Help Me, Rhonda,
I like my job. However, I suffer from “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” syndrome. My job seems boring and bland compared to the jobs I see everyone else doing. What should I do?
Signed, Not Green Enough
Dear Not Green Enough,
Rest assured, you are not alone in having this syndrome. We seem to be hardwired to think that everyone has what we want, and that what we have isn’t good enough.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”4aKlT” via=”yes” ]Ever suffer from “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Fence” syndrome with your job? Read here to find out how to fix that problem![/ctt]
Social media has exacerbated the problem. People post online the life they want others to think they have. All those vacation photos, those work trips, those perfectly behaved and smiling children in the photos. We know it isn’t the whole story, but we get sucked into the vortex of believing that people are living the life we see on their social media feeds.
Jobs are like that, too. When we look from the outside, we see what others want us to see. Everyone has a big paycheck, glamorous work trips, a fancy office. And then we look at our own cramped office quarters, unpaid overtime, unfriendly coworkers, and unreasonable expectations by management and we assume that our job is horrible while everyone else’s is fantastic.
That’s not reality.
Remember, in the days before COVID-19, many of us thought that working from home was the best thing that could ever happen? We could avoid the long commute to work, work in our pajamas, be incredibly productive, and generally live a no-stress life while making money.
What we didn’t realize was that working from home means you work insanely long hours, you can’t really separate your work life from your home life, and you really don’t like wearing pajamas all day.
We need to remember this when we see jobs out there that look “perfect.”
[ctt template=”3″ link=”qJlze” via=”yes” ]If you’re considering leaving your job and heading to one that’s in a greener pasture, here are some questions you should ask yourself first.[/ctt]
If you’re considering leaving your job and heading to one that’s in a greener pasture, here are some questions you should ask yourself first.
1. What is it about that job that looks better than the one I have now? Take a sheet of paper and write them all down. Things look different when they’re on paper.
a. The boss is friendly and appreciative
b. I would get my own office
c. It has a great title
d. It is a prestigious company to work for
e. They get more paid vacation than I currently do
2. How happy will those things make me? Go through each of the answers you wrote down and evaluate the level of happiness you think it would bring you in the long term. For instance:
a. The boss is friendly and appreciative. While I would appreciate that, I don’t think it would make me love my job any more. For instance, if I hated my job, having a friendly boss who is appreciative might make going to work easier, but I wouldn’t love my job any more because of it.
b. I would get my own office. Nice, but it wouldn’t mean the difference between loving my job and hating my job.
3. What can I do to get those things now? Look at each of the items on your list and evaluate whether it’s possible and worth the effort to try to get the things on your list at your current job. You may decide, based on how you answered in the second question, that it isn’t as important as you thought.
c. It has a great title. When I look at the job I have now, the title is generic. I could speak to my boss or HR department about a title change. That may or may not happen, and it could take years. Is the title going to make me happier in the long run?
d. It is a prestigious company to work for. I cannot make my company more prestigious. This is something that I cannot change.
e. They get more paid vacation than I currently do. I may be able to bank overtime to use as vacation. I may get more time off if needed, but not paid. But, I have never asked for more time off before because I never even use all the vacation I have now. Would more time off really make me a lot happier?
4. What of the above are deal-breakers? Once you’ve evaluated each of the items that makes the grass look greener, you will likely realize that none of them are deal-breakers. But if they are, then apply for the job. If they aren’t, recognize that the allure of the green grass has captured your attention. Smile, and go back to enjoying what you do now, knowing that your grass is just as green—and maybe even a bit more—than other people’s.
Don’t get fooled into believing the lie projected by surface information. Just because you go on vacation with your spouse every year, it doesn’t mean you are happier in your marriage. Just because your kids pose nicely for those “first day of school” photos doesn’t mean they don’t have a meltdown the next morning when you try to get them ready for school. And just because the job looks fantastic and so much better than yours, doesn’t mean that it is.
You’ll notice that I haven’t asked you to list everything about your job that you love (although that is a good idea). Just because you’re thinking the grass is greener at some other job, it probably doesn’t mean you don’t love your current job; it just means the other one looks better. By looking into the specifics about why it looks better, we can often see that it may not actually be better.
The grass is not always greener. Sometimes it is—in which case you may want to make a change. But more often, it’s just a different type of grass.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”7cqRs” via=”yes” ]The grass is not always greener. Sometimes it is—in which case you may want to make a change. But more often, it’s just a different type of grass.[/ctt]