5 Years

I reckon that’s how long it takes me to get itchy feet and a need for change. Some people seem to be able to stay in a job for 20 or 30 years but I’m not that person.

When you’re 47 you have enough life in which to observe patterns and this seems to be my ‘transition point’. No matter what it is I’m doing, after 5 years I seem to be scratching my head and wondering if there is something out there that is more meaningful, more stimulating, more purposeful…

Mid-life crisis aside I think I am just about there with retic and turf. Maybe its been the heat of the last 3 weeks that has smashed me a bit, but equally I’m feeling a bit over it all.

It seems the ‘5 years’ has several discrete stages:

1. A new adventure – where I discover a new skill, ability or focus and I get my teeth into it. This is often an exhilarating time as I am usually out of my depth and just surviving. I like the steep learning curve but you can’t live here!

2. I can do this – In this stage I have got the basics happening well and I’m enjoying being able to do something new.

3. I can do this well – By now competence is high and some of the job is virtually automatic. Its a time to focus on doing things better. Improving systems and getting a better result for the same effort.

4. I am not enjoying this as much and losing interest – In all the roles I have had (and there has been a heck of a lot of variety) there seems to come a point when I lose interest. It happens slowly and shows up in poor work, or a lack of effort maybe because I feel I am competent and can cruise. Of course that only re-inforces the feeling of needing a change.

5. I’ll give this one more year… – If i learnt anything from the past its that this phase needs to be cut as short as possible. Usually a year is enough to finish up actually hating whatever it is that I have been doing and hoping I never need to do it again. So once I observe myself in ‘disinterest’ phase its time to flag it and look to shift into a new space.

I’ve never had to do a job I have hated simply to pay the bills and I hope I never have to. However I know that’s where many people live and have no choice.

So I’m currently observing that with retic I’m in a ‘stage 4 mindset’. I’m struggling to stay interested and motivated and on the lookout for new opportunities. It makes me chuckle a bit because it was only 6 months ago that I was loving it, feeling inspired and wondering about what the future may hold for it. I considered expanding and ramping things up, but realised that wasn’t where I wanted to invest my life. Maybe that choice – to ‘maintain’ – has been the catalyst for my discontent.

These days I find myself limiting my work, and my work areas, giving heaps of work away because I don’t want it and living with an ear to the ground for any new adventures or business opportunities.

The big challenge in any change would be relinquishing my autonomy and taking a drop in income as that would be inevitable, but I’m even at a point where I’d be willing to drop a decent slab of income to feel inspired again and get back on the learning curve.

The flip side is that I wonder if there is something I need to learn in moving thru the boredom phase. Maybe nothing else will present itself and I will just have to figure out how to be content in this space.

Anyone else observe any similar patterns in their lives?

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