Trading in your pain
The pain of a lousy boss, of careless mistakes, of insufficient credit. The pain of instability, of bullying, of inadequate tools. The pain of poor cash flow, corrosive feedback and work that isn't worthy of you.
Pain is part of work. And it leads to two mistakes.
The notion that you can trade your way out of pain.
"If I just get a little bigger, a little more famous, a little richer--then the pain will go away."
This notion creates a cycle of dissatisfaction, an unwillingness to stick it out. There's always a pain-free gig right around the corner, so screw this, let's go try that.
The truth is that pain is everywhere, in every project and in every relationship and in every job. Wandering from one to another merely wastes your energy.
The other choice, though, is:
Embracing your current pain and avoiding newer, unknown pains.
This is precisely the opposite mistake. This leads to paralysis. Falling in love with the pain you've got as a way of avoiding unknown future pains gets you stuck, wasting your potential.
As usual, when confronted with two obvious choices, it's the third choice that pays.