At midlife, our relationship with the passing of time tends to move from tick tock, tick tock to whoosh! And that ‘whooshing by’ can create a whole other set of questions for us on the work front, especially as we contemplate its place in the remainder of our life.
On the one hand, we may be more tolerant of other peoples behaviour, have a broader perspective on drama, get irritated rather than angry, be more satisfied with a holistic approach to life than expecting any one component of it to be our reason for existing and generally do a better job of choosing between the battles and wars we want to win than we did 10 or 20 years ago.
On the other hand, we may care less about keeping the peace, be more prepared to speak up more where perceived injustice occurs, insist on having our needs and contribution acknowledged (at least!) and want to ensure that the trade off we make daily, in exchanging our precious life’s energy for our work, is worth it.
It’s this final point that’s been weighing on a Ripenist’s mind and soul, causing her to pose this question: How do I decide between my current job which is sensible but soul-less and a new opportunity for which I’ve previously had a passion but pays a pittance?
Some relevant points are that her skills, knowledge and experience are industry specific (i.e. not readily transferrable) and opportunities in her chosen location are not plentiful. In her current role she:
- has an excellent sick leave policy, which she’s needed in the past;
- has a small employer supported retirement fund;
- has some flexibility in her work hours;
- is knowingly valued and appreciated by her employer;
- doesn’t have to work on Public holidays;
- can take extended annual leave with enough notice;
However, her role’s become increasingly unsatisfying the higher up the ladder she’s gone and she wonders – if she stays, is she selling her soul for the security?
The role she thinks will re-ignite her passion provides:
- a good use of her skills and experience;
- no paid sick leave;
- no employer superannuation contribution;
- defined hours and days of work;
- a sense of making a difference;
- a Public holiday work requirement with no penal rates paid;
- legally required annual leave only;
However, she believes this role will be more satisfying and better aligned with her Values so she wonders – if she goes, will fulfilling her passion be enough to offset the loss of security?
The fundamental issues are typically midlife ones. They include (i) I don’t have many years left to work to get myself into a comfortable position, financially, before retirement; (ii) Healthcare is more front of mind, as I ripen; (iii) My life outside of work is full, so right now, do I want to focus more on work or play; (iv) Do I have one last career move in me – mentally and energy-wise.
At this stage of life, these types of decisions are invariably about more than just career trajectory or money and perks. Sure, there are work related tangibles like sick leave, bonuses or incentives, car parks, airline memberships or whatever it is that you appreciate. But often the intangibles count a lot too – such as being considered a trusted advisor, having the eyes or ears of interesting people, knowing how things tick around your workplace, enjoying your colleagues, taking pride in your employer or having a sense of belonging.
Given the myriad of contributing factors, is it any wonder this Ripenist is pondering whether she’s mad to trade off the security and degrees of certainty she has in her current role just because she wants more passion in her work?
Both options have pros and cons; neither is necessarily more right nor wrong, so some of what she’s considering are her comfort level with:
- degrees of risk versus degrees of certainty
- abundance or does a scarcity mentality prevail?
- short term significance versus longer
- impact on herself versus the impact on others (positive or negative)
- energy – which option brings it; which drains it?
- being intrinsically or extrinsically motivated
- moving towards the new opportunity or running away from the old?
- placing passion ahead of security and vice versa
Ultimately it comes down to risk and reward. What is this Ripenist prepared to risk or lose in the pursuit of the rewards she’ll gain?
It’s different for each of us, of course – understanding yourself really is key!
As none of us know what’s around the corner, it’s important that we mitigate risk so we can sleep at night AND given the shortness of the rest of our lives, we also deserve to experience as much satisfaction and joy as possible.
Place yourself in this Ripenist’s shoes (can you relate?). What would give you Peace of Mind? What would you advise her?