This post is part of a series by Shannon Kaiser called Live Your Life — a primer on finding your passion and living with purpose. Each day this week, we'll post one article offering the foundational elements you need to go deeper in the search for your life's true meaning. When you're ready to take the next step, check out Shannon's course: Get Unstuck: How To Find Your Calling & Live A Life With More Meaning.
One of my co-workers, soon to be married, proudly taped his engagement photo onto his cubicle wall. He looked over at me and asked, “Have you ever noticed that what people put up in their office space is a reflection of what they care most about?” I took a quick mental snapshot of the office and realized that my cubicle was the only one not overstuffed with chubby baby photos and cherished significant others.
In fact, I didn’t have any family photos on display. My show-and-tell was a flooded collage of postcards from cities I longed to visit and places I had already been. Puzzled by this opposition, I asked him what my area said about me. He matter-of-factly responded, “You want to escape.”
How is it that a work acquaintance I barely knew knew me better than I knew myself? On the outside it looked like I had it all: a fancy job title at a fancy office in downtown Chicago, a gorgeous loft, and a boyfriend who wanted to marry me. But on the inside it was a completely different story. I would cry myself to sleep every night, thinking that was normal, until my doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression.
I had a choice: I could continue to mask my pain and just go through the motions, or I could set out to find my happy. I chose to follow my heart, which led me to the dream life I have today. I left the corporate world and became a writer, coach, and course leader.
I spent years pretending there wasn’t a problem. If I could speak to my younger self, the one stuck in a job because of security and fear, I’d tell her to leave sooner. I would tell her it all works out as soon as you let go of what isn't working.
You owe it to yourself to find a career you love. Here are 10 signs your career is crushing your soul, and what to do about it: