It’s a classic winter day here in Cleveland. Highs in the 30’s and 8-10 inches forecasted to fall between Sunday and Monday morning. Along with the snow comes the usual amount of reactions: panic rushes to the grocery store (I thought this only happened in Richmond, I was wrong), complaints about the snow and cold and of course delight from those that love winter weather.
Living in northern climates can be tough on the body and mind when the winter seems endless and you haven’t seen green grass for a month but I find that a big portion of coping is determined by your attitude.
My un-scientific observation is that people either embrace the cold and snow (yea its 35!) or they spend 4-5 months of the year miserable and complaining. Yes, the snow gets old and yes layering up gets old but on the other hand its January. What do you expect when you live in a cold climate?
To survive a long, cold winter you either embrace it or change it.
I feel the same way about work.
Most of us have to work. We don’t have the option to holiday for three months while deciding our next job. Where and who we work with has a huge influence on our personal happiness just like the climate we live in. For some, the cold climate of the Midwest is too much. Others, couldn’t fathom living in an area so hot you don’t get a true change in season. Companies and work places are similar. Some love the long hours and ultra- competitive nature of some companies, others enjoy a slower pace where they don’t have to worry constantly about an “up or out” mentality.
To survive the 30-40 years most of us will spend working you have to determine what you can tolerate, what you can embrace and what you want to change.
An example from my early work career: I started off my post-college career with a job in customer service. Which I hated. I hated it with a passion. The problem is that I liked everyone I worked with, I just hated my job in customer service. I weighed the plusses and minuses and decided I could not embrace the customer service role, there was literally nothing positive about that job except for the people I worked with. From that experience I learned two valuable things:
1. A good team can make a bad job tolerable
2. I was not meant to be tied to a chair answering phones and getting screamed at by people all day
Throughout my career I have done something similar when I contemplated a change:
I’ve asked myself if the problems I have with my job are petty annoyances, serious issues or just a fact of life (we will always be asked to do more with less)
I’ve asked myself if I can change my current circumstance
If I embrace my current circumstances will that be compromising my ethics? Morals? Or personal beliefs?