Too good to leave; too bad to stay - career edition?
August 28, 2018 12:17 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know if there is a career equivalent for the relationships book “too good to leave, too bad to stay” ? I feel like my career falls squarely in that category and I’m wondering what to do.

My job is as a Policy Officer in the Department of Teapots at the Australian Federal Government. It has reasonable pay and good conditions, the people are ok (not my best friends but I’m hardly getting bullied), the location is bearable (though I’d rather it were somewhere else) the amount of work is alright (a bit variable but I can cope) the kind of work is ok (I’m not excellent at it and I don’t really enjoy it but neither am I hopeless at it and I don’t hate the tasks) so it is all sort of middling. I’m wondering what to do for the best? Obviously I need a job to support myself otherwise I would just quit, and I’m 36 so too young to retire, but that said going there every day is not great and I would rather something better, though I have no idea how to work out what else would suit me short of trying lots of other jobs. Thoughts?
posted by EatMyHat to Work & Money (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
First thing I'd be doing in your circumstances is figure out exactly how much I disliked being employed where I was, using the following method:

1. Consider adopting a procedure where you commit to flipping some number of coins every single day and, if they all come up heads, you hand in your notice and start looking for work elsewhere.

2. How many coins would you need to use in order to make this procedure not feel completely stupid and reckless?
posted by flabdablet at 2:01 AM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

This sounds like an ideal situation to apply for jobs that really seem interesting but which you might not normally feel confident about getting. It's a good time to take some risks, in other words, since your current position is middling. Aim for things that you might normally think of as out of reach or put some time in to exploring alternatives and seeing if there are things you could do to improve your chances of finding a job you'd like more or just figuring out what else there is that could suit you better.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:32 AM on August 28, 2018 [11 favorites]

Start applying elsewhere -- there is a world of opportunities, and you might surprise yourself at how excited you are to start something new once you start applying and start getting calls and interviews.
posted by Fig at 4:22 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

The absolute best time to look for a job is when it won’t kill you if you don’t get a new job. It means you don’t express desperation at the interviews for other jobs and not getting any particular job is not soul crushing. Applying for other jobs is also really excellent way of finding out just how much you dislike the job you are in at the moment. So I am on team go look for jobs! It cannot hurt and it may will help you get a new perspective on the job you have. And that new perspective may well be that the job you currently have really does suck and how delightful that someone else has offered you something different that seems more appealing.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:17 AM on August 28, 2018

Eh...just look around and see if there's anything you want to apply for, take the job if it's offered to you and looks better compared to what you've got now. If the jobs out there turn out to be worse than what you've got, then don't bother applying/take them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:19 AM on August 28, 2018

Does anyone know if there is a career equivalent for the relationships book “too good to leave, too bad to stay” ?

Yes - Designing Your Life, I'm reading it now.
posted by capricorn at 8:44 AM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

If I were you, before I started applying for other jobs, I'd try to find out more about what I wanted to do. Start keeping a journal, for instance, and jot down the things you like about your current job and the things you don't. Read career blogs, or job descriptions and notice what grabs your attention. Go back to when you were a kid - is there something you always wanted to do, but everyone thought it was too stupid? Take an online class in a subject that interests you - LinkedIn Learning,, or Coursera are good places to start with this.

I'd also suggest looking for short-term volunteer opportunities that look interesting to you. If you enjoy them, start looking for career opportunities in those fields and find out what skills you need to grow (if any), and figure out how to do that (training, volunteering, etc).
posted by dancing_angel at 11:15 AM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

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