I was talking to my friend at lunch yesterday. He’s ambitious, he’s frustrated with his job, and he’s ready to move on.

“How’s the job hunt going?” I asked.

“Not really going, I haven’t done much lately.”

After talking for a few more minutes, I realized that things aren’t that bad in his office lately. He’s getting along with his boss again, and there’s less stress overall. In other words, he’s comfortable. While he’s still unsatisfied with his work, the comfort is enough to put his job hunt on the backburner.

It’s amazing how introducing a little bit of comfort makes ambition go right out the window.

I’m not innocent of this crime. I used to work in a mailroom. It was miserable, humbling, backbreaking labor. Sorting mail and delivering packages, day after Groundhog Day. I would have nightmares about missing packages. I thought this would be a temporary job, instead it dragged on for two painful years. I can’t tell you how many mornings I didn’t want to wake up anymore.

But even in that dark era, there was comfort. My job was predictable, and I was good at it. More importantly, I worked with some fun people, and most days they were the only thing that kept me coming back. No matter how miserable I was, the alternative was taking a risk and stepping into the unknown. Instinctively, that was even more unnerving.

Every time I got a little comfortable in the mailroom, I didn’t realize that I was extending my prison sentence for months. Finding a job in this market is incredibly difficult, and without consistency and momentum, I had no chance of making it out.

I was fortunate that things got extremely in comfortable when, in a fit of rage, my boss accidentally leaked that the whole department was being laid off. That was the discomfort I needed to move on with my life, and luckily it worked out. Unfortunately, a lot of other good people still lost their jobs.

Maybe next time someone says, “have a nice day,” I’ll reply with, “nope, I hope it’s full of discomfort.”

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