Should I Stay or Should I Go? When to Call it Quits at Work

by Michelle Kruse | October 21, 2015

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Whether you're new to an organization or you've been there for years, you may be asking the same question: Is this job right for me? If you're hearing The Clash bounce around your skull at the end of each day, it may be time to seriously evaluate your current position.

Whatever the reason for your uncertainty, the point is that something has you running internal diagnostics on your career path with your current organization. While the impulse to jump ship and start anew is strong, you need to put a great deal of thought and consideration into your decision. Here's how to get started:

Find Your Answer

No, this is not some sort of Yoda-style question meant to probe your mind. Rather, you need to first diagnose what it is that has you second-guessing your job. Are you scared because the challenge seems too great? Is the work you're doing not what you thought you would be doing? Or, after much deliberation, is there simply a bit of inner unrest that's pulling you to make a career change? The point is, the answer is going to be unique for each one of us, and we just need to be able to approach it honestly.

Identify an Alternative

As you begin to explore your current situation, you also need to make sure there is a viable alternative. It does no good to decide that leaving is the right decision when the "where" in that equation is the unemployment line. Once you've found an alternative (or alternatives), I suggest you apply the question above to the new role. Yes, there may be nuances that you don't immediately see, however that's when your networking should start to kick in. Find the answers—you don't want to leave one role for another, only to find yourself in the same, or even less desirable situation.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Yes, it's time to get out the paper and the pen and start making a list. It's important to have some sort of tangible list, not just a running list in the back of your mind. It's perfectly fine if you want to create the list electronically… heck, go crazy and make a spreadsheet and throw some rankings in the mix. Be honest and, if it helps, enlist some help. Maybe your significant other or best friend will be able to see something from their vantage point that was hidden to you.

Make the Decision and a Goal 

The final step is making a firm decision. Stay or leave, but make your best-educated decision and don't look back. All too often we go through a hideous analyzation of our lives, make the best possible choice, only to re-evaluate that choice repeatedly. Yes, the Billy Wilder quote, "Hindsight is always 20/20" is completely true, but it's a humorous observation that we all too often use as justification for lamenting a decision gone awry. Once you've made your choice, set a goal. Your goal could be to find a new position within a specific time period, or maybe it's simply to stay put and re-evaluate in a year. Goals re-focus us and allow us to forget about hindsight. My dad once told me I would never hit another basket if I was turned around thinking about the last one that bounced off the rim, and I think that sums it up quite well.

Uncertainty is not comfortable. We're creatures who want to know what's under the wrapping paper and around the corner. However uncertainty is a fact of life. I'm not envious of those who find themselves fighting an internal battle over their future, but these suggestions will hopefully provide guidance to help you get to the next step. 

With more than 10 years of experience in the recruitment field, Michelle Kruse knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to resumes. As the Editor and Content Manager at ResumeEdge, she helps job seekers position themselves for success. She regularly shares advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it's her job, but because it's her passion. 

 

 

Filed Under: Job Search | Workplace Issues

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