“Hmm…these nachos are a guilty pleasure. I haven’t been out of the house in a few days.”

Happy Hannah chows down while I gaze at all the equally happy diners at our local outdoor Mexican café.

Are all these people actually happy in their jobs? Or do they just come alive when they’re on their lunch breaks? I can’t even do that anymore.

I sip my water with lemon and say, “I know, you work in your pjs and it’s so awesome. But don’t mind me, I’m just jealous.”

Hannah says, “Girl, you’ve got to put yourself out there. I’m only doing what I love because I took a chance. You’re playing it too small.”

“You sound like that guru that you hooked up with.”

A few years ago, Hannah went to see a career coach speak about change and growth and all sorts of other pie in the sky stuff, and she wanted to drag me with her. I just wasn’t in the mood.

Hannah ended up starting her own business, quitting her job, and finding a new husband.

But none of that will happen for me, and I’ll just spend a bunch of money and end up eating noodles for six months.

Hannah shakes her head and says, “Sarah, that’s your problem. You don’t give things a chance. That guru taught me to find my passion and follow it. Now tell me, is Boring Bob still a jerk?”

“Of course!”

“Does Annoying Al still look like someone is stabbing him in meetings?”

“Absolutely.”

“And how about Smelly Sam? Still eating stinky cheese at his desk?”

I sigh and drop my head. As I do that my phone dings and I see it’s a text from Nice Nelly.

She’s really sorry, but Bob forgot to cover something in the meeting, and I have to get back to the conference room.

“Sarah, hello! What’s wrong?” Hannah is waiting for me to reply about the stinky cheese situation, but now I’m too annoyed to even joke about such things.

I tell her about the text, and Hannah blows a gasket. “What the what? That is plain ridiculous. You tell her that your tacos were just delivered to your table and you are eating them like a normal human being.”

She grabs my phone and types something that will surely get me fired, and puts it in her purse.

“Now, listen to me. When you get back to the office you are going to call Career Carol and make an appointment. Just see what she thinks of your situation.”

She pushes a business card with a smiley face on it across the table.

Career Happiness Map Coaching. Hmm…seems too positive to be real.

“Sarah, If I hadn’t gotten out when I did, I would be in the funny farm by now. Marketing batteries is not all that exciting, but at least if the people were decent, it wouldn’t have been that bad. Or the salary. Or anything. But it all sucks. Why do you stay there? You have so many talents.”

I pick up a taco and nibble on it. This conversation is killing my appetite. Hannah just doesn’t understand my situation.

“I don’t have any marketable talents. You’re so creative in the business sense. It was easy for you to become a brand strategist. I just play the saxophone and write music, and volunteer with dogs. That doesn’t add up to a career in anything.”

“Who says?” Hannah glares at me with her big brown eyes that mean business.

I wish I had just stayed at the office for lunch. The stinky cheese smell isn’t that bad. I love Hannah, but we’ve grown apart and she keeps trying to pull me out of my comfort zone.

I like my comfort zone. I don’t have to do anything scary or new. My job may suck, but at least I get paid and I have good benefits. No one really likes their job – Hannah just got lucky.

“Let’s just eat and talk about something else. How are the kids?”

Hannah says, “Okay, I’ll let it go. For now. But promise me you’ll keep that card and call Carol?”

“Okay, but I need you to give me back my phone.”

She laughs and I try to join in.

Maybe I will call Carol, but I don’t even know what I’d tell her.

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