There it is, that horrible feeling that you may have to look for a new job. You’ve had a bad run of experience at work. You are starting to question if this employer is able to meet you where you are in your career, or you are hurt by actions (or inactions)…you are getting that sinking feeling that optimism cannot carry you through this last round of disappointment. We’ve all been there and you are not alone.
This is a very vulnerable place to be, changing employers is something that happens to people every day, but that does not make it a light decision or easy to do. Objectivity doesn’t always figure into this process when we are carrying difficult emotions about a place we spend 40 or more hours a week at, but it is necessary to ensure you are making a strong decision for considered reasons rather than reacting to what may be a series of temporary (or possibly preventable) bad experiences. This first step, contemplating whether or not it is time to leave, is an important one and so is taking the time you need to reflect and consider what may really be going on for you right now at work with a willingness to realistically see what is happening, getting to the bottom of your disappointment, checking for other viable options with your current employer.
What follows are some things to think about to help you remain objective as you determine what is best for you and your working life wellbeing:
There may be other questions you should ask yourself that are not on this list. Think about what they could be and write them down (answering them). You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make the right decision based on facts and not feelings – which includes looking for other work when the working relationship at your current employer’s has become unsustainable (i.e. persistently and negatively impacting your well being). However, if after working through the list of questions you’ve decided you want to make this work better for both you and your employer, create a list of actions you will undertake to address the areas of concern you have in your working relationship, building respect and trust together through open and skillful dialog. Don’t expect that your employer will be the one to do something simply because you’ve made your concerns known; this is a partnership of which you are 50% of the equation (step one is open dialog to see what is possible, but know your employer may not be able to address everything on your list, nor will they be the only one who may have to make changes to make this work).
The truth is there is no such thing as a perfect employer; don’t despair, there are many wonderful employers out there who make a positive difference to people in their working lives but along the way there are always bumps and scrapes as the hard edges of reality are present everywhere. Organizations exist to produce specific results for clients, and as such are often imperfect at achieving that end-state AND providing the optimum working environment for everyone. Only by being objective and committing to work with your employer can you be a part of the solution that allows you to sustainably stay where you are (when that is what you ultimately want).
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I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.