It happens all the time.
You're in a position where you MUST make a decision that will affect the course of your life forever.
Even choosing the status quo is a decision.
Maybe you're working a "dead-end" job. It's been more years than you care to admit. You have to decide between staying put or quitting because the probability of getting a promotion is so low.
Your back is against the wall.
It feels like the organization is against you. It feels like everyone has more seniority than you. It feels like everyone thinks you are the best at your current job and only wants to hire you for your current level. No one wants to promote you.
Option A: If you stay put, you'll continue to get a paycheque with an annual inflation increase. You'll continue to get your extended health benefits. Maybe you're one of the "lucky" ones that have a pension.
If you take Option A, you'll be able to continue to put food on the table, enjoy your weekends and weeknights, and continue to live exactly the same lifestyle you currently have.
But if you take Option A, that's probably as good as it's going to get. Is that good enough for you?
Option B: You can quit, but find another job at a different company. Maybe you have too many cards stacked against you at your current company. You don't have enough executive sponsors to vouch for your skills and ability to get the promotion. If you go to another company you won't have sponsors right away either, you'll have to spend years building that trust. But starting with a clean slate is better than sticking with a dirty slate.
A big part of life satisfaction is knowing that you are valued by others. This is especially true with your work. If you are not appreciated at work, you are passed by for promotions, you are not recognized for your achievements, or you have a boss that has no empathy towards you, these are detrimental to your happiness and health.
This makes Option A a detriment to your happiness and health. Option B is a good option but requires more time at the same level just at a different company.
What about Option C?
Option C: Go for the low probability promotion. Do the work, put the effort, change your mindset and ask for the promotion. Find out exactly what it will take for you to be promoted and start working on each thing one by one.
Make it clear to your sponsors what you are doing to make improvements. Make it clear that you are putting in the extra effort so that you can get to the next level.
Make no excuses.
Do what you are scared to do.
If you still find roadblocks, at least you tried, you gained new skills and confidence.
If you take Option C and it fails, you can then take Option B with a better chance of getting the promotion you want at a different company.
When a Zebra is being chased by a Lion and has nowhere to run. His back is against the wall. All he can do is be eaten or fight back. The first option doesn't work out so great for the Zebra.
Be like a Zebra with your back against the wall.
Fight to the very end.
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.