About a month ago, a dear friend of mine reached out to me with JUST this problem. She reached out to me for advice, feeling that I'd definitely understand her situation.
I did. But, I'm not really in the business of giving advice.
I believe we all know (sometimes deep, deep down) EXACTLY what we need to do, but we get stuck allowing ourselves to do it. Sometimes we need to let go of the beliefs that are holding us back from what we really want, sometimes we need to let go of what other people think of us, and sometimes we need validation that what we want is OK.
So, here's how are conversation went:
Her: I was wondering if I could throw a situation at you and ask your opinion? I feel like I know what the "right" decision for me is, but I may be too concerned with how others will perceive it.
Me: Of course!
Her: In January I had applied for two promotions, one in the section I currently work in and one in [a different] section. I had my [different section] interview (the one I was really hoping to get) and found out that I didn't get it. I have an interview schedule for my section on Tuesday. Problem is, I don't really want the job. I'm really happy doing what I do now and that would TOTALLY change. It would be more money, but I really don't see myself being happy... I know there will be another opportunity in my section soon, and there's also a transfer possibility to another section that I'm interested in. I guess maybe I know what I want to do, but I'm scared of how it will look to supervisors and peers if I cancel the interview. Does any of this make sense or am I just crazy? I was just so unhappy and not satisfied at work for so long, and to have that, I don't really want to risk losing it.
Me: That makes total sense. I think you should just be honest. What's your relationship like with your supervisor?
Her: I have good relationships with all the people who would be on the panel. I think my concern is mostly that I know a lot of supervisors think I'm a good candidate for the position and don't understand where I am coming from. But they are literally all miserable in their jobs. Why would I willingly put myself in that situation?
I worry too much about other people and how things are perceived and I'm trying to worry more about myself and my happiness. Because ultimately I'm the one who needs to be happy. I'm slowly realizing that.
Me: That makes me so happy to hear. I'd tell them as soon as possible if you're sure, but if you feel like you need the weekend then take it...Also, I'd tell them exactly what you told me. That you are interested in a promotion/ higher position but you just don't think this is the right one for you.
Her: Or the right time. It just doesn't feel right, right now.
Me: At the end of the day, all you can do is be honest and true to what you want. They can choose to agree with it or not, but there's nothing you can do about that.
Her: Exactly! Thanks so much!!
Me: Let me know what you decide!
This is exactly the type of stuff I help clients work through in my 1-1 coaching, so if you're feeling like you need support, let's hop on a Discovery Call.
By the way, a few weeks later, I received this follow-up message from her:
"My boss got back to me on Monday. Didn't say much but did say that she respected and understood my decision and how much of an asset I am to our section. A lot of people didn't quite get my choice, but I am 100% confident that I made the right one."
Oh... and get this:
"When I got home from work today a friend who was still at work told me they sent out an email for a transfer opportunity to [a different section]. That's where I want to be. I can't help but think it's fate that the position is open....Everything happens for a reason, right?!"
The morale of this story, my dear? Do what's right for you, right now. You're the one that has to live with those choices. Opportunities abound (really and truly, they do! My resume is proof of that), so know the right opportunity will show up for you at the right time.