A recent conversation brought back a memory I’d not thought about in a long time. When my son was little, I was in a job that no longer brought me joy or fulfillment – and it certainly wasn’t calling on my strengths and talents. That said, I told myself that there was nothing I could do about it. Tony and I had agreed that he would focus on raising Anthony and I would work. This job paid well and took care of our benefits. I told myself I was trapped.
Here’s the thing, though, when that company laid me off, suddenly I realized that the trap had been one of my own making. I could have left at any time. Tony and I would have figured out how to make it work – as we did when I got laid off. But, I had not allowed myself to see that as an option. All I saw was that I had made a promise and this job was my way of fulfilling it.
The problem was, the stress of being in a role that didn’t suit me wasn’t doing anyone any favors. I was good at my job, not great. It took more of my energy to do the job than it should have, which meant I had less energy for my family. And, my unhappiness at work found its way into my home life.
While Tony and I were initially worried about what this would mean for our family, we quickly pivoted to ideation mode. What did we actually need to sustain our family? What were all of the ways we could make that happen? And with those two questions, the cage instantly melted away. The more I thought about the options, the more my energy and excitement came back.
The person I shared this story with, found themselves in a similar situation. They were the primary breadwinner. They had a very lucrative job and they, and their family, had become accustomed to all that afforded them. They. Felt. Trapped. As I shared my story, I could see the wheels turning for this person, and with it, the realization that the cage they found themselves trapped in was one of their own making. With this realization came the understanding that they could choose to begin disassembling it. This thought allowed them to see a myriad of options where none had existed moments before.