You Have the Power (So Keep It)

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I had a conversation with a friend who just changed jobs.  She had been a stylist for a big company for product and promotional shoots.  She’s great at what she does and is full of creativity and passion.

Unfortunately, the company wasn’t interested in her great ideas.  They had systems and processes that were more important.

Structure and procedure have their place— the company is doing well.  But its priorities are to play it safe and not rock the boat (along with barely paying their employees).

That’s a tough environment for a highly creative and forward-thinking stylist.

It was only a matter of time before she quit. After all, why would she stay?

She has too much to do in her life to wait around hoping the company will promote her to a place where she can make a difference and where her ideas can be heard.

Some time ago I worked for an organization that did the kind of work I wanted to do, but my role wasn’t in a place of impact. I didn’t mind what I did, but I wanted to move up and have my chance at the work I longed to be a part of.

I felt that way for more than a year. It was like I was in limbo— waiting for the chance to do the real work and stuck doing the other important, yet not energizing work.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. I kept asking for more, and I kept being told more would come… someday.

Someday didn’t come, at least not in the way that I thought it would.

I eventually was given the chance to move up, but without the space to add my own voice.

I waited a long time for that chance, and when it came, it wasn’t want I actually wanted.

I (finally) chose to leave the organization.

I’m not telling you these stories to get you to quit your job. That’s not what this is about. This is about power, agency, and remembering that you are more free than you think you are.

My stylist friend chose to keep her power, passion, and agency and to go make something with her work. Now she’s working for a boutique that loves her and her ideas.  It’s fantastic, and she’s killing it.

My choice to leave that organization eventually gave me the space to start The Meaning Movement.

Don’t leave the power in someone else’s hands.[tweet that]

Find a place where your ideas matter and where you can effect change and make a difference.

Take matters into your own hands.  This is your life, your work week, and your work years.  Don’t let them go to waste.[tweet that]

Be smart. But don’t leave the choice in someone else’s court.

Find another way. You have the power.

Keep it.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 8 Comments On This Post.

  1. Bill Swan

    I love this Dan. There are so many people who feel stuck, when in reality they’re not. This blog reminded me of the incredible opportunities I get to do what I’m passionate about, to be creative, and to bring about change. Thanks for that!

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s so great that you’ve found a place to do work that is such a good fit for you. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  2. Mikki

    This is great! I can totally relate to this. I was working in retail while job searching for something I really want to do but I realized that I was no longer happy where I was working. I figured if I put all my energy and time from my old job to invest in finding a job I want, it was worth quitting and moving on. I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere close to my dreams so I quit to pursue my dreams.

    • Dan

      Love it, Mikki. How has the transition gone for you? What happened after you quit?

      • Mikki

        Thanks for replying. To be honest, the transition hasn’t been easy. I realized I felt even more discouraged couple weeks after quitting because I felt no purpose or motivation. I took a break and visited my brother out of state for 2 weeks. Spending time with family and resting/reflecting helped a lot. I am going back home now to face the reality again and be productive again.

        • Thanks for the follow up, Mikki! It sounds challenging. But you are moving in the right direction. I hope you can find some strength knowing that. Let us know if we can help

  3. “This is about power, agency, and remembering that you are more free than you think you are.” An important and timely reminder. Thank you, my friend.

    • Dan

      I’m so glad. Thanks for reading and for saying so 🙂

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