• Tineke Tammes

Being miserable is a selfish act!

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Do you know that being miserable at work is not just affecting you but also the people around you?

Your partner, your kids, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your boss?

Eckhart Tolle says it like this in his book ‘A new earth’: 'If you are not in a state of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and for others.'

In other words: you might tell yourself that you have a mortgage, bills to pay, and that you therefore have a duty to stay where you are, even though it is making you miserable. Really, though, what you are doing is hurting yourself, and not only yourself but everyone around you too!

Have you considered that by doing this you are not giving everyone - including yourself - the best of you?

I believe that you’re in this world to be the best you can be. And the best you can be is not the person who sits there at her desk, with misery in her heart and a yearning to do something that feels meaningful to her.

The best you can be is someone who fully commits, who brings her skills, abilities, personality and passions to work, and creates a working life that is meaningful and in which she makes a difference to the world.

So, why are you unhappy?

There are a multitude of reasons why you could be unhappy at work. However, the reason you are unhappy at this stage of your life could very well be linked to your age.

In the early stages of your career you were busy - building your career, learning new skills, gaining experiences, whilst perhaps raising a family and building a home.

Now you've come to this new stage of your life in which you can look up and take stock. And you might have come to the conclusion that your career is not living up to your expectations.

Well, the good news is: you’re not alone!

According to research by consultancy Gallup, only one third of baby boomers and Gen X-ers are engaged by their work. In the UK research by the London School of Business and Finance found that 43% of people of people between 45 and 54 were looking for another job, and for the age group of 34 to 44 this was even higher at 52%!

This is completely normal

At this stage of your life you are likely to go through a crucial stage in your development as an adult. You now want to live your life much more on the basis of your values, instead of building your life up on the basis of real or imagined expectations from others. And you might find that this career and working life you've built up is not in line with your values, your purpose, and what you know yourself to be.

And guess what, a study by Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute found that the main reason for career happiness is for people to have a sense of purpose in their work, for people to find their work meaningful and fulfilling.

So, what’s stopping you from making a change?

Fear is what‘s stopping you. You might have a fear that you may no longer be able to pay the bills once you made a change. Or that your career change might go wrong (and then where would you be?). You might be afraid of a loss of status or of what others might think. You might be afraid that your family and friends won’t support you. Or that it’s too late to make a change altogether.

These fears are real, but can be overcome.

Do you really need to earn the same amount of money? Or has your financial situation changed now you’re a bit older and perhaps no longer have the same responsibilities? Or, alternatively, are there perhaps other ways of making money that provide you with an additional income?

How important is your status to you? And does it really matter what your colleagues think of you (who knows, they might actually be secretly envious of you making a change)?

What can you do to engage the support of your friends and family? And have you asked them if they would be supportive of your career change?

And what about the ‘is it too late’ question?

Well, as one of my favourite authors says: Do you know how old you will be by the time you learn to play the piano? The same age you'll be if you don't!

In other words, no, it’s not too late! The only regret you’ll have in twenty years time is if you don’t do anything.

And no, that doesn’t mean that you should quit your job tomorrow. What it means is that now is the time to actively start working on making a change in your career that will provide you with the career happiness and sense of purpose that you’re after.

So, now what?

What can you do to start making changes to your working life?

  • Become clearer - on what you want and need, on what your values and your strengths are.

  • Use your connections or build new ones - Start talking to people who do work that you’re interested in or work in organisations that appeal to you.

  • Test some of your ideas - Always wanted to work for a charity? Is there a way of learning more about it? Want to start a new business? Why not start it on the side?

Or, if you need some support with all of this, why not book a first Introduction Call to learn how I can help you make your first move towards that meaningful career?


Tineke Tammes is an ICF accredited Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful career transitions into work they love! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

Follow her on LinkedIn, or better still, why not book a free Introduction Call with me?


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