Trading in Your Pain

I read Seth Godin’s blog fairly regularly and even bought one of his most recent books, Poke the Box (an excellent book, by the way). He had a post a few days ago called Trading in Your Pain. It’s about the perception that whatever pain you feel in your current job, there’s a way past it.

“If I just get a little bigger, a little more famous, a little richer—then the pain will go away.”

He also suggests that are two ways out: leave and find something else, or stay and suffer and be unrewarded. Given these choices, he suggests taking the third option.

But what is the third option? This is something that took me several tries to figure out. For a while, I would follow the second option, then a while later, I would be forced into the first option. And in choosing the first option, I would move across the country. These were expensive, time-consuming choices.

Over the last few years, I’ve chosen to learn everything I can about the job I’m doing, suggest and implement improvements, and generally improve myself. I have been rewarded in my efforts, having recently moved into a job that gives me more autonomy to suggest and implement real changes and generally to be the expert.

The third option is to work through it. That may mean suffering for a while and probably means leaving and finding something else, but only in order to learn what you need to know and then get a chance to do it.