Looking to change careers- but is the grass really greener on the other side?


March 30, 2024

Tell me if one of these is, or has been, you….

🛥️ You’re in comfortable cruise control mode in your job and you should be grateful there’s no stress…..,but you find yourself wanting to sack it all and do something risky, adventurous and challenging 🪂

😁 You’re earning a really good wage doing work that you’re so good at, and yet….. you find yourself lusting after the glamour and travel of the production team ✈️ or the creativity-laden days of the marketing team 🎨

I could go on and paint you pictures with any scenario – relationships, family, lifestyle, wealth….

It’s a classic case of “the grass is greener on the other side” and it can happen to anyone, in any position and at any stage.

When does it go?

It doesn’t necessarily disappear if you’ve got the money or the freedom you first craved. 

New pastures with even greener grass seem to spring up next to you all the time. 

So what can we do about it?

I’ll tell you.

But first…

What is the grass is always greener syndrome and how does it relate to careers?

In the vast and ever-evolving landscape of career choices, many of us have experienced that nagging feeling that there is a better job over there aka the grass is greener on that lawn for sure.

It’s a sentiment that whispers in the minds of those contemplating a career change, often leaving them with a sense of restlessness, uncertainty, and the persistent question, “Is there something better out there for me?”

‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ syndrome is the belief that somewhere, in a different role, industry, or even location, lies the ideal career that will bring fulfilment, happiness, and success.

So how do we know if we really need a change or if we’re falling into the syndrome category?

Dreams vs Daydreams

I believe that some dreams are an expression of our deepest desires. They reveal to you what you want.

But other dreams aren’t meant to be taken literally. Rather, they’re a symbol of an unmet need.

For example, a dream to work for yourself could be just that – you want to try going solo.

OR it could be that your current boss is so controlling, or your current role is so monotonous and predictable that it’s creating a deep need for freedom in you. And the only way you’ve thought of to get that freedom is to work for yourself. Your current situation has jaded you so much that you don’t think that desire for freedom could be met in another job. The only way to get it is to have no boss whatsoever.

Makes sense?

So the latter example is what we would put in the ‘grass is greener’ category, because that need to work for yourself isn’t necessarily a true desire, it’s more of a reaction to the current (extreme) situation.

Dreams like those tend to arise after a particularly stressful day at work and they’ll have you wanting to screw it all and go work in a bar in Thailand. 

They also come to you when you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see someone post a pic from their private jet plane with a comment about how they’re making £30k a week selling real estate and you should buy their course that will teach you how to do the same.

On a good day, you’d scroll straight past, but on a vulnerable day, you may just hit that ‘More Info’ button because you just want a ticket out of the situation.

So how do we know which category our daydreams fall into?

Let’s get the most obvious thing out the way – are you stressed and/or tired?

If the daydream has come to you when you’re tired, then that daydream is not what you actually want.

You know how you’re more likely to reach for sugary treats if you’re tired or hungover? That’s your body sending you signals for a condensed energy hit because it’s struggling to keep you awake on the little sleep you had.

It does the same thing with your daydreams, it gives you a nice image to lust over so you can get through the day. 

A mirage if you will.

The solution here is…

Get some deep rest and then do some self-inquiry about your current situation.

Here are the 3 steps you need to take:

1) Decide which route to take

We first need to see if you’re truly dissatisfied with your job or if some tweaks in boundaries and communication can fix the problem.

I had a client who stopped her job search after we worked out how she could say no to her boss without feeling like she was being confrontational. The domino effect from that one simple change was profound.

Turned out the boss had no idea that my client was feeling overwhelmed with the work load, she thought she liked the challenge. Just goes to show that we can’t guess that others know how we’re feeling – we need to communicate our situations (even if you think it should be ‘obvious’).

If you think that those tweaks won’t help, then we need to do some investigation into your daydreams….

2) Question and research those dreams

Is becoming a teacher or doctor truly the salvation you’re picturing it to be?

I had a client earlier this year who was thinking about giving up her career in the music industry to retrain as a doctor. We spoke about what she was picturing her days to look like (brimming with connection, fulfilment, meaning and purpose), and I got her to go talk to some doctors to find out if that matched up.

It didn’t.

Yes, there was meaning, but there was also burnout, frustration and not as much work-life balance as she had hoped.

So she closed the door on the doctor dream and we instead looked at the unmet need within that dream.

For her, being a doctor represented doing something worthwhile and meaningful. She also wanted to be a bit more hands on with her work so she could see the results of her efforts.

So we set to work seeing how this could be done in her current job.

Test those dreams out before you make the jump.

I can’t tell you how many people I know blindly jump from corporate to charity and find themselves facing the same problems they were trying to escape just in different disguises.

3) Find the real cause of dissatisfaction

I covered this above, but basically make sure you’re not only researching your dreams, but you’re also researching your restlessness and dissatisfaction. Those unmet needs.

What is making you look over the fence onto someone else’s lawn? Something must have caused it.

When we have our unmet needs, we also have our true desires.

Now, a word of warning – this is actually harder than it sounds.

I won’t go into too much detail here, I’ll leave it for another edition, but there are multiple reasons we find it hard to know what we want. Here are some of them:

✨ We don’t know ourselves (because of many reasons but one of them is the next point)

✨ We’re too focused on what others are doing and what others will think of us to get to know what we think and what we want

✨ We have been taught to minimise our desires or turn them into something more ‘realistic’

✨ We haven’t learnt how to feel the feeling of disappointment and not be overwhelmed by it, so we avoid any situations where we may feel that feeling

✨ We don’t have a varied network. If you have a group of school friends come from the same backgrounds and who do vaguely the same things who haven’t pursued unconventional or alternative career paths then it can make it harder to envision alternative life choices for yourself

✨ Developing a procrastination habit where you’re putting off decision-making, and therefore self-reflection, can perpetuate a sense of confusion and indecision

All of the above reasons are why a lot of people get stuck making a career choice.

This is where a coach can help you sift through all these habits of thinking and help you understand how to navigate difficult emotions such as fear or disappointment so that you make consistent progress towards your desires.

4) Take your time

Working on yourself isn’t a ‘one and done’ thing. You’ve had those grass is greener habits of thinking for a life time, so it will take some time to unlearn those.

But oh my goodness is it worth it.

Once you figure out what it is you truly want and you have a plan for how to go about it getting it, you’ll be so excited, so fulfilled and motivated, that you won’t have time to dwell on other people’s success.

Instead, this miraculous thing happens.

Once you lift the curse of the green eyed monster and break free from the never-satisfied-with-what-I-have syndrome, you will start seeing other people’s LinkedIn or Insta posts, not as competition or bragging, but as OPPORTUNITIES.

I swear to you.

This is how it works.

When you’re aligned with your vision, you’re happy.

When you’re in a positive state, you think more broadly (See Broaden-and-Build Theory) and therefore more creatively.

That unlocked creativity of yours will show you opportunities in places where you previously saw competition or challenge.

How cool is that?

So, dear reader, start a self-inquiry or get a coach, but don’t just put up with the feeling of dissatisfaction about your work. Let’s work together to create wonderfully lush and verdant pastures under your feet.

If you’re ready to work 1-on-1 with a coach, then simply book a free Breakthrough call to get a personalised coaching plan for your situation.
If you’d rather do some self-inquiry first, then Career Clarity Course is a good place to start as it a self-guided course that takes you through the most important aspects of getting to know what you want.



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