Why Didn’t Darrin Quit? Five Steps to Help You Avoid Being Bewitched

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When I was growing up, the “right” thing to do was find a job and stick with it. People didn’t jump from job to job, career to career. You picked a field of study in your youth and remained until receiving your ceremonial gold watch. Turns out, this might not have been the best advice. Did Darrin Stephens lead me astray?

In the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, Darrin Stephens was the devoted husband of a witch who suppressed her powers so as to be a typical suburban housewife. Each episode featured Darrin’s less-than-pleasant boss attempting to win a new advertising account. Larry Tate would threaten and intimidate and, with only one expectation in the show’s eight-year run, Darrin would win the account.

We can discuss the proper ways to motivate and engage staff, but Darrin bears some responsibility for not leaving. Did Darrin lack the confidence to leave Larry’s agency or did the stability make up for the abuse? Regardless, Darrin epitomized the mid-century workingman ideals for stick-to-itiveness.

According to a new study, Darrin did himself a disservice. This research shows that jumping between jobs early in your career improves your chances of finding a more satisfying and higher paying profession. The study goes on to show that young people aren’t any more likely to quit today than they were forty years ago. The difference is that they are now more likely to try an entirely new occupation.

Job-hopping is actually correlated with higher incomes, because people have found better matches—their true calling.

Finding your true calling is not easy. Most of us want different things out of life then we did ten years ago. Yet, we feel trapped in our past choices and resist the discomfort that goes along with making large-scale life choices. I’m not so naïve as to minimize our financial obligations; unlike the 20-somethings mentioned in the research, most of us are not in a position to throw everything away and start over. But if you crave increased job satisfaction, there are ways to get closer to finding your true calling.

  1. Stop telling yourself that you’re trapped. You may not be able to quit tomorrow, but there are actions you can take to prepare for the next phase of your career.
  2. Once you’ve convinced yourself that changes need to be made, decide what you want to do. If this is too far-reaching, consider the tasks that you look forward to or the aspects of your non-work time that can become a career.
  3. Once you have a direction, how can you get there? Do you need more education or experience? Can you meld your true calling with your current life or will it require a clean break between the old and new?
  4. Create a timeline with everything you need to do to make the transition. This will provide a sense of urgency and a means to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Do it.

If you are capable and in a stable work environment, you may be able to spend the rest of your career at your current job. If this sounds good, congratulations! You’re in the right place doing the right thing. If this sentiment makes you sad, angry or hopeless, do something about it. The Larry Tates of the world are not interested in your hopes, dreams or desires. And you can’t rely on witchcraft to improve your situation. If you want it, it is up to you.

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