3 May 2016

To Leave or not to Leave

Author: James Middleton

For anyone that’s been working for a year or more, the question has probably entered your head as to whether there’s not possibly something better out there. Surely there’s more exciting work that can be done… Maybe there’s better pay for me… What about a more fun, relaxed culture? These are some of the myriad of thoughts that float through one’s mind as dreams of greener pastures no doubt come knocking on the door.

Dissatisfaction is human nature

While it may be quite a pessimistic view to say that it is human nature to be perennially dissatisfied, I don’t think it’s unreasonable or untrue. The fact that we make progress in so many different areas (science, art, music etc) shows that we aren’t happy to settle with what we have. We want things to be better. We believe that they can be better. We have hope! In the area of our work lives though, this wears a slightly different mask.

The trend that I’ve noticed in my short life is that as soon as I (and others) settle into a comfort zone, that’s when dissatisfaction begins to take root. Like a layer of dust that collects on top of your fridge, it slowly but surely gathers until it is thick and yucky! You may know the feeling as you start to get itchy feet in your current job. The question then becomes, should I leave or should I stay?

Making the decision to go (or stay)

The decision to leave your current job is by no means a minor or simple one. In the broader context of our country, unemployment and joblessness is rife! This makes work incredibly valuable as it not only provides an income, but also a sense of purpose and meaning that we all so desperately need. So, with this in mind, it is important that you seriously evaluate whether you should be leaving or not. At the root of it though, there are two basic questions that you need to ask yourself before jumping to any decision:

  1. Why do I want to leave?
  2. Where would I work?

While the questions themselves are pretty obvious and simple, the mindset that you need to enter into when answering them will dictate whether they will be useful or not. One can very easily answer these questions in a manner that conveniently brings you to the conclusion that you are hoping for. Alternatively, you can answer them honestly, introspectively and in a way that doesn’t necessarily warrant the “easy outcome”. For example,

  • “I want to leave because people don’t appreciate my work, they don’t see the “genius” in my designs and always provide millions of changes to my graphics.”

Or, framed a little differently now,

  • “Their design standards are very high and I’m not experienced enough yet to accurately interpret a brief and deliver accordingly.”

Essentially, both are saying the same thing (namely, my work isn’t good enough), but the one is assuming a position of arrogance while the other is assuming a position of humility. Which would you rather be, which would you rather work with and which would you rather hire?

Hopefully the point comes across to be real and vulnerable with yourself when asking the big question of whether to remain at or leave your current job. Be honest about what is pushing or pulling you away. Is a legitimate irritation or are you just being ungrateful? Are you being treated truly terribly or are you a little needy and difficult? Is the opportunity on the other side really that much better or is it just a new challenge? My hope is not to stop you leaving your current job, but to help you realise that you are lucky at all to have a job!

Good luck making the right decision and if you do decide to leave your current job, I sincerely hope it is better than your current situation with lots of growth, stimulation and excitement!

About the author:
James is Head of Project Office at Hubble Studios. He loves running up mountains, playing in a band and working with quality people. The majority of his experience has been in online education, which has allowed him to work with pretty much anyone and everyone under the sun (think: graphic designers, videographers, animators, writers, actuaries, accountants, marketers, entrepreneurs, developers and even people in luxury hospitality).
LinkedIn | james.middles@gmail.com

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