have to have faith that one day, I will find a position that aligns better with my personality, professional, and personal goals than the one I am currently in.

Now, saying I’m going to move on and grow is much easier said than done. Growth is scary! I don’t want to leave my comfort zone, it’s so cozy in here. But I know in my heart of hearts I can’t stay where I am if I’m ever going to be happy with my career. So how am I going to start this journey of growth? I won’t pretend to be an expert in this aspect, but I think I’ve got some ideas of where to start:

  1. Intentionality: Am I just going to say I want to reach my full potential as a professional, or am I going to actually put forth the effort to get there? This is going to take some self-reflection, some soul searching, and some being realistic with myself. I can’t keep sitting on my butt being passive about the path my career is on if I really and truly want better out of my profession. I have to be intentional about making whatever move awaits me. I need to set a clear picture of where I am going and aim for it.

    Intentionality also means not wasting time by entertaining options you know you’re not going to be happy with in the long term. I, for example, am sure that I am not a good fit for school-based positions. So, in my effort to find a better position for me, I am going to tell myself now that I will be intentional about leaving the schools and will not apply to school-based jobs.

    You know what you want, be intentional about getting it. Stop settling. That’s easy, and we’re not doing easy right now.

  2. Goal setting: What do I want? When do I want it? How am I going to achieve it? This might sound super cheesy, but I really do think envisioning where I want to be is the first step in achieving it. “You’ve got to believe it to achieve it.” Isn’t that how the phrase goes?

    I know what I want, now it’s time to sit down and figure out my plan to get it. Setting aside some time on a weekend to write down my goals is going to be a great first step to mapping out my next moves.

  3. ✨Patience✨ This is a big one for me. I want it all, and I want it now. BUT, that is, unfortunately, not how job hunting works for a lot of us. I likely won’t find a perfect more suitable job by next week. I might not even find it by the end of my contract. This time next year I might still be looking for my next position. That might be part of my process and I’ll just have to trust that better is on its way and I have to keep trying to get to it.

  4. Let go of the fear: I’m a big girl. I’m a smart girl. I’m extremely competent. I cannot let the fear of being rejected keep me in a situation I am not happy in. Shit happens, that’s life, but I’ve made it too far now to crumble because someone said no. I won’t listen to that nagging little voice in the back of my head telling me to give up after every road block.

It won’t be easy, it won’t be fast, but I’m going to trust that better is on the way for me. I’m going to trust that I have everything I need to achieve the goals I set for myself. Growth exists outside of your comfort zone, and it’s time to take those first few steps back into the unknown. While I’m scared, I’m excited, and hopeful that I will continue to make decisions that help me fall out of my habit of complacency.

If you’re also on a growth journey, whether it be professional or personal, I hope you find your way. And if you’re like me and scared to take that first step, just know you’ve got some random internet stranger rooting for you. You’re more than capable, don’t doubt yourself. You’ve got this, you’re gonna do it. ✨

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