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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

As your relationship to an organization develops and grows, your level of job satisfaction can change. Perhaps you initially felt engaged, energized, and fulfilled in your job, but now it has become a source of undue stress in your life. Consequently, you are now in the position of deciding whether to stay in your role, seek a new position, or leave entirely. This decision is never easy. There may be legitimate reasons to leave your job but it is likely there are also opportunities to improve your job situation by growing personally. These opportunities will benefit you – no matter what you end up deciding. This blog post can help you weigh the factors involved in moving forward with your career.

Legitimate Reasons to Leave Your Job

1. Lack of FitIf your personal values and vocational goals no longer fit with your current job role, then it may be time to step down or to speak with your supervisor about creating a more suitable role. For example, if you value interpersonal harmony but you work in a commission sales department where employees vigorously compete for sales bonuses, then you may want to consider a non-commission sales role instead.

2. You Have Achieved Your Goals – If your original aim was to manage a company project or develop a specific skill set, and you have now achieved these goals, then now may be the time to move on to something else. For example, if your plan was to work with a mentor for one year at a local newspaper before pursuing a degree in Journalism, and one year has passed, then it is time to leave on good terms and pursue your career dream!

3. Lack of Resources or Support – When an employer does not provide the resources, support, or training you need to succeed in your role, the quality of your work suffers. Consequently, you may feel ineffective, underutilized, or overworked. For instance, if you are a non-profit fundraising expert, yet your organization rarely meets it financial objectives because it won’t provide you with industry-standard software, then your fundraising skills can be better used somewhere else.

You should not work for an employer who consistently fails to provide the resources, support, or training you need to succeed in your role.

4. Unrealistic Expectations Are Being Placed On You – If you are expected to (a) perform duties outside your job description, (b) compensate for the missteps of others, (c) do more work than your salary deserves, (d) perform without a clearly defined job role, or (e) work without adequate support from colleagues, then you may need to leave your job. If these expectations are only temporary, e.g. if they are due to recent staff shortages or budget cuts, then you might want to see if things return to normal. However, you should not tolerate these expectations on an ongoing basis. For example, it is unrealistic for a wealth management company to deal with recent staff shortages by expecting its Financial Advisors to increase their client load by 25% (indefinitely) without also promising them a pay increase.

You should not tolerate unrealistic expectations on an ongoing basis.

5. Unhealthy Workplace Culture – Healthy organizations demonstrate respect for individual needs, work-life balance, financial accountability, collaborative leadership and they communicate with employees about major decisions that impact them. Unhealthy work cultures do the opposite. They often lack communication and listening skills and there is little feedback between staff and employees. Their supervisors tend to be absent, unsupportive or unappreciative; and relationships between co-workers tend to be strained by gossip and office politics. There are no perfect organizations, but unless leaders within an unhealthy organization are actively working to improve the company culture, it’s probably time to move on.

Growth Opportunities, Not Matter What You Decide

1. Accepting Influence – Accepting influence involves the ability to share power, adapt to change, and accept feedback from others. Employees who accept influence are more likely to heed instruction, adapt to role changes quickly, listen to constructive criticism without taking it personally, and consent to being accountable to those in authority. By contrast, those who struggle to accept influence tend to experience higher stress and lower job satisfaction. If this is an area of struggle for you, it may be worth talking to a Career Coach about how to make some personal adjustments at work. Your challenge in this area will not go away simply by changing jobs.

If you struggle to accept influence from others, then getting a new job will not solve the problem.

2. Interpersonal Effectiveness – Interpersonal effectiveness is the ability to managing oneself and one’s priorities in order to best serve the common good. Employees with effectiveness in this area tend to communicate their wants and needs directly, enlist healthy work-life boundaries, prioritize their job tasks and develop trust with team members. They also strive for optimal quality in their work instead of perfection. If this is an area of difficulty for you, then growing in interpersonal effectiveness might alleviate some of your current job stress. [Reading Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a great place to start!]

Growing in interpersonal effectiveness can alleviate some of your current job stress.

3. Addressing Conflict – Even the best organizations experience conflict. The good news is that resolved conflict can actually strengthen work relationships! Employees with a healthy conflict style know how to prepare for difficult conversations by processing and regulating their emotions beforehand. They address unwanted behaviors without attributing bad motives or character defects to other people, they seek to understand others before offering solutions, and they take responsibility for their mistakes.

If this is an area of difficulty for you, then changing your conflict style can significantly enhance your present and future work relationships! At the very least, it will help you to leave your current job on good terms.

Changing your conflict style can significantly enhance your work relationships.

[For assistance with addressing conflict, ask a career coach for conflict management training and consult the online Center for Non-Violent Communication for written resources]

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