“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure… life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” —Helen Keller
I saw this quote somewhere on the internet earlier this week. (Then I forgot where and had to Google it to get it right.) And it’s what gave me that final, necessary kick in the pants to go for something scary.
I’ve been in my current job for over nine years. Wow. Nine years. That’s more time than high school and college combined. Pretty impressive when in some ways this is my first “real” job. I held a few other odd jobs (up to four at a time) in my first year after college before landing this position. A “real” job with things like dental insurance and retirement.
A lot has changed in nine years. I’m on my third boss, and my boss(es) are on their third boss. I’ve seen a many reorganizations of the org chart. I’ve taken hundreds (possibly even thousands) of minutes for committees — some that are long gone, some that have come and gone, and one in particular that has stuck through it all continuing to be useful. More responsibilities have been added to me. I’ve had two different offices and three different desks. My pay has gone up and up and then down (thanks, budget cuts) and then stood unmoving for five years before going up again a few months ago. Of 145 employes, only 40 now have been here longer than I have. I still use the same stapler that I ordered my first week.
A few months ago I thought, “Wow. Even though my job isn’t really challenging any more (because after nine years you’ve pretty much figured it all out), I’ve been here for so long that it’s comfortable. And familiar. And to go anywhere else and do something different would be.. really hard. Scary.”
I’ve applied to some other jobs over the years, looking for more challenge. But not lately. Partly I think there was a teeny part of me that thought it would be cool to make it a full ten years here before I started looking again. Another part realizes that I’ve put down some pretty deep roots that would be painful to uproot.
So what happens last week? I get a call that another position has opened up similar to my current one but slightly higher in a different department. And I’m specifically called because I’m being recruited to apply. The more people I talk to about the position — those I know professionally who know my abilities and know what the position entails, and those I know personally who know my heart — the more I’m told that I need to apply.
But this place is safe. It’s boring some days, but I know what I’m doing. I love the people I work with — their personalities and their commitment. I love our mission and really believe in it and am passionate about it. That new job, what if I don’t love it? What if I don’t love the people or get fired up about the work?
And I realized the if you really break it down, the only thing holding me back from this opportunity is fear. And that’s not a good enough reason.
So pulling out the ol’ resume to dust if off (wow, not updated since 2009? really?) and add the additional accomplishments and skills I’ve accumulated. Then, upload it and press “submit”, tossing my hat into a ring of unknowns and take a deep breath while the butterflies do a conga dance through my stomach.