Once I discovered that “grass-is-greener” syndrome is a thing, I felt a thousand times happier about my restlessness

Grass-is-greener syndrome is a thing

It’s the time of year when professional dissatisfaction can take hold. But Chloe Brown says it’s important to count your blessings

By Chloe Brown

When I was a teenager, my Mum bought me a fridge magnet. On it was written a simple slogan: “The road to success is always under construction.”

That phrase pretty much summed up my life. I was always on the lookout for the next opportunity.

    The road to success has to be built, or the project abandoned. Because ongoing construction is exhausting.  

Even as a young woman, I spent the vast majority of my time eyeing the future. If I could just get through GCSEs I’d be able to get stuck into A levels and study subjects I really cared about. When I finished A levels I could head to university and specialise in my chosen discipline. Then if I did okay in my degree, maybe I’d get funding for a postgrad position. And so on and so on.

The above paragraph speaks of one of the causes of my restlessness. The education system is like a giant conveyor belt. If you do well at one level, it’s natural that you progress to the next, and then the next. And then the next.

But, sooner or later, you have to settle on something. Find your level. You can’t just bounce from one thing to another. The road to success has to be built, or the project abandoned. Because ongoing construction is exhausting.

So it was that by the time I was in my early thirties, I felt utterly worn out by the constant searching for the next professional challenge. I’d completed my Master's degree, secured a PhD, done some teaching qualifications and pursued a parallel career as a journalist. I was working for a national daily newspaper and sat on the board of a few charities, advising them on communications, media relations and fundraising.

But still I wasn’t satisfied. I always felt there was something more for me. A job that I would find uniquely fulfilling.

So I wasted hours every day searching for my dream job. I couldn’t start work in the morning without trawling jobs boards and newspaper websites for vacancies. I downloaded scores of job descriptions every week, trying to work out if one of them was the opportunity for which I’d been waiting.

And yet, when push came to shove, I never got around to applying for anything. I did take on a few additional roles, but never as a result of applying for them. And it never occurred to me that they were anything other than stopgaps until my real career got underway.

Then one day I had lunch with a colleague who’d always been something of a mentor to me. I asked her what she thought I should be doing with my life, what job she thought I’d excel at.

    ...I’d always felt restless, as if my professional identity hadn’t quite been realised.  

She looked confused for a few moments, then told me that she thought I was great at the things I was doing and had a nice life with a decent income and plenty of flexibility.

Why, she wondered, would I want to change a thing?

I told her that I’d always felt restless, as if my professional identity hadn’t quite been realised. As if the best was yet to come.

This was the moment that changed my whole attitude. She told me I was suffering from “grass-is-greener” syndrome. It’s a mindset that always believes things could be better than they are. She knew about it because her therapist had diagnosed her with it, especially when it came to her relationships. She was never happy with what she had. Always wanted something more.

Immediately I heard the symptoms, I knew it was my problem. I spent my life looking over the horizon, rather than enjoying all the great things about where I currently stood.

As I drove home from that lunch, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I started to appreciate all the great features of my career to date. I got home and made a list of everything I loved about my life, including jobs, relationships, where I lived, my family. I even noted how much I liked my coffee machine and my favourite tea towel.

Now, when I feel a case of the glums coming on, I take out my list and remind myself of how lucky I am. It hasn’t quite quelled my desire to go on achieving new things. I still keep half an eye out for the next stimulating opportunity. But it’s no longer an obsession. I’m happy as I am.

And that road I was busy constructing? Turns out it was nearer to completion than I realised.

*Elements of this story have been changed to protect the author’s identity

© 2020 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 14 January 2020

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Workplace dilemmas: should I make my big promotion permanent?

You may also enjoy: Five ways to kick start your career in 2020

Jobs currently available

New job
Designer
Sector: Creative Arts and Design
Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 per annum
Location: Kelvedon
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909686
About the role

Are you an experienced Designer looking for your next opportunity?

Are you proficient on a MAC?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Kelvedon.

Your duties will include:

  • Producing good, eye-catching design concepts
  • Striving for creative output that is to the highest standards in execution and application
  • Upholding best practice ideas and aiming to consistently deliver the best design output
  • Good problem-solving and contribution towards concept idea generation
  • Proficient Mac operating and creative software skills
  • Strong design and visualisation ability
  • Contributing to creative team development with inspiration, insight and design trends found in the wider creative industry
  • Good communication skills and able to articulate work and ideas to the Creative and Client Services teams
  • Supporting the delivery of pitches and presentations
  • Well-rounded contribution to all design projects

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday 09.00 – 17.30.

If you are interested then apply today!

Read more
New job
Small Plant Engineer / Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £20,000 - £26,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909734
About the role

Just Recruitment is seeking a Small Plant Maintenance Engineer to join a company on the outskirts of Halstead, Essex.

  • Due to the company’s location, you must be able to drive to be considered for this position.
  • Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am-4.30pm - Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.
  • Working as part of a maintenance team, primarily in the workshop, to ensure all site equipment (handheld and small tools) remain serviceable, safe and functioning correctly. (Knowledge and experience of two-stroke engines will be a distinct advantage as would welding/fabricating experience.)
  • Assisting with preventative and reactive maintenance when required on all machinery and production-related equipment.
  • Carrying out other tasks and duties as reasonably directed by your Foreman and Line Manager.

Key skills and experience required:

  • Experienced mechanic with a good all-round knowledge of mechanical and electrical principles.

The company will consider a graduate/college leaver with a genuine interest in Mechanics / Engineering, as they can offer in-house training and guidance.

A competitive salary is on offer with a wide range of additional benefits.

Performance-based yearly bonus scheme, with 50% paid in December and 50% in March.

23 days paid holiday plus the statutory Bank holidays.

Health insurance policy that contributes towards dentist/optician costs, physiotherapy etc. Recently-refurbished canteen serving subsidised healthy meals produced by our experienced chef.

Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am–4.30pm – Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.

Read more
New job
Mechanical, Electrical & Trim (MET) Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Competitive depending on experience
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909711
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an experienced Mechanical, Electrical and Trim (MET) Technician on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Sudbury.

You will be keen to get involved with all aspects of the Bodyshop.

Duties:

  • To strip and fit damaged panels, interior trim and mechanical/electrical parts
  • To perform all work assigned in a timely manner, economically and to company and manufacturers standards
  • Assess faults
  • Job cards and assessment reports
  • Accessing and removing mechanical and electrical components
  • Removing and fitting non-structural body panels
  • Removing and re-installing mechanical and electrical systems
  • Vehicle valeting
  • To operate equipment and carry out all duties in a safe manner
  • To maintain equipment, protective clothing and work areas in a clean, tidy and safe condition
  • To maintain a high level of competence for the work to be undertaken by undergoing on-site training, attending courses at suppliers and manufacturers and reading technical bulletins as required

Qualifications:

  • ATA or NVQ is essential

Personal qualities:

  • Reliable friendly and willing to continue gaining training to keep up with the latest technology
Read more
New job
Semi-Experienced Estimator
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909869
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Semi-Experienced Estimator on behalf of a company based in Earls Colne, Essex.

Your main responsibilities:

  • To contact the clients, architects and engineers either by phone or email to obtain accurate information about their precast concrete flooring and/or stair requirement.
  • To produce accurate quotations that reflect the clients’ requirements.
  • To liaise with colleagues within the Sales and Estimating department regarding the project in order to increase the likelihood of securing the project.

Candidate requirements:

  • 1-2 years of experience within an Estimator position essential.
  • A good understanding of the Construction industry.
  • Additional knowledge of software such as Bluebeam and CAD software such as Autodesk is desirable although full training can be provided if necessary.
  • Outstanding time management skills with the ability to prioritise accordingly.
  • A confident and professional telephone manner is essential.

Working Monday - Friday, 40 hour week.

Free parking is available.

23 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Read more
New job
HR Administrator - FTC
Sector: Recruitment and HR
Salary: £20,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Witham
Role: Part Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 909861
About the role

Are you an experienced HR Administrator looking for your next role?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an HR Administrator to join a company on a part-time basis (20-25 hours per week) to cover maternity.

Your duties will include:

  • Assist with the recruitment process, including advertising job vacancies and arranging candidate interviews.
  • Draft and send offer letters and contracts (new starter induction packs).
  • Provide the first point of contact and excellent customer service.
  • Resolve absence, holiday queries and first level benefits queries.
  • Process leaver information ensuring all relevant information is prepared, processed and issued on time.
  • Assist/distribute company announcements and ensure communication across the group.
  • Manage department e-mail inbox.
  • Assist with payroll queries.
  • Maintain and establish accurate e-filing and storage systems in line with GDPR legislation.
  • Respond to specific requests for information from internal and external clients at all levels.
  • Managing employee data such as maintain the staff database to include the input of new starters, leavers, holidays and sickness records, probation reviews.
  • Managing internal employee recognition scheme.
  • Attend and participate in the Staff and Works Committee meetings.
  • Organise employee training.
  • Maintain Temporary worker onboarding process.
  • Review company Suggestion Boxes.
  • Maintain organisational charts.
  • Assist the HR Manager with other duties in line with candidate’s skills and experience.

You will have experience in working with confidential information and in an HR environment, as well as have good analytical skills.

This is a part-time, contract position working 20-25 hours per week.

Interested? Apply today!

Read more