She said, “My job was my best friend. It’s very hard to leave your best friend,” I watched the expressive face of this fantastic leader as she shared her personal feelings about leaving her job and her organization. The other people in the room hung on her every word. “It seemed like I was getting promoted every few years. I loved the company, my co-workers, and our customers. Going to work was a joy for me,” she said, sighing. “And then one day, it was time to leave. It hurt,” she said. “An opportunity arose that I couldn’t pass up. I had to go.”
No matter where you are in your career or how you feel about your current job and colleagues, it is good to think about what you might want to do if you leave your present position and how it will feel to leave. For some people who are unhappy in their current position, they might think leaving will be only a happy experience. While this could be true, there may be a person or two you will miss when you go or a specific part of your job that you really enjoy doing. For those like our marketing exec, who love their jobs, leaving for another opportunity can be a very emotional experience, and it’s important to think these through before you make the jump.
Below are three questions to ask yourself as you consider taking the new opportunity.
- Will I be making a contribution?
- Will I find meaning?
- Will it make me happy?
I have found that most people don’t want to “do nothing’ all day. We have hopes and dreams, goals and ambitions. We want to contribute to the world, make it a better place, not “retire” from it to a life of “leisure”. For most of us, sleeping in late, lounging on the beach, improving our golf scores, and lazing about all day are great for a short time, but they hold little allure in the long-term.
The happiest “transitioned” executives I have met are still making a contribution to the world, they are finding meaning and contentment in what they do today—not just reflecting on what they did yesterday.
Think about “life after work,” and ask yourself these three questions:
- How can I continue to make a contribution?
- How can I find meaning?
- What will make me happy?
Now is a good time to start planning.