Is it your job—or is it you? How to know if it’s time to go
Many clients come to me ready to quit their jobs—with all sorts of reasons: I don’t like the people I work with; I’m not using all my talents; I’m not passionate about this work anymore; I’d like to be doing something more meaningful; I’m bored…there’s nothing left for me to learn. And those are just some of the more recent ones.
These are all legitimate reasons to consider leaving, but not one on its own is reason enough to be out the door.
Why? Because leaving as a means of escape rarely solves the big-picture problems. And unless you can identify the source(s) of your discontent and explore your situation in a less reactionary way, you’ll likely wind up facing some of the same or similar issues and patterns at your next job and the one after that and the one after that and….
In order to determine if it’s the job that’s making you miserable or what you’re contributing (or not contributing) to the equation, I recommend a little looking inward. I promise, you’ll thank me later.
Make a list of what you want in a job. This is harder than it sounds—and here’s a little story to illustrate the point. You might not know this about me, but I’m a recovering Netflix addict, and Fraiser was one of my favorite binges. In one episode, Frasier (the rather haughty 40-something psychiatrist, for those of you who just crawled out from under a rock!) has to learn to ride a bike. But each time he starts to peddle, he winds up focusing on a tree or a mailbox or a fire hydrant—any object he wants to avoid—which of course means he goes straight for it. Moral of the story: Focusing only on what you want to avoid doesn’t move you forward. Put in the context of work: What you want in a job and what you want to avoid are rarely two sides of the same coin.
Make a list of how your IDEAL JOB will make you feel. This can be even harder to answer. Here are a few clues to help get you thinking:
What kind of people would I be working with?
How would my life be better?
How would my relationships shift?
How would I grow as a professional—and an individual?
How do I define success?
What would I like my first thought to be every morning?
Notice that none of the answers to these questions will lead you directly to a new job application. What they will do, however, is help you clarify your priorities and values. This is important because much of our discontent can come when our work, where we spend the majority of our time and brain cells, is at odds with what’s important to us.
After going through this process, I’ve had clients stay at their current job and fall back in love with their work, others who found new roles within their existing organization and still others who left to launch their own company. Sometimes all it takes is an attitude adjustment, sometimes it’s being able to recognize the cause of your unhappiness—and most times it’s all of the above. But in all cases, it takes time, patience, being honest with yourself and having the courage to face your truth.
If you want to learn more about how to decipher the job-versus-you signs, check out my free training webinar, Stop Hating Your Job and Be Happier at Work NOW. Space is limited, so if you’re interested, RSVP ASAP!
After all, taking a leap can be a good thing, as long as you can see what it is you’re leaping toward.