Sometimes there comes a moment in life when you realize that it's time for a change. Maybe you're burning out. Maybe you hate where you work. Maybe you're not as productive or successful or innovative as you know you can be.
If you've walked away from a seemingly perfect job (on paper) to pursue a new career path or opportunity, you know what I'm talking about here. You know the relief that comes from taking control of your future. But what you probably didn't know - what most people don't know - is how people in your life were going to react to your decision.
Here are four things only people who have left that seemingly perfect job for something that is right for them really understand:
1. People in your life will want you to justify your decisions to them.
It makes sense that people won't understand what you're doing at first. It's new, it's unexpected, and it's not the "normal" thing to do. But there's a fine line between wanting to know more and requiring that someone justify their decisions. Watch out for people who want to drain your time, energy, or confidence by defending your thinking or new way of living.
It's not your job to get them to buy into your new life or career choice. Keep your head down, live your life, and remember that you know what you're doing.
2. People will try to stop you from changing.
Change is uncomfortable. And when you make a big change in your career, it causes ripples in other areas of your life. People who are comfortable with where you are - in your career, at your level of success, in your salary bracket - might try to get you to keep doing what you're doing because they want things to stay the same.
You know what's right for you. If you know it's time to leave your job or try something new, don't let naysayers stop you. If your decision doesn't negatively impact your immediate family then it's yours to make and yours alone. However, if it does impact your family, getting the support from your partner is key.
3. People may think you're judging their decision to stay in their mediocre jobs.
Once people see how excited you are about your new job or opportunity, they might get defensive. When they see you leaving traditional employment or a "normal" job because it wasn't good enough for you, they might make that about them.
It's human for people to look at a choice you're making for yourself and make it about them. It's not necessarily right, but it's understandable. But that doesn't mean you have to take it to heart. Let them know - firmly, clearly, and repeatedly, if necessary - that you're doing what's best for you. Make sure they know it's not about them or their choices.
4. People may treat your decision as a joke or phase.
Anytime you walk away from something socially acceptable and toward something that isn't what most people consider normal, it's going to make people nervous. To cope with how uneasy they feel, people might try to trivialize your experience, your thoughts, or your decision. Often, this can involve joking about your new job, your big idea, or your perceived "flakiness." Other times, people might just treat this new job or pursuit as a phase that they think you're likely to grow out of eventually.
It's hard not to get upset when people treat your new job or career path like a joke, especially when you're putting in hard work, time, and money into it. Just remember that the only thing that matters is how you feel about this transition. Just keep doing what works for you.
It's hard enough to try something new, especially something like changing careers or leaving a good job behind. While it can be frustrating to see and hear these reactions from people in your life, just remember to keep prioritizing your health and happiness. That's what will get your far - in life, at home, and in your career.