Have you ever dated somebody that was difficult to date?
I haven’t dated anyone in quite a while (my wife will be happy to hear this news), but I remember a few dating situations from my single days that were more difficult than they needed to be. And lasted much longer than they should have.
Maybe you’re familiar with the scenario. Things started out just fine, exciting even. When the relationship is new, even the other person’s quirks are kind of cute. Before long, though, those quirks start to irritate you a little. And about two seconds after that, they irritate you a lot. Like food stuck in your teeth. Sure, you could leave it there for awhile, but everything inside of you wants to dislodge that food and return your dental state back to normal.
So you dig at it with your tongue. If that doesn’t work, you’ll desperately search for a toothpick. And since you don’t typically carry short, sharpened sticks of wood with you, you begin improvising substitutes: the corner of a piece of paper, a flattened straw, or even the tip of a steak knife. C’mon, you know you’ve done it.
The difference between having popcorn stuck in your teeth and being in a bad relationship is that — for some unknown reason — you will put up with a bad relationship a whole lot longer. It’s likely because you hope the relationship will improve, whereas you’re pretty sure that popcorn is going to ruin your life if you don’t surgically remove it in the next five minutes.
What popcorn stuck in your teeth and a bad relationship have in common is that they both negatively affect your ability to be a productive, positive member of society until you separate yourself from them.
I know a whole bunch of people who have a bad relationship with their job, don’t you? They go to work in a place they don’t really like, doing work they don’t really engage with, with people they’d rather not hang around with.
Some of these people don’t get along with their boss. Some don’t like the work they do. Some don’t like the “moral compass” of the company they work for. Some don’t get the support, resources, equipment, budgets, etc. they need to truly be effective. Some simply aren’t competent or skilled enough to do the work that’s required of them.
And almost all of them hope the relationship will change for the better. Some are working to improve the relationship. Heck, some of them are even in counseling.
But what they really need to do is dislodge the popcorn. They need to remove themselves from the relationship. Do I have to spell it out for you, or are the metaphors working here?
Maybe you need to quit your job.
Yeah, I went there.
All relationships have rough patches. There is no absolutely perfect job. I’m NOT saying to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. But if things have been going bad for a while, have a heart-to-heart conversation with your gut. Your gut never lies to you. If your gut is telling you this is a bad relationship, you might want to listen to it. Your gut is wise. Wise like Yoda. If it makes noise, it might even sound a little like Yoda. Mine does and it kinda freaks me out sometimes.
I’ve been fired three times in my life. All three of these relationships were over long before my bosses pulled the trigger. All three instances I trudged to work every day thinking “One of these days I’m either going to quit or they’re going to fire me.” Wow, did I waste a lot of time (both theirs and mine) at those jobs. Should have listened to my Yoda gut sooner.
You can even be in a bad relationship with a good job. I know people who work for great companies with decent bosses, yet it’s just the wrong place for them for some reason. This may be the most dangerous situation of all. These types of jobs become silent, slow killers because they’re “not so bad.” Red flags include thoughts or statements like:
“Well, we have really good benefits.”
“But I really like the people I work with.”
“At least everyone pretty much leaves me alone.“
Or the deadliest excuse of all:
“I make great money.”
The problem with these kinds of jobs is that you wake up twenty years later and realize it was just ok (at best) and you could have done something much more engaging, more enjoyable, more productive, more exciting, more passion-filled, more YOU.
Believe it or not, I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing it on behalf of everyone who works with you. If you’re in a bad relationship with your job, and you really should get out of it, you’re negatively and unfairly affecting everyone else around you.
I evaluate all employees on three basic questions that determine the health and status of the relationship they have with their job:
Do they really “get” the job? (Do they really understand what it’s about?)
Do they really want to do the job?
Are they capable of doing the job well?
If the answer is not “yes” on all three, they may not be the best fit. I got this directly from the work of Gino Wickman who developed the EOS (Entrepreneurs Operating System) way of approaching business. If we would all ask ourselves these questions, we’d find out pretty quickly if we should stay in the relationship or not.
So, if your Yoda gut has been acting up lately, ask yourself:
Do I really “get” this job?
Do I really want this job?
Am I capable of doing this job well?
Maybe we should ask these questions in our dating relationships, too! We’d probably drop the duds a lot faster and find our soul mates sooner. By the way, I can honestly answer yes to all three questions in my marriage (my wife will be happy to hear this news, too).
Thanks for reading! See you next week.
Republish this article!
You always have our permission to republish any article in your company newsletters, personal or professional blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc. You may also run copies for staff meetings, post on bulletin boards, or tape to the back of the bathroom stall doors.
ALL WE ASK is that you include a link to our blog in case your readers would like more inspiration from us. Here’s what to say:
Like this article? Get more at www.sparknewthinking.com