6-Steps To Take To Help You Decide If You Should Change Jobs
This year, the question on the minds of many is “Should I Stay, or Should I Go?” According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million Americans resigned in November 2021. And, if you believe the myriad of surveys circling on many media outlets, upwards of 50% are “considering” a change in their job. Are you one of them? I was.
Re-thinking your relationship with work
But it may not be for the reasons you think. Kathryn Hymes in ‘The Great Resignation’ Misses the Point | WIRED, points out that people are simply re-thinking their relationship with work. We are in the middle of a “radical realignment of values that is fueling people to confront and remake their relationship to life at home, with their families, with their friends, and in their lives outside of labor.”
Towards the end of 2020, this is where I was in my thinking. Like many of you, 2020 was a challenging year for my family. Following the deaths of three family members within five short months and other family-related challenges, I thought long and hard about my relationship with my work, mainly where I wanted, or needed, to live. As all of my family lived in the Southeast, and I was the “dangling participle” living in the Midwest, I was always the one to travel. I mean, I get it. It is much easier for 1 or 2 people to travel than 20 people. In 2020, I spent just as much time in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina as in Indianapolis. The constant travel and stress associated with being away from family in need were overwhelming and exhausting. Nearly every day, I was asking myself:
- Should I stay or go?
- Can I afford to go?
- How might this change impact my long-term career goals?
- How can I take what I love today and become part of my new future?
- Am I willing to make the short-term tradeoffs?
Ultimately, I decided to leave the job I loved and the city I lived in for 24 years. The decision to stay or go is not always easy, even when the choice seems so obvious. Knowing what is important to you and your family, having greater clarity on what you want to be doing, and understanding the risks and tradeoffs (because there are always tradeoffs) can help you make the decision. While my reason for switching jobs was family-related, many other drivers led people to consider leaving their positions.
Why People Quit
Professor Scott Dust further explored this re-prioritization at Miami of Ohio University. His initial research is summarized in his article Workers aren’t quitting in 2021, they’re reprioritizing (fastcompany.com); he found 14 factors driving people to consider leaving their current position:
- Financial Needs: The compensation is not competitive.
- Work-Home Balance: The work is so demanding that you don’t have enough time or energy to enjoy non-work activities.
- Remote Work Policies: Misalignment in remote work preferences and organizational policies.
- Current Job Disinterest: You don’t like the day-to-day tasks of your job.
- Concern About Job/Organization Stability: You are worried your job might go away.
- Conflict with Colleagues: A supervisor or teammate is particularly problematic.
- Work Pace: The amount of work you are assigned makes the work pace exhausting.
- Need for Flexibility: The organization isn’t flexible enough to accommodate your ideal work days/times.
- Organizational Culture: You don’t connect with the norms and values of the organization.
- Stagnation: There are limited opportunities for moving up in the organization.
- Need for Autonomy. The job/organization doesn’t allow you to make your own decisions.
- Lack of Growth: There are limited opportunities to be challenged or learn something new.
- Inclusion/Belongingness: You don’t feel like part of the “in-group,” or you don’t feel like your uniqueness is appreciated.
- Social Impact: You don’t connect with your organization’s value to customers or society at large.
Do any of these resonate with you? If so, you may be one of the 50% considering leaving their current position, and I encourage you to take some time and think through the following steps from your perspective:
Step 1: What is my motivation to consider leaving my position?
Step 2: Based on my motivation to leave my current position, I would stay in my current role if the following could be remedied…
Step 3: What other factors do I need to consider before making this decision?
Step 4: Schedule and prepare for a conversation with my leadership.
Step 5: Make my decision.
Step 6: Create and implement my plan of action.
In my role as a career strategist with firsthand experience, I have helped many others think through this critical question. By completing these six steps in a thoughtful way, you are essentially running towards an opportunity rather than simply running away from a suboptimal situation. Without taking the time to gain clarity on your specific situation, you risk continuing to experience dissatisfaction with your career choices. These six steps have helped my clients obtain greater clarity on their next best steps.
Now that you have read this, what do you think? Should you stay or should you go?
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