Love it or Leave it? Tips for deciding to change jobs, change careers, or stay
Deciding to stay or go is a big decision.
There is a lot to consider when determining whether to make a career change or leaving a job. Finances, family, location all come into play as external factors weighing in on your decision. And while these are obviously important in your decision, it is my best guess that your question relates more to your inner landscape of your heart and mind and what’s right for you. So many of us struggle with the feeling that either our current job or current career is not a good fit. We all know the feeling of dreading Monday mornings because we have to go back to work. And “work” is work. Work feels like a jail sentence. The work we do each day feels soul crushing and meaningless. The work environment and work culture feels oppressive. Our boss is a tyrant. And we don’t feel connected with our co-workers. Everyone is overworked and overwhelmed. It feels like a nightmare or one of Dante’s layers of hell. No exaggeration. We’ve all been there. We all know. Of course, our first instinct in any nightmare is to run. Run from the monster. Run from the threat. Run from the soul-crushing meaningless work and power-hungry boss. To escape, to wake up. To be safe once again. To settle our nervous system from the constant stress of unrealistic, oppressive, inhuman deadlines within companies who outwardly taut employee appreciation but truly on the day to day do not consider the human necessity of work/life balance, and manageable and realistic deadlines. The toll on our minds and bodies, in constant stress is unmistakable, as we begin to develop a plethora of illnesses and rack up multiple physical and even mental diagnoses. We may begin to take medications to manage the mental and physical symptoms that the stress of the job has created. Our bodies and our minds are screaming, GET ME OUT OF HERE! No one would blame a person for jumping ship, the moment it gets so bad that your mind and body are affected by the stress of the job. Our bodies are not created to endure constant stress. Our minds can only take so much. So, what do we do in the face of imminent danger where we actually, in factual reality, may not survive?
Emergency responders use a code to determine best response in the face of an emergency or crisis depending on the threat. Let’s go with a basic code: green, yellow, red and apply it to a work context.
Green Code: No threat detected. You are safe. Your body and mind are in a normal state of wellbeing. No action is needed other than educate. Educate refers to continuing to stay connected with your values, what’s important to you, and stay committed to your wellbeing. You are in a place of peace, enjoyment, fulfillment at your job and in your career. You are satisfied, content. You feel a general sense of connection with your colleagues. You feel respected and heard by those in leadership. You have a steady work/life balance. Yellow Code: A threat is detected. You are safe at this time, but need to be on alert. Your body and mind are in an alerted state. You will need to take necessary actions to return to green. You are in a place of agitation, frustration, unease. You may be seeing the early signs of stress including not feeling generally fulfilled at your job or in your career, dissatisfaction, discontented, disconnected, disrespected, not heard, and your work/life balance is being impacted. Red Code: A threat is detected. Your mind and body are experiencing a heightened state of stress and it is unrelenting. You are not only agitated, frustrated, uneasy, but you have also potentially developed diseases from the stress including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and so many other stress-related illnesses. You are absolutely NOT fulfilled at your job, you not satisfied, you are not content, you don’t feel respected or heard, and your home life is suffering. You will need to take one of the necessary steps to address the threat: escape, evade, engage. You are in a place of bodily and mental danger brought on by constant stress.
Escape: Escape is a perfectly reasonable course of action when your mind and body need to recalibrate to a normal state of wellbeing. Taking a break. Taking time off. Leaving the job. Changing career. Evade: The choice to Evade is what most of us choose to do. This happens when we either pretend nothing is wrong, don’t address the issue head on, complain to others outside of work but don’t take action at work. While evasion is a momentary solution, it can continue to cause harm to our psyche’s and bodies especially if we choose to evade indefinitely. Some of us evade for years and decades. Engage: The last course of action when in Red Code is to Engage. Engaging the issue or the “threat” head on is often the scariest action because we cannot always predict what will happen next. It is usually in the stage of “Red Code” that people reach out to me. They have been evading for many years and are ready to escape. Through our partnership, they take a pause long enough to decide what is right for them and to step into a conscious intentional decision to escape or engage. Even if they have been evading for years, through our work together they gain the confidence and courage to engage. Engaging in this context means identifying exactly what they want in their careers or current positions. Aligning with ttheir values and what’s important to them. They get very clear about what it will take to turn the situation around for themselves, and what is needed to change in the position, in the work relationships, and in the overall corporate culture. These changes are what is needed for them to return to a state of wellbeing, a place of peace, enjoyment, and yes PASSION for their work. Together, my partners and I create talking points and practice difficult conversations in a safe environment. And then ultimately they have the conversations, make their asks, and express their desires, expectations, boundaries. Whether that means engaging with their boss, their co-workers, or overall leadership of the organization, my partners become their own advocates. By advocating for their own needs, my partners can make a conscious choice to stay in the position or to leave. If their expectations are met, they may consider staying, or at least staying for as long as the organization and leadership continue to make the work and work environment a healthy happy place to be. If my partner’s expectations are not met or if leadership is not actively making steps to correct the situation, they typically leave with a plan in place addressing their external concerns of finances and family and with a solid career action plan in place. I work with individuals at all levels of the organization including executives and leaders. For many of the leaders I partner with, the stress they experience can stem from communication issues with their team members and with their leadership. There have been countless partners who have begun their programs with me, ready to Escape and leave their positions because the communication between them and their employees or their company’s leadership was causing an emotional strain for them. Through our work together, these leaders were able to see the parts they played in the relational dynamic and were ready to make the changes needed to implement leadership communication techniques that I offered. Many leaders in this position having resolved the main stressor in their position, employee relations, decide to stay. Their work environments became harmonious as the flow of communication improved. My partners returned to their Green Code and once again – and getting their passion back for their jobs.
Ultimately, the choice to leave or stay in your current position or career boils down to
Do you love what you do?
Discover what you love in general. Discover what brings you joy and what you are passionate about. Get to know yourself really well.
Discover what you love in your current job or career.
If you don’t love it, get really real with yourself about what you don’t love.
Identify what isn’t working and to what level (red, yellow, green) it isn’t working.
Ask yourself if you are a part of what is not working. (i.e. communication issues, etc.)
Ask yourself if there is something you can do differently to make things better for yourself. (i.e. expressing boundaries, improving relationships, etc.)
My wish for you today and always is wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, make it what you want.
Here is some guidance for your journey this week...
Intention: To decide whether you should stay at job or in your career, or decide if you are ready for a career shift.
Reflection: I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on the following. Ask yourself...
Identify what you want in a job and career.
Identify what it will take for your current role position, or career to be in alignment with your goals.
Identify whether your current job is a good fit for you.
Identify if you are in the green, yellow, or red code.
Identify the toll on your mind and body if you are in the yellow or red code.
Identify if you tend to evade.
Identify if you are are ready to engage.
Identify what holds you back from creating the work environment that you need, the work day that is in alignment with your values. (emotions, thoughts, beliefs, realistic consequences)
Identify if your company cultivates a corporate culture conducive to openness and will identify potential consequences for creating boundaries at your work place.
Identify the costs of staying, the cost of speaking up, the cost of leaving.
Practice: For this week,
Practice expressing specifically what you want in a job or career.
Practice creating a work environment that is in alignment with your values.
Practice setting boundaries at work, with colleagues, and your supervisor.
Practice work/life balance.
Practice time management.
Practice moving through the emotions, thoughts, beliefs that hold you back from setting boundaries and commitment to your work life balance and time management.
Resolve: I deserve to be happy. Fulfilling meaningful work is possible. I am the creator of my life. I create my reality. I have the power of choice. I will make my day what I want to it to be. I can be my own advocate. I am free to stay or leave. I am free.
Has this article helped you in some way? Do you have anything you'd like to share? I’d love to hear below.
Dear Wonderful Person,
I hope this message helps support you on your path of personal liberation, connection, and peace-filled compassion. Need more guidance on this topic or looking for a coach to partner with you on this part of your journey? Check out my private coaching programs.
Wishing you much peace and joy,
Customized. Personalized. Just for You.
Looking for a personable, heart-felt, caring coach to partner with you and help you achieve your personal and professional goals?
Rebecca's transformational whole-person coaching has helped her partners build confidence, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and connect authentically with themselves and others. She has partnered with executives, managers, and teams for over 15 years offering private coaching as well as Workshops in Public Speaking, and Worksite Wellness Classes in Stress-reduction, Work/Life Balance, and Time-management.
Over 15 years as an Executive Coach and Trainer for leaders in Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, Top-tier Universities, Government, NGOs, Small Businesses helping leaders and their teams achieve superior results
Results: Strengthened relationships and communication, Increased confidence and happiness, Reduced stress, Improved quality of life and employee wellness, Enhanced performance, Increased job satisfaction
1500+ hours of formal training and certifications in stress-reduction, mindfulness, and communication strategies
Certified Master Coach
MPA in Managerial Leadership, graduated with honors
BA with a concentration in Speech Communication, Magna Cum Laude
Named Top 16 Coaches in Raleigh for 2022 by Influence Digest