While I’m still playing with the idea of ridding myself of my automobile, more angst is coming from wrestling with whether I need to leave my job, or how I can change it so that I can stay.
It’s funny. I have been reading Go Put Your Strengths to Work, and after the exercises in which the reader diagnoses what is and isn’t working in a week’s worth of work activities, Marcus Buckingham includes a long section counseling the reader not to dump her/his job and rush off in search of the next one. He writes that while the “eject” button is the dramatic solution (a leap into the dark to the next situation, which may or may not be a better fit), we can iteratively move our current job closer to our perfect job through attention and goal-setting. Certainly I have the most negotiating power with the folks who already respect me and depend on me (that is, my current team and employer). It’s annoying to be right where Marcus Buckingham predicts I would be. I’d prefer to be unique.
So, it is listmaking time for me, figuring out what it is I can’t do without, what I can trade for other things, what it is I can no longer do, what I have to ask others for…
Things I need: team, writing, collaboration, clients, change, variety, action. I want to have different problems than we did last year, than we did last quarter. I want to be making different mistakes.
Things that concern me: I don’t want to be the single point of failure or hero. I want to build or participate in a system where I and our clients are supported by a team with overlapping interests and responsibilities. I’d like to be replaceable. I’d like a little slack in the system, a little redundancy. I don’t know how to do that in a small team. I think we simply need to be bigger.
But, there is an upside. I have shed some tasks and responsibilities that were mine that weren’t right. I removed myself from some email lists (like Perry Marshall’s), re-examined some of my work habits (yes, there are ways I have participated in creating my own angst), and essentially spring cleaned my office and my job description. Yes, whether I’m happy at work really is up to me. Whatever the outcome, this realization is a good, if painful, thing.