November 1, 2019
A disclaimer at the top that gratitude is a good thing. Being grateful can save us from living in a perpetual state of negative emotions – envy, complaining, and the worst, entitlement. I have a gratitude journal and it gets filled every night.
I’m talking about a different gratitude today. I’m talking about that job-related ‘gratitude’ that sounds like “I’m grateful to have this job” but FEELS like: I’m lucky to have this job. And sometimes like: They just hired me because they needed *someone.* And maybe with a helping of: They really just needed me for the diversity.
This is toxic gratitude. And it’s important to recognize because it leads us into a trap.
If all of the reasons they hired you, in your mind, don’t have anything to do with YOU, then you will find yourself in a habit of working to PROVE you deserved your position. This can be an easy habit to fall in, because it’s familiar.
Proving we ‘deserved’ the position is exactly what we did in residency and fellowship. We match – yay! – then spend 3-7 years working hard to prove to the folks that chose us that they didn’t make a mistake. You know that feeling? Like they took a gamble on you and now you want to show them – in all ways – just how big that gamble pays off. This can be incredibly motivating as a trainee.
THAT JIG IS UP.
You have to change this mindset. It will have you saying Yes, no matter how much you want to say NO. It will have you genuinely thinking you are doing your job by consistently putting the institution’s priorities over your own. And it will leave you burned out, jaded, and wondering if you simply don’t ‘have what it takes’ to really succeed. Despite all of your past progress, it can have you thinking: Maybe here is where I’ve peaked?
Not. At. All.
It’s just that you are doing a job that is impossible. If your job, somewhere in your mind, is to prove that you deserved the position you are in, then the successful completion of that job does not exist. It becomes an evergreen, everlasting hamster wheel of “If I do this, THEN I’ll have proven myself and can get to what I *really* want to do.”
My friends. That If-Then statement is a lie. There is *always* another thing.
The only thing that gets you out of this cycle is resigning from this job. Not the faculty position you EARNED, but the ‘job’ in your mind that says you have to keep earning it. That job? Is over. RESIGNATION EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
The question now is, what is your new job? What do you want it to be?
If you’re feeling up for some self-coaching, take some time to answer the questions below – just for yourself.
Decide now that you are in planning phase and your new job starts Jan 1st 2020.
Who are you really working for and what are your metrics of success?
What do you want to create and why?
What type of funding is going to get you where you need to go?
What is on your task list that needs to be cancelled or majorly remodeled?
The best part is, that once you resign from that old trainee-mindset-that-needs-to-be-retired-yesterday job, the real work (and the real FUN) begins!