I just watched The Prince of Pennsylvania, based on the true story of John DuPont. It is the documentary of the same story told in the recent movie Foxcatcher for which Steve Carrell takes a dramatic turn and received an Oscar nomination.
Even if you are not familiar with the movie, you likely have heard the name DuPont, one of the oldest, wealthiest families in America. I won’t provide any spoilers, particularly because the basic plot line is revealed quickly and the foreshadowing gives away the ending.
Dupont is the archetype eccentric millionaire. He decides to support top American wrestlers, since wrestling – as in real wrestling – has no professional outlet in the US. Dupont sets up a spectacular wrestling facility and offers full room, board, and stipends to attract the Shultz brothers, among other elite wrestlers.
All goes well initially until Dupont’s mental health begins to decline.
The wrestlers, individually and collectively, are faced with a decision: do they leave or do they stay?
Those that stay do so for the same reasons most people stay in jobs too long: the perception of economic security. In the present, they are living in a beautiful farm. Their needs are met. Those that leave see the future with greater clarity. Dupont’s rapidly deteriorating mental health has made their economic security an illusion.
I see the same pattern with many of our career counseling clients. “They know me. I’ve been her 15 years. I’ve had good reviews.” These are some of the reasons given by clients for why they believe they are secure, even in the face of obvious economic disruption. We are no longer playing by 20th century rules of corporate security. “They” are a core group of C-level executives who probably don’t know you, don’t care how long you’ve been in the company, and don’t know about your good reviews. “They” are making macro decisions about selling the company, eliminating your department, merging with another company, cutting the workforce and all sorts of other financial moves that disregard your individuality.
Watch The Prince of Pennsylvania (Netflix) or Foxcatcher. It might give you renewed motivation to change jobs.