Here are my top 10 quick tips for when NOT to leave your job, and what to do instead.
In 1982, The Clash asked the question so many of you are asking yourself right now; “Should I stay or should I go?”
I know you’re really great at your job. You’re appreciated (to a degree). And up until now you’ve stayed because it’s been comfortable. But all of a sudden, it’s not comfortable anymore.
Your raise got delayed.
Or someone else got the promotion or assignment you wanted.
Or you have a new boss that’s nothing like the old boss that you loved.
Or you got some feedback that shook your confidence to its core.
Being uncomfortable sucks sometimes. But it’s not usually a good reason to leave your job.
In fact, my recommendation is NEVER to leave your job because of fear of discomfort.
Even if you have a bully boss who is gaslighting you, I always recommend changing jobs from an intentional place of self-care and self-respect vs. running away because you’re miserable, frustrated, or afraid.
Easier said than done. I know. Get in touch if you need to chat about it.
In the meantime, here are my top 10 quick tips for when the time is wrong for you to leave your job, and what to do instead.
#10: When you’re emotions are running high.
Excitement, fear, and anger are all examples of emotions that run at a really high vibration. It’s like you’re buzzing all over. I call that running high. And when that happens, your brain and body are using up a lot of energy just… vibrating. Everything’s shaking and you can’t sit still.
And when you’re in this state, there isn’t a lot of room left for your brain to make strategic or logical decisions. In fact, you’re more apt to make decisions to get relief from the buzzing energy, e.g. complain, yell, quit.
My reco is not to make decisions when you’re super excited about something or when you’re super frustrated or angry. Go ahead and be excited or angry if you need to, but wait to make the big decisions when you’re calmer and more rationale.
#9: When someone says no.
You asked for the raise or promotion and got a “no.” That’s disappointing, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the discussion. Don’t take the first no as “the end of the discussion.”
Make your case and if you get a no, pause for a time and then ask again. I suggest you leverage your next big accomplishment in the next 4-6 weeks to broach the subject again. You can do this several times while starting to look for a job.
Don’t worry about ‘annoying them.’ Your job is not to make them comfortable when it comes to your ambition. Besides, who do you want on your team? The person who takes the first no for an answer? Or the tenacious person who finds new ways to make their case?
#8: Your peer or friend is getting ahead faster.
Someone else’s good news reminds you that you’re career is not all you’d imagined it would be. I get it. It’s frustrating. But it’s not your boss’ or company’s fault. It’s usually because you dropped the ball on leading your career. No biggie though. It’s never too late to get re-engaged.
But manage your expectations. You’ve likely had your career management on the back burner for a while. Just because you decide to suddenly dial it up to 11, doesn’t mean everyone will react as quickly as you want them to.
I recommend a more measured approach. Establish a clear strategy and spend a few hours a week executing against it (book a consult to discuss it).
Slow and steady wins the race. Avoid rushing the process because you want to keep up with your friend. That may lead to accepting a position that’s totally wrong for you only because it’s the first one that came along.
#7: Waiting to be sure you should leave.
Sometimes people will ruminate over a career decision because they want to be sure it’s the right one. But unless you know something I don’t, you can’t predict the future.
You will never be sure everything will work out the way you want. Parts of your decision will work out, and likely parts of it won’t be ideal. That’s true of everything.
There is no perfect, right answer.
I’m an advocate for doing your homework and making strategic career decisions, but in the end, the question is whether you trust yourself to make the decision work for you after you’ve made it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting your career over, staying where you are, or taking the big job in a new company, the job is going to suck half the time. How bad it sucks is up to you.
Do you trust yourself to roll with the punches and problem-solve as you go? Or will you focus on what’s not working and complain about the things you can’t change?
#6: You don’t like your boss.
I recently had a client who went from the best boss of her career to the worst (her words). The “best boss” was a hands-off nurturer, and the “worst boss” was analytical, hands-on, and wasn’t there to make friends. It was a hard transition. No doubt.
She was going to leave her job.
I told my client if she wants to be heard, she needs to speak his language first (e.g. get him the numbers) and build trust over time. And she can get the nurturing somewhere else.
She did all of that and now is his star employee. My client doesn’t “like” him. But she learned how to work with him to her own benefit. That’s what leaders do.
#5: When there’s an easy escape.
Often, people determine their own “worth” based on what they accomplish at “work”. And so it’s normal to think those things are linked. But they’re not. At least, they don’t have to be.
Think of your worth as your house. It’s always there. You can make improvements to it over time, but you’re just building on something that’s already beautiful with a great foundation.
Your work is the things in your house; furniture, food, toys, clothes, etc. And those things are flexible. You might like them today and then decide they don’t serve you anymore. Or you might break something, burn the food, or stain the clothes. But the house stands. And you can repair the furniture or order takeout or send something to cleaners. And the house is still standing.
My point is your value is constant. What happens at work is incidental.
#4: You’re not getting anywhere.
Look, if you’ve been actively self-advocating and internally networking, asking for what you want, working on your development AND YOU’RE STILL not getting anywhere, then it’s time to leave your job.
But if you’re simply doing your job really well, but haven’t tried any of the other strategies, then I’d recommend exhausting your internal opportunities first.
Some people think it easier to go interviewing and find a job than leveraging your equity internally, and that’s not always the case. I’d start with the internal route, or work both strategies concurrently vs. simply giving up and looking for a job.
#3: You’re bored.
It’s not your company’s job to keep you engaged and excited. That’s your choice.
So is the real problem that you’ve given up trying to be interested? Or have you learned everything you can in this role and there’s no more room for growth?
It’s an important question to answer honestly. You can still be actively engaged and connected to your role and still realize it’s time to leave because there isn’t any more room for growth.
And you can be in a job with lots of growth opportunities and be so disinterested, you can’t see it.
My recommendation is to learn to manage your disinterest because if you can’t manage it here, it’s liable to turn up in the next job too.
#2: When you’re running away.
Any time you feel like you need to ‘get away’ from the situation, it’s a sign you need to slow down and really see if there’s something to be learned here.
Your brain is designed to avoid hard things because they take up a lot of energy, and sometimes the negative emotions can be so overwhelming you want to get away from them.
Instead, I recommend asking yourself how you’re contributing to the situation and what leadership opportunities are there for you to better manage the situation.
I know you think you’ve tried everything… but have you? Be honest.
Because leaders don’t run away. They calmly assess. They make strategic decisions. They iterate. They learn. They solve problems. They don’t sweat the small stuff.
#1: Don’t know what you want.
Stop telling yourself you don’t know what you want. You do know. You just don’t think you can have it. Usually, within the first 30 minutes of talking to a client, they pick something they want.
And once you know what you want, you can strategically assess if you’ve exhausted your options where you are now, and where you’re getting in the way of achieving your goal. (Book a consult to discuss it).
When you don’t have a strategy, you end up making decisions by ‘feel’ only And that’s a random way of directing something as important as your career.