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Navigating My Career – The Stick or Twist Decision

March 22, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-lookingforajob

The question I am most frequently asked in my regular daily career coaching conversations with talented individuals all around the world is: Should I stay or should I go?

In this article my aim is to provide some helpful thoughts and tools for evaluating when the time might be right to make such an important career change and when it may be better to wait and gain more benefits and advantages from where you are right now. 

Firstly there are some situations where it is simply unavoidable to seek out and secure a new role. If, for whatever reason, your role has been changed and you have been made redundant through restructuring, downsizing or business merger then you may have little option but to look for a new job. Ofcourse, outside these non-invited scenarios, there are a multitude of other reasons why talented and successful individuals might voluntarily contemplate seeking a new role. 

Amongst the most common reasons include:

  1. Lack of growth opportunities: If you feel like you have hit a career plateau and there are limited opportunities for advancement or professional development in your current role, it may be time to consider looking elsewhere.
  2. Unfulfilling work: If you find yourself constantly bored or unchallenged by your job, and it no longer aligns with your interests or goals, it may be a sign that you need a new role that re-excites and re-motivates you.
  3. Toxic work environment: If you are dealing with constant conflict, politics, unhealthy competition or a negative culture in your workplace, it can significantly impact upon your well-being and job satisfaction. If efforts to address these issues have proven unsuccessful, it might be best to look for a healthier work environment.
  4. Compromised work-life balance: If your current role demands excessive hours, consistently infringes upon your personal life or leaves you feeling burnt out, it’s important to assess whether your work-life balance aligns with your priorities and overall well-being.
  5. Lack of recognition or appreciation: If you consistently feel undervalued or under-appreciated for your contributions, it can negatively impact your motivation and job satisfaction. Seeking a role where your efforts are appropriately recognised and rewarded may be really important for you.
  6. Incompatible values or mission: If you find that your personal values and the company’s values or mission no longer align, it can be challenging to remain fulfilled and engaged in your role for anything more than the short-term. Seeking a new opportunity that better aligns with your values will be important in the longer term.
  7. Reduced job security: If you feel that your job is at risk due to company restructuring, financial instability or other factors, it may be wise to proactively explore other opportunities to ensure greater long-term career stability.
  8. Your boss: If the relationship with your boss has become problematic or even toxic; then this will inevitably have a strong bearing on how you see your current role, particularly if there is little likelihood of your boss moving on any time soon.

 NB: This is often one of the major cited reasons why individuals choose to move on.

It is important to carefully assess these factors and consider whether they are temporary issues that can be addressed or signs of a more systemic problem within your current role. 

Ultimately, deciding to seek a new job should be a thoughtful and informed decision based upon your unique circumstances and career aspirations and one that we should never take lightly.

It is often easier to see the grass greener elsewhere, particularly if we are going through a tough time in our current job. Part of us will be naturally cautious of making an ill-considered or knee-jerk change for fear of making a mistake or exchanging current pressures and challenges for just another set of difficulties but with none of our current familiarity. 

So how can we know with certainty whether we should stick or twist on the job front?

In many cases our gut instinct will tell us that we may have reached the end of the road with a particular job or organisation.

There is nothing wrong with listening to these inner signals; they will create the fertile ground and motivation to move into action. However, you may also want to rely upon a more rational and logical process to help guide you and identify the  current issues of dissatisfaction and most importantly what you might want to look for that is different and better in a new role. 

Here’s a very quick and easy tool that might help you to put some logic around your decision whether to stick or twist in your current role:-

BROSNA JOB BINGO – take a few minutes to play Brosna Job Bingo i.e. A simple way of evaluating some of the elements that might be causing you to feel dissatisfied in your current role.

Simply identify/tick the boxes that are true for you right now in your current job.

thehrobserver-hrobserver-jobbingo

Based on the number of boxes that you can identify with, this is how you might use the grid to evaluate your situation:

5 boxes or less – your current job is probably not that bad, there are a few things to fix but not sufficient justification for jumping ship just yet

6 to 15 boxes – there are significant parts of your job that are very unfulfilling and unless you can realistically fix these you should start looking for a new role sometime soon

16 to 25 boxes – oh dear, you must really be resenting your job and the time you spend at work – definitely time to get out quickly and find something more worthwhile to do

Over 25 boxes – a severe situation, you probably need some help and coaching to keep up any motivation and you should consider a very urgent job change to preserve your sanity and well being!

Although slightly tongue in cheek, this quick exercise helps you do an initial rough evaluation on the degree of satisfaction (or not) that you derive from your current role. 

Below is another, more refined and positively-focused tool that might also help give you a reading about what you most value and like about your current role. Please use this grid to give you an overall picture of your current satisfaction level with your current role and organisation. 

For each statement shown please decide which is the truest for you using these criteria

Strongly Agree (SA)  Inclined to Agree (IA)  Inclined to Disagree (ID)   Strongly Disagree (SD)

thehrobserver-hrobserver-grid

Add the number of ticks in each column and total them to give you an overall satisfaction picture of your current role. 

Unlike the Brosna Bingo earlier, the results from this exercise should give you a further indication of your satisfaction and fulfillment in your current role and organisation. 

Clearly, if your score is high in “Strongly Agree” then your current role is providing you with a great many positive benefits. In reverse, if your score is highest in “Strongly Disagree” then your current situation is not a positive one and you should definitely think if you should actively consider new opportunities. If your scores are more in the middle range then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • If there are many benefits to my current situation, how likely is it that I can influence and positively change the other elements that are causing me unhappiness?
  • If there are a number of important negatives that stand out and are really important factors for me, again what opportunity exists and what likelihood is there that I will be able to improve these issues?
  • No job is completely perfect, so do the positive elements combined outweigh any negative elements even though I cannot change the latter?

Beyond these simple evaluation tools, perhaps some other factors to balance when thinking about whether the time is right to “stick or twist” includes:

  • Always try and define your clear criteria for seeking out and securing a new role. Ask “What do I really, really want next” in any new role to make the change worthwhile?
  • You should also check to see if there is a better future for yourself in your current organisation. Ask yourself questions such as: are there alternative roles available that better meet my skills and aspirations?
  • And finally ask yourself if you are willing to put the time and effort in to finding the right new role for you?

And if, after much thought and evaluation, you reach the important decision that is indeed time to twist and not stick, here are some final thoughts and affirmations to guide you:

  1. Admit to yourself: Be honest with yourself that things have to change and be very firm with yourself that it is definitely time to take action. Don’t leave yourself in an unhappy limbo.
  2. Remind yourself that in life you always have a choice: You do not have to put up with sub optimum circumstances for a prolonged period, particularly at work that takes up so much of your precious time. 
  3. Remind yourself of your personal value: You are a unique multi-talented individual who in the past has proved extremely valuable to others, and of course, who will again discover an outlet where you can give your best and in return feel highly valued.
  4. Don’t do this alone: Find yourself a trusted colleague, friend or coach to act as your speaking partner who can help navigate you through your impending career transition.
  5. Turn your good intent to move on: From a mere wish to a robust and active commitment by being very focused about what you really want next and by turning this into a prioritised plan of action.
  6. Invest in yourself: Set aside regular time dedicated to take action on your career transition. If necessary, as many do, buy-in some coaching help to act as your confidential navigation  guide in seeking out a new role.
Author
Tim Chapman

Managing Director, Brosna Career Consulting Ltd

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