What’s the most important question to ask when shopping for shoes?
Style? Cost? Material?
All valuable, but the most important question for actually buying a pair of shoes is:
Do they fit?
If they don’t, the rest of those questions don’t really matter.
I’ve made this mistake with pants more times than I care to admit. I try a pair of pants on. They’ve got the right look, the right style, the right price. And I somehow manage to look past that the pants don’t fit me. This has somehow happened at least 5 times in my life.
I’ve done similar things with jobs. I might take a job that looked good, came with a lot of perks…and just didn’t fit me all that well.
My last full-time job as a corporate attorney was a good example. When I went to tell my managing partner, a man for whom I have a lot of respect, that I’d decided to quit my comfortable job, his response:
What took you so long?
He knew the job wasn’t a great fit for me. Everybody knew it wasn’t.
There’s a tendency to demonize or vilify a job that isn’t going well. The boss is a this. Coworkers are total thats. Customers are evil.
All those things may be true. I don’t know. But regardless of whether those things are true, what’s definitely true is that negative thinking has an adverse impact both on your quality of life and on your ability to do something about it.
Would you get pissed at a pair of shoes that pinched your toes?
No. You just try different pairs of shoes until you find a good fit.
Granted, jobs involve more considerations than shoes. It’s not that simple. But the same principles apply.
I left that law firm on very good terms and have maintained a close relationship with people there, both personally and professionally. My decision to leave wasn’t about the job or the people there being bad. I made my decision based on fit, have prioritized fit in the three-and-a-half years since, and have been very pleased with the results.
When I figure out how to do the same things with pants, we’ll really be in business.