Over the last two years you've heard it: "Consider yourself lucky to have a job." Whether coming from the manager sugar-coating furloughs and four-day work weeks, or the family member who needs help with the rent -- again! -- going through the same routines, when what you really want is to move on, can be soul-destroying.
But on balance, are things so bad? Does leaving really make sense? You decide…
This job doesn’t challenge me anymore
Stay: In today’s job market, it is unlikely your boss is concerned that you might walk, so why should you? Keep plugging away and allow yourself the time and space to do things outside of work that will keep you mentally and physically on-the-ball. After all, isn't that in part what you’re working for?
Leave: Going through the motions may not keep you engaged. Disengagement can lead to a downward cycle of despair. When you are then forced to find a job, you’ll appear to be one of the embittered miseries recruiters pass over. If you really want a challenge, resist disengagement or get out now.
I could earn more money somewhere else
Stay: Money isn’t everything. Figure out your total compensation. Once you’ve factored in benefits and everything else, could it be that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow really is out of reach? Remember, you’re only worth what someone will pay you. If what you want is more money, try riding the bus and stop eating out.
Leave: Hard to believe but some cheap employers even resort to scare tactics to dissuade you from asking for more. Others simply can't afford to align your paycheck with market norms, hoping you’ll accept “Atta boys!” in lieu of spendoolies. If you’re sure it’s not a case of “the grass is greener,” go for the greenbacks now.
I'm sick of working for my boss
Stay: If your boss's behavior is making you physically sick, changing jobs is not the answer. Know your rights, and protect your status, sanity and paycheck. On the other hand, if your issue is a personality clash, bear in mind you might make your boss sick, too. Be the one to suck it up.
Leave: Strained relationships at work hurt the people involved and lead to downtime and waste. If your boss becomes “passive aggressive,” your career could be stalled or even ruined if you’re not careful. If you cannot document a case of misconduct when push comes to shove, you’ll be the one shoved aside and pushed out of a job. Be proactive and get a new boss or a new job.
My talents and potential are not being recognized
Stay: Look on the bright side--if your boss did know everything you do, you’d probably feel underpaid and unappreciated. Keep a positive self-image and realize no one will ever know how good you really are. Do your job well and leave time for volunteering -- where people truly appreciate you.
Leave: Being “systematically” overlooked could cost you dearly when it comes to promotions and pay. Staying on makes no sense for a wallflower who could be blooming in a new job. If office politics is making it impossible for you to thrive, find a job where your talents and potential will be recognized.
I’m being asked to do more and more with less and less
Stay: Rising to the occasion could reward you, especially if you agree up-front (in writing!) that there will be a pay-off when things let up. Come up with new ways to do things that conserve time, energy and money for you and those around you. If nothing else, when the time comes, those achievements will stand out on your resume.
Leave: Consider which of these will last, your nose or the grindstone? Every good employee wants to go above and beyond, but when that becomes the new "minimum standard" you have to realize you already have a new job, like it or not. Save your nose, keep an eye out for something better.
The organization has lost its way, now I’m lost too
Stay: A near-collapse of the global economy can do funny things to even the most purpose-driven organization. Take this as your cue to step up to the plate. Affecting change and leading by example aren't easy, but then again, neither is changing jobs during these times. Remember, it’s always darkest before dawn.
Leave: It is said that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” It's a mistake to try to get your workplace back on track when the course the organization is on doesn’t carry you where you and your career need to go. If need be, talk the talk, but when the first opportunity presents itself, walk the walk--away--and don’t turn back!
With so many unemployed, now is not the time to be looking for a job
Stay: If you can stick it out until the economy picks up and the demand for your skill sets strengthens, you'd be better served by waiting. If you take advantage of what’s available for training and development, now's a good time to make yourself more marketable for when the upswing happens.
Leave: The job that's secure today could be gone tomorrow. Being axed unexpectedly creates its own set of problems. If waiting patiently means not getting your resume out there, networking with well-connected people, and honing your interviewing skills, hanging on to a so-so job won’t make you more competitive, it will make you less so.
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons
At the end of the day making career decisions is never easy when you are caught between a rock and a hard place. Grinning and bearing a situation that looks like a dead-end or venturing out in an uncertain job market presents its own unique set of challenges.
If you are still in a quandary, it’s time to rummage through our decision- making tools and pull out the heavy artillery – namely, the Job Satisfaction Assessor...
So, you’re still undecided?
Whether you want to evaluate your present job or input some details about a job you’re considering, our free Job Satisfaction Assessor will take you through a few easy steps to help you make an informed decision about whether you should stay or go. Good luck.