Success Tips: Frustrated by a Double Life at Work
“I’m just sick of it,” Charlie shouted as he burst out in tears. He could not stand living the double life he was leading anymore.
It was a hot sunny day on the beach, we were supposed to be retreating from work, but Charlie was venting about it.
Charlie was very successful by the world’s standards. He had shot up the ladder at a mid-sized company and provided well for his family. He was good at what he did but had come to the end of his rope. He was burnt out, and he felt stuck. This type of conversation is commonplace for us at The Purpose Promise. Millions of people wake up every day and realize the success they were running after in their career was a myth.
I listened intently as he went on, and then gently commented on the root causes of his “stuckness”:
“Charlie, it sounds like your successful work history has created a work identity that you don’t like,” I reflected.
“Exactly. The company has a view of who I need to be, but I don’t want to be that person anymore. Who I am expected to be at work, isn’t the real me anymore. And that weighs heavily on me!”
As soon as it came from Charlie’s mouth, he realized the significance of where he arrived: He was living a double life.
Many variables of success had shifted for Charlie. The COVID years changed his priorities, and yet his work had not changed along with those priorities.
Charlie is not alone. Most of us have changed the way we view life since COVID crashed the party. The mindset shift is unique to each person. What is not unique is the frustration when someone feels they are forced to fit into an old mold at work that doesn’t reflect who they want to be.
This dissonance is a major driver of The Great Resignation. This double life is frustrating millions of workers.
How about you...
Do you ever feel like you live two separate lives? At home, you act one way. At work, you act another. You get to express your true self at home, but then you need to watch what you say and how you behave at work. You are free to be your best self, until you get to work where there is this burden of who you need to be based on old constructs.
We live in an era where we want to be free to be our authentic self. When we cannot do so at work, it stifles our joy. The result is work disengagement and a desire to just flat out quit.
Maybe, like Charlie, you did not realize you were living the double life. Maybe you do, yet you don’t know exactly how to integrate your ideal life at home with your work. It may be your environment, or it may be a conscious effort to communicate your needs.
Most people do one of two things that keep them spinning in their double life:
- They quit with little knowledge of how to find work that mimics their true self
- They stay put and stay miserable because they are not equipped to ask their employer to adapt to their new view of success
In both cases, there is a feeling of being stuck, and a lack of hope. The only way to create better options is with a greater self-awareness of the complete new view of success.
Charlie took the wise route. He worked through The Purpose Promise with a guide. He learned what his new view of success was at home. Then, he communicated his revelation to his employer with the conviction of living his best life at home and at work.
He was prepared to leave them, but they wanted to keep him. They adapted a few things for him to integrate his best self at home AND at work.
Many others that we work with decide to leave their employer, but they have the self-awareness of what they want so they don’t have to get stuck in the double life.
Either way, self-awareness to define your new view of success is the tool to fix the double life epidemic. Don’t settle with the double life. Be like Charlie and gain the awareness necessary to navigate to your most important life at home and at work.