Excuses rob you of choice.
I've noticed an interesting pattern during several of my recent conversations with folks in tech: lots of people have lots of excuses for why they stay at unfulfilling jobs, then judge themselves for staying in it.
If that's you, I have a something to say to you:
There is nothing wrong with choosing security over fulfillment.
Let me repeat that.
It's not inherently wrong or bad to stay at a job that pays you well even if you're not fulfilled.
Huh? But aren't you supposed to be constantly striving towards self-actualization and unleashing your greatest potential on humanity to make the world a better place?
No. You're not supposed to do anything.
In fact there are many legitimate reasons you might choose to stay at your job right now:
You want to pay off your debt faster.
Other parts of your life are in flux, so you prefer your work to stay steady.
You just had a kid and you decide that financial stability is important for your family.
You don't know what you'd rather do instead and can't afford to take time off to figure it out yet.
You’re really enjoying being able to travel and buy nice things and eat in nice restaurants whenever you want.
There’s nothing wrong with that. So stop judging yourself.
You have many competing priorities, and it's OK if you decide that financial stability outweighs spiritual fulfillment right now.
But notice what I'm saying - it's your CHOICE. You DECIDE.
Why is that important?
Because a lot of your angst right now comes from wanting something you don’t have and having tons of excuses as to why you can't have it:
"I can't do work I love because I have to provide for my family."
"I can't take a pay cut because then I can't afford to buy a house."
"I can't take time off to figure out what I want because being financially unstable stresses me out."
Your excuses are robbing you of choice. And the more you complain about it, the more powerless you feel.
Your friends don't care if you stay at or leave your job. They just want you to stop complaining about it (aka they just want you to be happy).
Instead, acknowledge the choices you've made. Look at them squarely in the face. Start being honest with yourself.
"I choose not to do work I love because I've decided to prioritize providing for my family."
"I choose not to take a pay cut because I've decided to save up for a house."
"I choose not to take time off because I've decided it's not worth it to me to endure the stress of financial instability right now."
Now ask yourself: Am I OK with my choices and decisions?
If no, are you willing to make different choices and accept the consequences of those choices? If so, your homework is to strategize and take action.
If yes, are you willing to accept the consequences of the choices you've made? If so, your homework is to accept and embrace reality.