New clients often ask me if they should quit their current job.
The response I give my clients is this: Unless you are able to financially support yourself for one year, or even better, two years, I caution you not to quit your current work. Trying to envision your purpose work while stressed about finances is almost impossible. Psychologist Abraham Maslow discussed this in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” back in 1943.
Maslow’s theory suggests that there are five interdependent levels of basic human needs (or motivators) that must be satisfied in a strict sequence starting with the lowest level.
Here is the list of Maslow’s human needs from lowest to highest level:
Physiological needs: food, water, warmth, rest
Safety needs: security, safety
Belonging and love needs: intimate relationships, friends
Esteem needs: prestige and feeling of accomplishments
Self-Actualization: achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities
If you were to quit your job without being able to keep up with your financial responsibilities, this would put you in the category of dealing with your safety needs, possibly even your physiological needs, based on Maslow’s theory. This would keep you out of the top level of self-actualization where one is able to explore potential, creativity and PURPOSE.
Often my clients are feeling tired and burned out from their current work, so it makes sense that they want to quit in hopes of ending their pain and suffering. BUT the reality is, if you have survived your work this long, you can survive a few more months as you start to envision your purpose work.
Rather than quit their jobs, I like to have my clients first focus on a radical self-care plan. I think it is important to regain vitality and resilience first. An important part of this self-care plan is creating some white space, or time where you can just be and just dream. Creativity is best able to rise from a relaxed state versus a place of stress or pressure. Utilizing your creativity is a powerful ingredient to activating your purpose work.
An example of a beginning Radical Self-Care Plan:
1. Look at your calendar and put time for you in it to be introspective (hike, walk, yoga, and/or meditation)
2. Take out activities that drain your energy (Learn to say NO)
3. Start each day with an intention and a few moments of quiet and/or meditation
4. Take breaks during your work day to stretch
5. End each day with a gratitude list
Career transition will truly give you a black belt in trust and faith. It is a time to dive deep within, creating lots of self-compassion and self-care in service of birthing something new–your purpose work.
It truly is possible to do work that you love, it just takes some time, and the time you put in at the beginning will have a big pay off in the end. That payoff being more connection with your authentic self while doing work that you love. You are absolutely deserving of this.
* Please note, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs expanded over the years but for this post, I am keeping it simple.