In the spirit of back-to-school season, I’d like to share this article I wrote on how to know if it is time to leave your job. Unfortunately, not all the kids I know are excited about going back to school. And just as unfortunately, not all the adults I know are excited about going back to work, either. Even worse, back-to-work season lasts year round for most! While the kids may not have a lot of choice in the matter, we adults actually do – maybe not about whether we work, but certainly about where we work, the kind of work we do, the people we work with, and more. Here are five strategies that can help you get some clarity on whether or not it’s time to change something in your own work situation.
How to Know If It Is Time to Leave Your Job
by Kimberly Geil, PhD
(originally published in Outword Magazine, No. 575, April 27, 2017)
Do you ever wonder if the job you’ve got is as good as it gets, or if there’s something else out there that would be more fulfilling? If so, how would you know what it is? And once you find something, how would you know if it’s worth the risk of leaving the job you’re in?
I often help coaching clients work through these questions. And the short answer is…well, let’s face it. There is no short answer! These are messy, human questions without easy answers. But that doesn’t mean that you need to stay stuck in an unsatisfying job or career. These five strategies can help you get started:
Strategy #1: Have a Vision – Many organizations create vision statements for where they want to go in the future. How about you? Do you have a vision for your future? Having a sense of where you want to go, and who you want to be, can help you make choices that will get you there.
Strategy #2: Know What Matters – Do you know what is most important to you? What really matters to us can get buried under the expectations of family, culture, and the image we’re trying to live up to. But when you’re trying to live a life based on what is important to other people, and not you, it can be very hard to find that satisfying. Getting reconnected with what really matters to you can reap great rewards.
Strategy #3: Look for Alignment – Once you have a better idea of where you’d like to be in the future, and what matters most to you, you can consider whether or not the job you’re in now is in alignment. Is it getting you closer, or further away? Regardless of whether it is or isn’t, you’ll gain valuable information that can help you make decisions about what to do next.
Strategy #4: Craft Your Job – If your job isn’t in alignment with your vision or your values, can you make it a better fit? Our jobs aren’t static, and there are always things we can change, particularly in the areas of tasks, relationships, and our perspective. You may be able to shift your job and/or your attitude so that it becomes a good fit with where you want to go and the things that matter most. And if not, at least you will know that you gave it your best shot.
Strategy #5: Commit to Taking Action – We often spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about things without actually doing anything about them. If it’s not crystal clear to you whether or not you should stay in your job, then start doing what you need to do to figure it out. It’s never too late! As the proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”
If this strikes a chord, let me know – my Make a Leap Strategy Session is a great way to explore these questions and ideas further. And it’s my gift!
Happy back-to-school, and hopefully, back-to-work!