My path led me to jump ship…to do something extreme. It was the only option that made sense to me at the time. I had run myself into the ground…and had nothing left to give to a new job. I barely had anything left to give myself. Leaving the rat race and diving head first into the human race was what I had to do to survive.
Not everyone needs such an extreme change to find happiness, though. For some people a job change is exactly what’s needed…and maybe even a change after that until you find a place that feels like home. That was the path that Mr. Universe took.
When I met him he was a manager at a car dealership. He’d been in management for almost 25 years at a variety of stores, and he was burned out. He and his boss had very different philosophies and didn’t see eye-to-eye. That coupled with the usual office politics made for chaotic and hectic days.
As our relationship progressed and he started coming to my house directly after work, I could see the toll his job was taking. The Mr. Universe that would walk in the door after work was a lot different than the Mr. Universe I’d see on his days off. I know that this is true, to some extent, for everyone in every job. But he was nearly a different person.
Finally he started sharing his frustrations. It was pretty clear he was nearing the end of his rope with his boss. Still being relatively new to Indy, it wasn’t as easy to job hop as it had been previously. This market takes a different type of finesse. When he couldn’t take it anymore, I told him he should quit. His happiness was far more important than a job title. I didn’t care what he did for a living as long as he could pay his bills.
Within weeks…maybe even days…he quit. For the first time in his life, he didn’t feel like he had to be a manager. Like part of why I liked him had to do with his job or money. I’d given him the freedom to ask himself what he wanted to do with his career…with his life. And for that, we both know how lucky we were.
Feeling that he needed a break from management, he took a job as a salesman. Back to basics with the intention to leave work at work. This was the right move for a short time. As much as he loved the group he worked for…and as much as he thought his burnout was solely attributable to his old boss…he started to realize he needed a bigger change.
And then came the potential to work doing something he’d always dreamt of doing…working at a Harley Davidson dealership. To me this didn’t seem like that drastic of a change. I mean you’re still in the personal transportation busy, right? Yes and no. A car is often a necessity for people, but a Harley is a luxury buy. Those are two very different mindsets.
He’s found his way back to management. Selling a product he loves and believes in. Surrounded by people that feel the same way. The atmosphere is relaxed yet driven. He gets to wear jeans and boots to work…and listens to hard rock all day (ewe). But it’s an environment that makes him happy and that’s what matters.
Just two weeks into the job, he’s able to see how clearly his work affected his life. How not being happy at work meant not being happy at home. It’s too hard to separate the two. He’s almost like a different person…actually, probably more like the happy-go-lucky, carefree guy I met on our first date.
So to those folks that read my blog and think, “I’ll never be happy because I can’t retire yet.” Nonsense. Maybe your move doesn’t have to be that drastic. Maybe it really is just about finding a place to work that feels like home.