Leaving your job? -Have you thought this through?

8 mins read

You have to end some things to move on to bigger and better things.

O ne of the most difficult questions that one must answer during our career journey is when to leave a job!

Deciding when to leave a job can be even more difficult and pressing than starting a new one. It requires a deep reflection on so many important details in order to be absolutely convinced that it is the right thing to do.

This article has been written with this in mind and with a series of critical questions, you can decide easily whether it is time to leave your current job for something a bit more exciting or fulfilling.

To put things in context, I will start by elucidating further on the basic factors for making a decision of this nature.

There is no one “right” organization or company, but there are right companies for each individual. The right company will offer you what you need in order to feel that you are making a genuine contribution- adding value. The right company will also have its core values in alignment with some, if not all, of your personal values.

In the past, we used to have “jobs for a lifetime”, this has been replaced by “skills for a lifetime”. Joining an organization will require a lot of the skills you can bring on board, therefore personal development is key to preparing for a job change.

This is because many organizations have changed the way they approach and organize work, in response to the changing global economy. Therefore in order to further a progressive career growth, we must develop the right skills to match these developments, so making – and keeping – us marketable.

The global marketplace has been greatly impacted by technology. The internet has redefined the fundamental concepts of location, distribution and remote working. This has made organizations to become flatter in structure with even fewer career paths for ambitious and young goal getters.

The generic academic skills that may have earned us a place in one organization, may not be enough to see us through our career growth paths through other organizations. We will therefore need to develop the right skills to keep pace with the wide range of intellectual, technical and personal skills required in the modern marketplace.

That said, let’s assume that you have the right skill set, good personal value system, great attitude and a great energy, what would make you decide to stay on a job?

Most people are often motivated by the nature of their job, rather than money alone. Although earlier in our careers the figures brandished by organizations was enough to lure us while we grapple with the realities of the nature of the job, the work culture and the value system.

However, while money may be important in bringing in new recruits, it may not be enough to encourage them to stay. I recollect changing jobs earlier in my career and was excited by the offer at the start. But three years later, not a kobo extra was added to that amount until I opted to leave. On the contrary, if there were good monetary increases every year, it isn’t enough to keep people motivated.

The key attraction seems to be interesting, challenging work, together with a variety, autonomy, prospect of enhancing one’s role, opportunities for personal development and a good working relationship with colleagues amongst others.

How do you then know it is time to leave your job? Ask yourself the following questions;

  • Do you feel valued at work?
  • Are you adding any value to your organization
  • Is your organization adding any value to you
  • Is there still a buzz
  • Do you look forward to going to work in the morning?

Then answer the following questions objectively for a longer-term view of your organization;

-What plans for the future is your organization considering?

-What changes will be needed to make these plans happen?

-Do these plans reveal anything about what the organization will be like as a place to work?

-What roles could you then be playing?

-What would you expect to achieve?

-Would there be opportunities for training and career development?

-Where would you be after three, five or ten years?

Dear friends, if the answers to these questions are not inspiring, then it is probably time for you to move on. If you can find another job that you actively enjoy, then you are much more likely to make a success of it.

It is often a bad move to leave a job on the strength of these questions without first securing another. It may be time consuming looking for a new job while you are still busy holding down a current one. But it is a good idea to introduce a degree of structure into your search. This may involve time and energy during the evenings or weekends, plus covert behavior at work.

Whatever your career move, be decisive. Most decisions are made with a combination of reason and emotion, using the head and the heart. Having listed all the options, criteria and priorities, think them through and then step back. Allow yourself some time to carefully chew it over and see how you feel. You must feel good about your decision- confident that you have based it on the available information and with the full knowledge of the consequences.

The beauty of managing your own career is knowing that you are the one in control and the choices are made by no one but you. You must however have all the information required to make a decision.

It is always important to reiterate that while leaving a job may be a way to step away from a sticky career situation, starting another job is another cup of tea entirely. You will have to deal with a new way of doing things, the culture of the employees at this new organization, meet new people, learn the processes and the core values. From the moment you commence a new job, the pressure is on! You will have to make yourself more visible, highlight your contributions to the organization goals and justify your inclusion into the team. This can be a lot challenging for first timers, but with more changes, you find it becomes much easier.

Finally, is leaving your job the solution to the feeling of worthlessness and despair? Whilst in many instances, leaving may just be it, in a good number, the problem lies with the individual.

Individuals with poor work ethics, poor attitude to work, consistent poor results, disconnection from the business goal of the organization and no alignment with the core values of the organization are unlikely to find respite in a new job.

How you interact with other employees gives a strong indication of the kind of work you are comfortable with.

Like they say, the grass is not always greener on the other side. For as long as the issues lie with the individual, no matter how talented they are, they will at best hop from one job to the other in utter frustration without any job fulfilment. To these ones, money is never enough to make them stay.

To be a better employee, the change must start from within. To enjoy your current job in spite of career setbacks and perhaps a bad boss, you must be confident of the values you bring to the table, renew your passion for self-development or opt for further training to expand your skill set and distract you from the worries and concerns of office politics or everyday bickering.

Great organizations will hire you for having an amazing attitude and personality first, before considering the skill sets and technical values you bring to the table. The Can-do attitude with limitless energy is a good behavior to exude as a young aspiring person with the intent to move.

Stay tuned to yourself, do an honest and rigorous self-assessment of your priorities to evaluate who you really are now, and not the person you would like to be. Decide what matters to you and how this may be integrated into your working life. You can start by answering the following questions;

  • Is working a means to an end or an end itself?
  • Is it important to you to have a job that involves your personal interest?
  • How ambitious are you? Do you want to get to the top at all cost?
  • Do you see home life as more important than work?
  • Is money your top priority?
  • Is it important to you to have time to pursue leisure interests outside work?
  • Do you think it is worth giving up free time to work-related training?

These are critical questions that would guide your choice of where to work and an assessment of where you currently work.

In the end, the choice of whether to stay or leave lies solely with each individual. What is most important is that you have the tools to make a decision that would benefit your career in the long run. Remember that you must think long term but act short term.

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