Coming to grips with the fact that I’m growing as a person is uncomfortable. I like routine and find “comfort” in convincing myself that I have to stick with one career for literally my entire working life. Acknowledging the red flags of burnout and allowing myself to dream and make goals towards new passions is scary, unsettling, yet strangely freeing and exciting. Between stages of burnout- you might be in denial that your passion is changing. Considering changing careers or backing off of your current one is basically “failure”, and that’s not allowed. I had an unrealistic expectation that the job I chose equaled a binding commitment to it.
Coming to Terms
It took about six months and multiple freak-out moments, but at some point I finally came to terms with my career:
a) that “binding” agreement I made with myself is unrealistic, b) it’s OKAY to feel a shift in passion as I grow, and c) I’m not a failure if I decide to back off of nursing full-time.
As you shift between the first two or three stages, at some point you throw your hands up and say, “OKAY FINE, I ACCEPT IT!”. And now…you’re good to go. And good to GROW.
I have plans that I’m not ready to share with you yet, but I do know that I’m ready. I’m tired of convincing myself that nursing is the only job I’m “supposed” to have for the next 35 years, and that I’m being a little whiny wimp if I feel burnout every week. Growth right now has been accepting the fact that I don’t need to suck it up and pretend to have the pure love and joy I had for healthcare a year or four ago. I’m ALLOWED to consider additional careers, and it doesn’t mean I’m a failure. After acknowledging my changing passion, I avoided acting out on a whim and took in careful consideration. We have bills to pay and prefer to live a certain lifestyle (e.g. going out for a coffee/dinner/drinks/signing up for races/traveling without needing to consult the bank account), and I still enjoy healthcare in general... Just not to the extent that I used to when I made it my career path.
Once you determine that your passion is changing:
-Take a deep breath. Then take another one. Everything will be okay, and we are meant to grow, change, and further develop as human beings.
-Talk it out with your support system(s). My friends have been great about giving advice and being there to listen as I mentally transition. It keeps me grounded, and I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone!
-Start setting intentions and making goals. This is a scary one. As I said, I like comfort, routine, and stability. But unless you start makin’ moves and putting your foot in the door, more time will pass while you’re cycling through burnout after burnout.
Am I going to quit healthcare altogether? Honestly, I’m not quite sure yet. But I’m ready to add another passion into my life. I’m ready to back off of the thing that I love, but that which also causes me stress and feelings of resentment. In fact, I’m backing off so that I CAN continue to love it like I used to.
Remember that life isn’t only about the UPs. There will be downs, stress, doubt, and resistance <— Yeah, be real with yourself. It’s not all glitter and unicorns.
Realizing that your passion is changing? IT’S O.K :)
A few months back I was listening to a podcast when I heard, “there are always options.” I’m not sure what the podcast was about or even which one I was listening to, all I remember are those words.
As soon as I heard them, I was drawn so strongly to them, I grabbed a sticky note, wrote it down and stuck it to my monitor; a place that I would see it every single day, and could glance at it at any moment when I found myself overwhelmed, lost, or just needing a little reminder.
As I have felt so many aspects of my life improving lately, rediscovering my motivation and focus, I saw that sticky note the other day and I was reminded that whatever you are facing in your life; whatever decisions or stress or anxiety; whatever excitement or joy, remember there are always options. Life is always presenting us with multiple roads and paths, and we choose the ones that seem most fitting with where we ultimately want to end up.