I have always been a very risk averse person. And I don’t particularly enjoy change. Even good change. I like structure. Predictability. Sercurity. I like these things so much that, on occasion, I have stayed in rather unpleasant situations far longer than I should have, simply because I knew what to expect. After all, it could always be a little bit worse, right? The devil you know, and all that….
It’s not that I’ve never taken chances. Of course I have. And most of those risks have paid off. I took a chance when I moved to a city where I knew absolutely nobody. I took a job with absolutely no guaranteed hours, hoping like mad that I would somehow make enough money to pay off my $50000 student loan. I took a chance on love when I met my husband. I took a chance when I had my daughter… which might sound weird, but having a baby is the biggest lifestyle change of all. You simply can’t predict how you are going to feel when you suddenly have this tiny, helpless creature in your arms.
All of these changes turned out well, but I admit that I struggled to adapt in each and every case. I suspect that the struggle stems from the fact that, for every successful, worthwhile change I have made, there have been a million mistakes and bad decisions. The abusive boyfriends. The rather impulsive choice of career. Taking on a bigger mortgage than I probably should have. And so on, and so on. Many of these choices have left me damaged in some way- physically, mentally, or emotionally. And all of them together have left me terrified of stepping outside my comfort zone.
I have been unhappy in my job for a long time. Maybe unhappy is the wrong word- restless, weary. A little bit bored. Perhaps those are better choices. So, for years, I have been applying for jobs- looking for a change that, given the completely saturated job market, I thought would never come. So imagine my suprise when, just a few days ago, I was offered the most recent job I had interviewed for.
Given my strong propensity for sameness and security, being offered a job that ticked all the proverbial boxes (and, quite frankly, seemed a little bit too good to be true) lead to cognitive dissonance like I had never experienced before. On one hand, here was an exciting job that suited my lifestyle and personality, and would allow me to be home for dinner with my family every night. But it was newly created position in an environment where budget cuts are happening each and every day. On the other hand, I have so much security in my old job that I would almost have to murder someone in the lobby with an axe to get fired… but I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about being stuck there for another fourteen years until retirement.
Change always comes with risk. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not what you hope to achieve is worth risking everything for. Whether or not you can close your eyes and step from the precipice on front of you, without knowing what lies below.
Sometimes, you can’t. But sometimes, you can. Sometimes, it is worth it.
I accepted the job. I start on June 20th.