Working in corporate IT, it’s amazing how often I find myself fantasizing about the consulting life. To work with different companies and different people and varying cultures–each engagement new and exciting. To be able to size up a problem from the outside, and propose or implement a solution, then have the luxury of not living with the consequences of my decisions. Sure, it would probably involve more hours and certainly more travel, but the incentive-based compensation would more than make up for it, right?
Then I talk to a consultant or entrepreneur and hear about the stress of not generating enough revenue and the unpredictability of their compensation. The midnight hours spent rushing on a RFP dropped on you with little notice. The sobering reality of corporate politics in every large engagement that can sometimes leave your entire project in limbo, and you on the bench in the meantime. Oftentimes they even wax about taking a corporate role for the “stability” and “low stress” (I know I did back in the day).
It’s easy to get stuck thinking the grass is greener. We all know the cliche, but few of us live with it’s antidote, gratitude. To be able to step back and appreciate what you have and how fortunate you are to have it. How worse things could actually be, and the sobering knowledge that no matter what the job, their will be plusses and minuses. There is no perfect job–even Steve Jobs a had boss to deal with (and got fired!).
About the only thing I can think of that’s good about grass-is-greener thinking is, if channeled right, it might challenge your complacency and career inertia. By contrast, I can find no drawbacks to gratitude. It makes you a happier, better person and compels you to express thanks to others in your life–something that in the end is what life’s all about.
So next time you find yourself peering over the fence at that green grass, use that as a moment to pause, reflect, and be grateful for what you have. You’ll be happy you did.