Is the grass always greener on the other side? Read this before you join “The Great Resignation.”

People are feeling so burnt out that they are looking to quit their job, either to take a complete break from the workforce or switch to another company with a potentially more significant title and salary in the hopes that it will be different. In fact, over half of the workforce is currently thinking about leaving their job within the next 12 months (Bankrate’s August Jobseeker Survey). That's a pretty staggering statistic that I find both shocking yet not surprising.

That was me for a very long time. I hit the easy button – my stress or anxiety would increase, and bam, I would switch jobs. But was the grass greener on the other side? Read on to find out.

Before I entered the workforce, I had a plan. A plan that started while I was in university watching the Miss Universe Pageant in Panama City. They were about to go to a commercial break, and they panned the city’s skyline. There it was – shiny and beautiful - the Scotiabank Tower. Being Canadian and having worked for Scotiabank in the summer, it was pretty neat to see a Canadian company in another country. I was studying International Business and was about to head to Lima, Peru, for an exchange as part of my program. My goal was set – I would one day work for Scotiabank in their International Division.

But before I was fully ready to settle down into a career, I got an internship where I worked for a bank partially owned by Scotiabank back in Lima. I took the job and started forming my network. I also decided to spend some time travelling afterwards and come back to Canada after winter.

By May of that year, I was living my dream. Literally and figuratively. I got a job in Scotiabank in their international division. I was one of the few in the department who spoke Spanish, so I got to travel a lot to the head offices in other countries and work on exciting projects. It was fast-paced, entrepreneurial and had an incredible culture of working hard and playing hard.

But the thing is, I had never planned out my career long-term besides making more money and rising the corporate ranks. I never weighed the benefits of staying with one company versus moving around. The different career paths that are out there and what the options were. And what companies and roles were more conducive to having a family.

And my job was fantastic until it came time to start a family – that's when I felt a significant shift. I loved my job and travelling, but mixing the two is nearly impossible, especially when trying to have a baby. I'm sure I felt stress and anxiety leading up to this time, yet from what I remember, this is the time it peaked.

Every decision started to stress me out. How could we have kids while I'm travelling? How could I tell my boss my plans and still get to work on great projects? How could I stay with a company where travel was such a big component?

What did I do? I pressed the easy button and switched companies rather than talk to my boss about my options. I got lucky as I loved my next job, boss and the people, and it was there that my husband and I adopted our first child; however, I didn’t take the time to make a plan and ask myself the hard questions like what did long-term growth opportunities look like? What was the culture?

Once I became a mom, a different level of anxiety crept in. One that included not wanting to miss the moments at home. Things I enjoyed, like after-work drinks and evening client events, no longer had the same appeal. I wanted family dinners to be a priority, but that meant leaving the office before others most of the time. Something that can carry more weight than your contribution or productivity levels, unfortunately.

I was torn between rising the corporate ranks and being a good mom. A present mom. But I knew, if I felt fulfilled in my career, I would be a better mom.

I decided to go back to Scotiabank, my first true love career-wise and flourished. Yet again, I felt excited, challenged and driven. I worked long hours, but I enjoyed the people I worked with and my work. I had a great rapport with my boss and was back to travelling, something I loved.

But this time, I really felt a toll on my well-being. I was in a demanding, high-stress job with very long hours. My energy and motivation waned, and yet I didn't really know about burnout at the time. So instead of addressing my burnout or taking the time to understand what would fulfill me, what did I do? I hit the easy button and contacted a friend who had told me about an opening where he worked.

The pace was slower, and I didn't travel, but I was in the exact same spot a few months in. Again, because I didn’t take the time to really understand what would make me feel fulfilled and motivated in a role before moving over.

But this time, I didn't press the easy button. I pressed the hard button.

I decided it was finally time to figure out what would make me feel fulfilled and happy. I attended a three-day retreat where I had to be vulnerable (gulp) and answer some tough questions. It was in this retreat that I realized my pattern of pressing the easy button. I also uncovered what I loved and didn’t love about my past roles and company cultures. And lastly, it’s the place I set my goal to one day be an entrepreneur who would help others live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

After that retreat, I did a ton of networking where I pulled out my list of what I was looking for in my next gig. And I stuck to my list until I found it. I changed to the advertising industry and had a role where I worked with incredible people with a little bit of travel, an entrepreneurial culture, and I could problem-solve - three things I love in a job. It's also an industry with extremely long hours and very little control over your schedule, two things I don't love.

But this time, I recognized what burnout was, and I prioritized my wellness. I got up at 5 a.m. and had one hour to myself every morning that left me feeling energized and focused. I had highly supportive leaders and a fantastic team. But I knew my long-term plan was to have my own business, and when an ad popped up to become a Health and Life Coach, I knew I had to jump on it and pursue my dream.

One year later, I am living my dream. I am living my dream because I took the time and did the work to figure out what that dream was and make time for my well-being.

So, is the grass always greener on the other side? Nope, but it can be if you take the time and plan it out.

#careerplanning #career #careercoach #greatresignation #quittingajob #changingjobs #changingcareers

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