Is Okay Really Okay? When You Don’t Love What You Think You Should

Sometimes we do not realize, or want to face, that where we are is not where we want to be.  It may be that we feel there is no “real” reason for feeling this way so therefore it is not right.  If the working environment is okay and the money is good then what do we have to complain about, right?


I once had a friend tell me that his relationship wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad.  Oh, gee, wish I was his girlfriend.  The whole point he was staying with her was because it wasn’t “that bad”.  Be still my heart.


It is the same type of situation with a job.  You should love it but don’t.  It should be enough for you but it isn’t.  It should be right, but it isn’t.  Why not???  I was reminded of this yesterday during a client meeting.


I was talking to a client and he was having some difficulty letting go of that last little part of his previous position.  Throughout our discussion he had said a few things here and there that brought great insight, although he was unable to pick up on them.  As his coach, it was my job to help him hear what it was that he was saying to determine that the last position was, in fact, not the right one for him.


So how do you know if it isn’t right?


Over-singing the Praises


When we talked about his prior position it was like he was trying to sell me on the company.  How great they were, how wonderful the products are, the whole kit and caboodle was just amazing; to the point of overselling.


When someone tries that hard to oversell something on how wonderful it is, it normally raises a red flag that it isn’t all that great after all.  They are trying to convince themselves more than you.


Making Excuses


When a chip in the armor of the company was mentioned he was quick to defend them.  Everything has faults, weaknesses or challenges: whether that is an organization, a system or people.


So when challenged about these possible flaws instead of recognizing and acknowledging these you find yourself immediately defending them, you might again be trying to convince yourself that everything is perfect.  You only want to see the bright and shiny side of things.  Even the best armor needs a little spit and polish now and then.


Stockholm Syndrome


Adapting to a corporate culture at the expense of your own value system or behavior is very easy to do, difficult to recognize and quite a smack upside the head when you realize it.  It can be a gradual process that we are not aware of and once we are in full swing difficult to recognize or break.


It is a coping mechanism and another way to justify to yourself that you really are happy in the current situation.


We discussed a minor relationship at his previous position and how he had not treated it in the same manner as he had with every other relationship in the past.  He even made the statement that that “wasn’t him”.  Little warning bells should go off in your head at this time.


Instead of feeling like you are being true to yourself you employ behaviors which are completely acceptable by the corporation and therefore you feel almost okay with it.  Deep down you are not okay with it, but again, the feeling of not having a “real” reason to be unhappy allows you to adapt.


Driving Yourself Crazy Trying to Find the Answer


Some questions are never answered.  Why did the relationship not work, why did they dump you, why don’t you feel as much for your partner as they do you, why, why, why….


My poor client had been racking his brain trying to come up with answers when in reality he will never know.  Sometimes we are not meant to know the reasons why, we are meant to learn a lesson.  How we got there is not as important as where we go next and what actions we take now.


Wanting Validation


He had shared his story with a few close friends.  With each one he was actually trying to get validation to support that he should have loved that job as much as he said he did.  He would tell them the wonderful things about it so they would agree it was great.  He also wanted them to try to give him the answers that he couldn’t figure out.  Telling them about the ending and hoping they could clue him in on the company’s behavior.


It isn’t the company or your boss.  It is you.


You are not happy.  It is not the right fit.  It doesn’t serve your purposes.  No fault, no blame, no guilt – it just isn’t right.


He felt guilt for not loving something that appeared to be so wonderful.  But in reality, when we had an honest talk, he could start to see the cracks in the foundation.  The company wasn’t all that great, but he had convinced himself that it was because it was providing a good income.


He should have loved it was what his was thinking, but in reality he just did not.  This created a lot of guilt.


Had he really loved it he would have never changed his behavior with the one relationship.  He would not have to shout from the rooftops how happy he was because people would have naturally seen how happy he was.


Sometimes we can be in a job and from the outside there is no “real” reason not to love it.  It is like people judging your relationship from the outside.  You guys look happy together, you make such a nice couple, always polite to each other and seem perfect.  Key words there: look and seem.  Appearances can be deceiving.


In reality the only thing you guys have in common is the love of some event.  You go out in public together, enjoy the show but the day to day is lacking.  Conversation is ok, relations are ok, the day to day is just there – nothing spectacular but not bad either.  You are just floating by.


But it is not enough.  Something inside of you says it is just not enough.  The job provides a nice income, the people are great but something is lacking.  This is when you need to make that tough choice:  stay where it is ok but with something missing or be daring and dive into the scary world to see what is missing and how to fulfill it – even if you cannot define it.


This is a personal decision and does not have a pat answer or solution.  The point of the blog today isn’t to tell you here are the next five steps to take to fix this problem.  The point is to help you recognize some symptoms of a problem.  From there, it is your choice whether to accept the mediocre or to move on.


No matter what path you choose, again, it is a personal decision, and therefore you should not have any guilt.  It is your decision, your actions and quite frankly your life.  Make an informed decision and release yourself from any guilt.


If the guilt persists, well then, that might be another symptom that the problem has not been correctly remedied.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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