RockIt Careers

Should I Stay, or Should I Go

Brian Young
Owner – RockIt Career Consultation Services

Newton’s first law of motion is that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. Personally, I think Newton could have expanded this into psychology. Humans tend to remain in a constant mental state until something outside of us makes us change. This is particularly true in our employment. Most of us stay in a job until we’re either forced out or we’re so unhappy or stressed that there are no other options but to leave.

Often, it’s just easier to stay where we’re at than to pack up and change our job and employer. Sometimes this can work to our benefit, but most of the time, it doesn’t. Wouldn’t it be good to know when you should, at the very least, consider other options outside of your current employment situation? Help is on the way. We’ve compiled a list of the ten best reasons to brush up your resume and start networking, so you don’t have to stay in a job or company that isn’t serving you.

1. I’m Not Satisfied Anymore

We all can remember the first day of our new job. It was exciting. We were nervous and wanted to make a good impression. Often, it started off with a big learning curve. It was challenging. Over time, however, without ever thinking about it or realizing it, the fire we once had for a job is gone. We went from being happy to go to work to begrudging the fact that we must get up and go to work.

At this point, we should think about what’s going on. Is it the job we dislike or certain tasks within the job that are unsatisfying? Depending on the answer, it could mean that you ought to either look for something else entirely or bargain with your manager about your duties to make the job more worthwhile.

Likewise, it could be that you’re not being challenged enough. You’ve accomplished about all there is to accomplish in your current role and you need to do something new to engage you. Should this be the case, if you like the company you’re working for, you might seek something internally that’s going to engage you more. Otherwise, it’s time to see what else is out there in this big, wide world.

2. My Boss is a Micromanager or Psycho Manager

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to improve your relationship with your boss, there are irreconcilable differences. Whether it’s because of personality differences, loss of trust, management style, etc., the relationship has soured, and it probably isn’t going to get better.
Unfortunately, when this happens, you’re basically left with no other choice than to look outside the company. Likely, your boss is arranging your removal in one way or another. Often, this makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get a transfer to another team or department.

3. I’m Underappreciated and Underpaid

Have you ever been in the position in which you seem to be doing all the work, but not getting any of the glory? It could be a boss or a co-worker stealing your thunder. It could also just be a simple oversight on the part of others not to appreciate what contributions you’re making. Whatever the cause, it certainly doesn’t feel good. It’s not giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling about your job.

Similarly, it’s common early in one’s career to take on a job, learn it well, and get to be a star employee. However, the pay didn’t keep up with your improved performance.

In both cases, it’s wise to talk about this with your manager and see what can be done about it. When doing this, it’s important to make sure that you demonstrate how you’ve contributed and the impact you’ve made to the team, department, and organization. Tell them how you helped the company make money, save money, or become more efficient. If you provide undeniable tangible results and make a good case for why you should receive recognition or better pay, and they don’t provide you what you deserve, then it might be time to start searching for better opportunities.

4. There’s a Lack of Career Prospects

There are times when, no matter how great everything else is about your job and company, there’s no way to grow and take on new challenges. While it can occur in large organizations, for small businesses, it’s even more likely. While you learn a lot when you work for a small business, because they often ask you to wear several hats in one role, there’s not a lot of opportunity for advancement until the business becomes profitable enough to grow and expand. A person can wait until that happens, but there’s no guarantee that it’s going to happen anytime soon.

When you feel like it’s time to exercise some new muscles, this can be frustrating. You shouldn’t have to wait for someone to quit, move, retire, or die, to advance your career. If you’re ready for bigger and better things, and that isn’t going to happen where you’re at, then it’s time to take your career into your own hands and pursue your destiny.

5. I Don’t Fit In

How well you fit in with the rest of your team, department, and organization, is a huge contributing factor to your overall satisfaction with the job. Additionally, it does play a role in how you are viewed by others, which impacts your career.

For example, I’m generally a very results-oriented person and put most of my focus on getting things done. However, one time I was working in a team that was very relationship-oriented. So, while I was doing a good job and meeting my goals, I was seen as being too distant and not part of the team. In past jobs, this was never a problem. They appreciated the work-ethic. This time, however, the culture was different, and I hadn’t adjusted. That just wasn’t me and I knew it never would be, no matter how hard I tried. I’ve always been this way. I knew I had to move on.

As soon as you start a job, you’ll know you’re not fitting in almost immediately. When this happens, don’t up and quit. However, when you know it’s not a good fit, start working on finding an exit plan, either within the company (because every team and department is different) or outside, as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll start getting negative signs that they wish you to leave.

6. A Merger/Acquisition is Underway

If your employer is either acquiring or being acquired, there are a lot of things up in the air, one of which is how it’s going to affect you. These business moves could lead to your lay-off. It could also lead to you being reassigned to a job you’d rather not do. Now, you may go unscathed, but this isn’t necessarily a chance you want to take. So, at the first hints of a merger/acquisition, it’s always a good idea to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. Start networking and reaching out to your contacts. Get your resume in order. Begin applying for new jobs. If you’re lucky, you’ll find something as good or better in a more stable condition.

7. I’m Getting Road Rage

We’ve had several clients come to us who have jobs that require a significant amount of travel for their jobs in sales. While it can be nice, from time to time, to get out on the road and see something other than the four walls of a cubicle, it’s not for everyone. Plus, if you’re not getting reimbursement for your gas and the wear and tear on your vehicle, these expenses add up quickly.

Depending on your status with your employer and how much value you’re bringing to them, you might try to negotiate how much traveling you’re doing. It’s possible you could offer them an alternative that works for both you and them. If that’s not possible, then it’s time to pursue something different.

Now that you know you don’t want to do a ton of driving, look for jobs that don’t advertise traveling 70% of the time. That’s not the job for you.

8. There’s Not Enough Flexibility

Personal situations are always changing. Life is bound to throw you curve-balls. Sometimes these life events require you to change your schedule to address it. This could mean needing different hours, or the possibility to work remotely, or working part-time instead of full-time, etc. There are a lot of companies willing to work with you on this, but some are not. For those situations, after exhausting other possibilities, it might be time to go elsewhere in search of more flexibility.

9. I Received a Bad Review

One bad review may or may not be foreshadowing of a looming termination, but it certainly isn’t a sign that things are going rosy for you in your current job. This may be the first step towards the exit door in your employer’s eyes. However, if there’s a chance to salvage the situation, and you desire to stay, then do your best to use the feedback they give you to fix the problem and repair your relationship with your boss. On the other hand, there are times when you are better off going somewhere else doing a job you’re better designed for.

If you find yourself in this situation, remember this: most of the time, you are not a bad employee, you were just selected for the wrong job or wrong company. Don’t take it personally. Just make sure you find the right job next time, where you’ll have a better chance to succeed.

10. I Was Passed Over for Promotion

This one can hurt. You’ve put in a lot of time and effort. You’re ready to take on that big promotion. Maybe you’ve even been encouraged by your boss to apply. Then someone else from outside company or someone just recently hired swoops in and gets the job. What the heck!?

This could be a sign of a couple things: (1) you were never really going to be considered for the job and they just strung along to keep you there or (2) the company doesn’t value internal promotion, even though they say they do (and they all say they do), and instead want to hire from the outside, thinking they’ll get quicker results.

Either way, you’re stuck until the next opportunity comes along, where you could end up with the same results. The first thing to do is be 100% honest with yourself. Were you truly ready? Next, ask for feedback from your manager about it. Maybe there’s something he or she sees that you don’t know about. This way you’ll have a better idea of where you really sit in the company and can decide if it makes more sense to stay or pursue the promotion elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons to stay with a company, but most of them are out of comfort and a sense of loyalty. It’s hard to leave behind the vacation time you’ve accrued and the other perks and benefits you’re getting. It’s hard to say goodbye to the friends you’ve made. You’re probably also appreciative of the job you were given. You probably feel a little guilty to even think about looking for other opportunities. Finally, it’s hard to give up familiarity for the unknown. The key to deciding whether you should stay or go is to weigh out what both options would mean for you. Which is going to serve you more in the long run?

It’s not an easy choice and it requires a leap of faith if you decide to leave, but sometimes that leap can be so rewarding you’ll never look back and regret it.