UNITED STATES—It’s a New Year, and the opportunities to reach for the stars are unlimited if one is willing to not dismiss their potential. One thing that has been on my mind for the past few months is not faltering on accomplishing things that I want to accomplish.

This holiday season, there was plenty and I mean plenty of family drama and unexpected tragedies that absolutely challenged me in ways that I never expected people. That has put into perspective for me that life is way too short; I can’t sit back and just allow opportunities that are presented to me to falter and opportunities that I can accomplish disappear because I’m not focusing the right energy on them.

I have had countless and I mean countless conversations with my family, friends and co-workers who are stuck in those dead-end jobs. What is a dead end job you say? It’s that job that just gets underneath your skin. No matter what you do, you feel the ability to catch a break just never happens. The workload seems to be unending; just when you expect that you’ve gotten caught up, more work seems to fall in your lap.

Delegation, yes, it works, but at the same time there are those that you can rely on and those that you can’t. It’s life, some people know their job and no matter how much they attempt to show or teach others, and they don’t get it. There are those co-workers who are expected to be team players, yet, they barely accomplish what is expected of them, which is little to begin with. You have the boss from hell that is never pleased with anything you do, say or attempt to accomplish. At a point, you just begin to question, what is my self-worth? Does this company even appreciate what I do?

When you begin to ask yourself those questions, it’s a clear sign of unhappiness in the workplace and as a result, the mind begins to tinker with opportunities. Rather that opportunity begins with someone you know who knows someone that can give you an inside scoop on a job or perhaps a talent you have placed on the backburner because of the need to feed your family or yourself.

Something so many Americans do time and time again is settling, and just sticking with a dead-end job out of fear that they will find nothing else. Fear can stifle anyone, but stop allowing it to do so. The opportunities out there in the world are endless if one is willing to remove themselves from their comfort zone! I mean I’m guilty of it; I stayed at a job for years that I absolutely hated, out of the pure factor that I didn’t want to have to start over again.

That is something so many people grapple with. With any job you start at the bottom and work your way to the top. You’ve earned that paid vacation time, those personal holidays, sick time and increased pay rate. At a new job it all starts from the bottom yet again. Now, if you’re at a job where you don’t get paid vacation time, taking time off is an issue, you have no sick time and the pay does not equate the amount of work that you perform, you have some serious things to think about. If your company doesn’t appreciate what you’re doing, perhaps they will when you are no longer around. That tends to happen with most companies; they fail to realize a good employee until that employee is no longer part of the company.

That happened with my one job. I was never appreciated, but when they discovered that I was indeed leaving they looked at it as a fluke. Nearly, a month after I vacated the premises, they begged me to return and there wasn’t a chance that it was going to happen. Been there, done that! I’m a firm believer that once you close a door there isn’t a need to re-open that door. I have the semblance in life that once you close a door, what is the purpose of dredging up those memories, stress or struggles if you don’t have to? Especially, when it comes to the work arena!

I’d argue 99 percent of Americans leave a job for a reason: it was a job they hated! Like I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, never limit your opportunities, but never quit one job without having a back-up lined up. You’d rather have income to take care of your living expenses, instead of running into a situation where you have NO IDEA what to do.

People 2017 is a New Year, if you’re not happy with the way things are going it’s time to implement plans to put yourself in a position that not only makes you happier in life, but at work.