“I don’t have a choice”

I had just given a talk and one of the participants had come to speak to me afterwards. The company had been through a lot of organizational change and there was a lot of uncertainty. She was clearly not happy at the company but she felt like she had no choice but to stay in a job she didn’t want to do.

I know this feeling myself too. Back in the financial crisis of 2009, there was a lot of uncertainty. People were often waiting to see what would happen after the next wave of redundancies and therefore found it unsettling and difficult to plan their lives.

I understand that people have families, mortgages and commitments and you don’t want to walk away from a well paying job. What you do have is a choice, even if you don’t think you do.

I attended a town hall meeting years ago and the new CEO of the company had been listening to someone moan about the situation. He surprised us all by saying “You can always leave”. At the time, his answer was a bit of a shock but later I realized that he was right. There was no one holding a gun to that person’s head. He could be somewhere else, yet he continued to be there.

We can find another job, set up our own thing, start thinking in solutions, be grateful for what we have, change our attitude. We always have a choice.