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I'd Rather Leave That Job While I'm In Love

When I was growing up in the 1970s I once heard a love song on TV called ‘I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love’. 

In looking it up today I found out that it had been covered by some major singers,

including Rita Coolidge and Dusty Springfield.  However, I can’t recall whose version it was.  Having not heard the song again from that time to this, it’s fair to assume that, no offence intended, it didn’t have a major impact on me. 

However, for some unknown reason, the song’s title did stick with me.  Oddly, perhaps, I was often reminded of the title after I had entered the world of work.  Why, you may reasonably ask?  Well, it’s like this.  When starting out I suppose I was just excited to have completed my education and be out there making my way in the world.  After so many years of education, full-time work was exciting and novel.  I wanted career success and had it all to look forward to.  I was enjoying my first fulltime role and while I knew that I would want to progress to other roles in future, I wasn’t that bothered about having my entire career planned out ahead of me.  I quite enjoyed the idea of ‘come what may’.  I didn’t truly anticipate the time would come when I wouldn’t be enjoying my current role as much.  However, in time I learnt that regardless of how much I would initially like and enjoy my new role, or learnt from it, or even if it paid very well, some of the shine would inevitably wear off.  In fact, on a couple of occasions I got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying them at all.   

Like most of our experiences, our career development for good, or ill, can teach us a lot about ourselves.  For example, I learnt that for me, at least, even my favourite roles went through three broad stages:

  • · Stage One – the excitement and novelty of the new role meant that I would be fully engaged.  I would aim to learn the role and excel in it to the best of my ability.  I would feel challenged and experience a nervous excitement;
  • · Stage Two – I was enjoying the challenge and gaining expertise.  At this stage I was still fully engaged and feeling satisfaction at achieving success – which hopefully, was not the same as arrogance; and
  • · Stage Three – At this point I was likely to be maintaining my expertise, but I had probably proved my capability to myself and getting comfortable.  The challenges were fewer and further between.  Excitement and engagement were likely to be giving way to dedication to the role and maintaining my professionalism out of a sense of personal pride.  This way could lead to boredom, if I wasn’t careful.

So when I became able to identify my ‘three stages’ I also became better at accepting that, at the latest, I should aim to make my next career move at around the start of ‘Stage Three’ as ‘I’d rather leave while I was still in love’.  You see, it would be very dangerous to discover what a hypothetical ‘Stage Four‘ might be like.  Looking for a new post when you may be at a point of loathing of your current post and being desperate to leave is not a positive way to go on the job hunt.  At this point you may go for positions that you don’t truly want.  Your unhappiness at work may lead to a deterioration of performance or current working relationships which cannot help you present yourself at your best to prospective employers. 

As with most big events in life give some thought to your future career before you are forced to.  Don’t wait till your work life is so hideous that you can’t bear to go in in the mornings. 

So, even though you may feel that you are very comfortable where you are, as the old song says, ‘leave while you’re still in love’.