Life is too short to not enjoy it.
Do you believe that? Do you truly believe it?
If you did, you wouldn’t get so fed up every day about all the things you HAVE to do. Instead, you’d fill your day with things you enjoy.
I’m just as guilty as you at dwelling on the negative rather than focusing on the positive aspects of life. My days are (rather, they were) filled with dread because of paperwork, bureaucracy and routine. Does that sound familiar to you?
I’m the guy who loves his job, right? That’s what intentionalemployee.com is all about. That’s what I write about most of the time. I want to help professionals be better professionals by enjoying their work.
Early in 2014, I had lost my way. I had stopped focusing on the positives of life and only thought about the negatives. Seriously, every waking and sleeping moment seemed to be inundated with negativity.
My job was sucking the life out of me.
I worked too much, traveled too much, wasn’t paid enough and didn’t get to spend enough time with my family. Anyway, that’s what I told myself every day.
That’s the stereotypical life of a public accountant.
It got so bad that I decided to change careers and leave public accounting. I feel bad for even saying that. There goes my position of strength…
My wife was on board. My closest friends knew I was looking for a new job and I had even told my boss I was leaving. It got that bad.
It was a heart-wrenching couple of months as I fulfilled my job responsibilities while networking to find open positions that interested me.
Clearly, I didn’t change careers and leave public accounting. I’m still with the firm and enjoying every day. I’m back to my old self and love my job!
So what convinced me to not change careers? Good question.
There were three things that compelled me to not change careers and stay in public accounting:
The more I looked for a new job and talked with people, the more I realized how much I really enjoyed public accounting. All the reasons I wrote about in a series of posts about why I love public accounting were true. You can see those here:
While some aspects of the positions I looked into interested me, I didn’t think any of those positions would have all the reasons why I love public accounting.
As much as I wanted a better life, I did not want to be bored in my career. That would be the death of me.
When I made the decision to change careers and leave public accounting, I made the decision to not work as much. Prior to this decision, I worked whenever possible. My mantra was, when in doubt, work. I worked about 40 Saturdays a year.
The funny thing is this. When I decided to back my hours down to a more realistic level, I discovered I accomplished the same amount of work. All of my responsibilities were still met. My jobs got completed timely, administrative tasks were completed timely and my sales stayed consistent (if not got better).
I had more focus while working because I would not let myself work late into the night or every Saturday. It was amazing. We really can work so much that our efficiency and productivity suffer.
Focus on what I enjoy
The most important factor in my decision to not change careers and stay in public accounting was some advice I was given. I confided in someone who I knew had almost left public accounting before becoming a partner. In fact, he had actually accepted a position in industry but had then decided to stay based on advice he received.
The advice was this:
Focus every day on what you enjoy.”
That’s it. It was that simple. He said he focuses each day on what he enjoys the most and then fits in the administrative hassles and bureaucracy when he has to.
If I can focus every day on what I enjoy, then I’d truly love my job again.
The thing I forgot about in my career was that I was in control. I’m responsible for my actions, thoughts and reactions to every type of stimuli. My negative attitude and feeling of dread were due to my thinking…nothing else.
I was in control. Since I’ve been in public accounting so long and have been successful at every level, I’ve earned the ability, for the most part, to control what I do.
I control the hours I work. I control how much I travel. I control my sales and marketing efforts.
With that control, I have the ability to focus on what I enjoy.
After the decision
Our attitudes really are amazing. They impact so much. The attitudes we have not only affect us but they also are contagious. If we are frustrated, we’ll influence others to be frustrated. If we’re happy, we’ll influence others’ happiness.
After realizing I was in control of my career, I flourished.
My time at home with my family was much more focused. I began spending even more quality time with my children and I helped more around the house and actually enjoyed it.
My sales and marketing efforts paid off with some big wins with some long sought-after prospects.
My enjoyment level with everything increased.
I’m so thankful I decided to stay in public accounting even though I know there will still be time demands, a.k.a. busy season, and travel requirements. It will pay off in the long run because I enjoy what I do.
Are you ready to change careers?
Have you gone through a similar period in your life when you questioned your choice of a career?
The average number of careers for Generations X have been said to be around seven. That’s not different jobs in an adult lifetime, that’s number of careers. I assume Generation Y will have even more careers than that.
Changing careers is sometimes needed. I’m not naive to think we all know what we want to do when we graduate college. Besides, our interests, desires and dreams change as we mature. If you’re at that point and want to find your real dream job, I recommend joining the community over at HappenToYourCareer.
Whenever you get into one of those periods of unhappiness and dread about your career, will you take the time to ask for help?
Had I not asked for advice, I would not be in public accounting right now. And, I truly believe I’d be miserable had I changed careers.
Ask advice from yourself too. Understand what you control.
You control your attitude.
You control your happiness.
You control your thoughts.
Since you control your life, it’s up to you to figure out what you really want to do.
Don’t rush into judgment that your current situation is so bad that it can’t be resolved. With the proper reframing of your attitude and thoughts, it likely can be better. That’s what happened to me.
Question for you: What have you blamed on others that you actually control? When you figured out you were in control, what changed?
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