If you’re sitting in your office bored, ticked off or feeling down you may be thinking it’s time to go. BUT, you’re not sure. You are rationalizing staying because there is one more great thing you can contribute or you feel obligated in some way. We all go through this kind of mental tug-of-war at one time or another. Knowing when it’s the right time to give yourself permission to move on is one of those big life changers and with it comes anxiety.
There are some indicators of satisfaction that you can examine that will help you make that decision. Let’s review some of them to help you move that decision making along.
- Salary - I’m almost embarrassed to mention money. Not because “it shouldn’t matter”, it’s because I know it isn’t one of the top 3 issues. I mention it first because everyone does and I want to get it out of the way. What you are paid as it turns out are not the top 3-5 satisfiers for your career. It is something, however. If it is out of line or doesn’t pay the bills it is a big DISsatisfier and you do need to move on. If your pay is appropriate for the job you do, area you live in and meets most of your need, then you’re probably doing fine and this isn’t a big enough deal to make you leave.
- Boss - This one is the big one. The person that you immediately report to is the number one top item that will make work life great or bad. You don’t have to love this person or even be buddies but you do need to respect this person and feel that it’s mutual. Also, you need to be realistic about this person. Bosses will never be perfect. They are like the rest of us; they have bad hair days and also have their own quirks. The question you need to ask yourself is: “Can I be successful doing work with this person in the picture?”
- Job Content - This is all about the kind of work you perform. You need to feel like you have the skills, talents and background to perform the job. At the same time you should feel like you can make a contribution and grow. Job growth is not necessarily about being promoted. It is learning new tasks, taking on new responsibilities and making new contributions. The content of your job should be something that continuously stimulates and interests you. If you have reached a point where everything is pretty much the same, you need to move on before it impacts your self esteem.
- Work environment - This is both the physical space you do the work in and what is in the environment such as people, building and location. You can have a great job, great boss but have to commute 2 hours each way. Your life is potentially impacted too significantly. You may like the job but the environment you are in is too toxic because of interoffice relations. The people you work with could be your source of dissatisfaction and you may not even realize it. We form friendships and alliances with the people we spend so much time working with. At the same time they may feel freedom in complaining and pointing out all the things that are bad. This will have a negative impact on you. You need to examine this situation and determine what you can control and what you can’t. At the same time, you need to determine if you were to design the perfect work environment, would it be like this?
- Something else If all the stars are aligned and the items listed above are all working well enough for you, you may be tugged by “something else”. The something else could be a lifelong dream of being a nurse or something completely different than what you’re doing today. The something else could be a deep desire to move and live somewhere other than where you are today. It’s ok to give yourself permission to move toward something as opposed to away from your current career. This category of “something else” may turn out to be your calling.
Life is too short to spend too much time working at a job situation you don’t love and doesn’t nurture your soul. Your career should feel shamefully fun and more like an avocation. Making a decision like this can be tough but it is not a sign that you’re doing the wrong thing. It’s tough because it is a big part of how you spend your life. It’s tough because you want to make sure you enjoy the next thing. It’s tough because it’s a change.