Phew! What a couple of months it has been. This past summer, I moved from Canada to Belgium with my husband, two young kids, and our dog. It was a challenging time and it made me take a hard look at my life. I was leaving everything I knew: my career, my friends, my family, and importantly – my comfort zone.
Here’s what I have learned.
Given my line of work I ask people almost daily to change something about their lives. It doesn’t have to be something big, often it’s about opening themselves up to possibilities, or exploring ideas they haven’t yet considered. So when it was my turn to make some changes, I thought I could handle it – no problem!
Life throws curveballs. When the movers showed up a day early to load our stuff, there was panic in my mind. We were mostly ready, but that extra 24 hours would have come in handy considering I was supposed to be at the spa with my girlfriends celebrating a milestone birthday. Then the gas company came to tear up my driveway (yes, I was moving ½ way around the world and someone was taking what looked like a chain-saw, to my driveway) and the power went out because hydro crews were installing new lines in the neighbourhood..
Three days to pack up the house, we said final good-byes and headed to the airport. We boarded the plane, flew to our destination, circled over the airport, only to be told we had to head back to our departure airport due to bad weather. We sat three and a half hours on the tarmac, with no air-conditioning and two young children. Finally, we made it to our layover destination to find we had missed our connection to Belgium. No worries, we’ll stay the night and fly out tomorrow. Oh, but our luggage wasn’t here…It’s 11 pm, our kids are tired and we need to ‘hit the hay’.
Be thankful for the small things. I’m not sure what I did right, but a kind airline staff member must have taken pity on me because he broke the rules to help us find our luggage. The customer service representative at the hotel was just as generous. She found us a room with a late checkout. We could not have been happier. We spent the next day having a fancy breakfast, swimming in the pool, and finally getting that spa treatment. It was a real gift. In fact, my husband even had a chance to visit with his brother who he would not have seen had we not missed our connection.
It’s all a matter of perspective. An older version of myself would have been frustrated and angry at all the inconveniences and would have been a victim of circumstances that were beyond my control.
What I learned, instead, is this: You don’t have to fight it. Sometimes, life gives you exactly what you need when you need it. So instead of looking for every little problem in every little instance, be grateful for what’s going well.
In this time of high unemployment and low wages; there are many who would be happy to have less than what you have now. So before starting to look at your career options, do a very thorough examination of your current situation. Maybe you are seeing the glass half-empty, rather than half-full. If that is the case, here’s a simple exercise to do this week.
Before you leave work each day, write down five things you’re grateful for. Here are a few to think about:
- Job security (if only for the rest of this week)
- Fair wage
- Safe work environment
- Easy commute
- One (or more) good colleagues
- Fair, good, great, amazing boss
- Freedom from having to ‘punch the clock’
- Employment insurance
- Benefits (CPP, pension, severance)
- Tasks you enjoy doing
- Fun and humour
By the end of the week, you may have 25 things you can appreciate about your current situation.
When you focus on what’s going well, you’ll think less about what’s wrong and more on what you really enjoy about your job. And this type of thinking will be crucial when the time is right to move on.
Please share. What’s so great about your job?
Related Categories: Career Clarity, Job Search
About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.