Are You Getting Shawshanked at Work?


Maybe you and prison thinking aren't so far apart...

“It’s time to start living, or it’s time to start dying.”
-The Shawshank Redemption

We’ve all been there – that comfortable place where you are in control at your office. You know your place in the company, people trust you, and you have gotten really really REALLY comfortable in your work.  Your box of  killer heels is under the desk. Your mug is clearly labeled, and people know to stay away from your left-over chinese food in the fridge if they want to keep their fingers.

I was almost there for a time – I’d been at my consulting firm for five years, and the thought of leaving was really scary. I knew the rules of my company and profession well, I’d kept my desk plant alive for over three years, and my box of shoes could not do enough for me.  And, while I was not happy, I was safe.  I was soooo comfortable, and I was worried that I’d gotten so far into a rut that I would not be able to make a change.  What if I could not hack it at a new job? How would I learn the rules? Would I be ok?

That feeling always made me think of the movie The Shawshank Redemption – that after years of being in prison, inmates could not survive on the outside.  Too much time had passed and the prison had become their only world.  It was the place where they understood the rules, where they fit in, and it felt like home.

But the irony of course, is that their home was a prison.

At some point you have to look at your job and ask “Are you getting Shawshanked?” Are you staying in a place because you have gotten so comfortable that you can no longer imagine life on the outside? Are you letting your comfort zone guide your career decisions? Has your box of shoes taken over your desk?

This feeling of comfort is something that creeps up on you, so it IS important to take stock every now and again, and ask yourself: “If I was to die in five years, would I want to stay at this job – or is there something else I want to do with my life instead?”

If you answer yes to the second question, well — it’s time to start living.  Shake up your life, try something new, and really go after LOVING your job.

You can do it!


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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.