Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Case for Leaving.

In last week’s post, I made the case for staying at your current job.  This week, I’m looking at case for leaving, jumping ship as it were.  As a study by Assochom revealed, “About 70 percent of [survey] respondents said that employees who quit their jobs complain about the indifferent attitude of their bosses or immediate supervisor.”  I’ve left several jobs because I just couldn’t stand my boss.  I didn’t find an indifferent attitude as the cause of my dismay as much as either poor ethics or micro management (the opposite of indifference?). Should I Stay or Should I Go.  The Case for Leaving.

I would venture to say that another cause  is culture.  The  culture of a Company  is something that morphs over time.   When you came on board, they were really family friendly and then two CEOs later, you feel guilty for asking to leave early for a PTA meeting.   One or two changes in senior positions can change the culture of the company to make it more unpalatable for the folks in the trenches.   I remember an incident when I was in Human Resources and the Company would not terminate a manager who had falsified time card records for a friend.  Turning a blind eye to this was not something I could tolerate.  I had to leave.  That incident had changed the culture of the organization in such a way, that I could not stay.

So here are some reasons to leave:

1. Poor Business Ethics.   When I went looking for a new position after the timecard falsifying incident  and a potential employer asked me why I was looking, I would say “Poor business ethics”.  End of story.  You don’t need to bash your current organization; you don’t need to dig out all the dirty details, that’s just not necessary.   Most of us have been around the block and it’s a valid, if not compelling, reason to leave.

2. Get Off the Sinking Ship.  Depending on your position in the company, you usually can see when the ship is not moving forward any longer.  It may be my years in the restaurant industry, which is notorious for high failure rates but once a paycheck bounces, look for that door.  Update your resume.  Hit the pavement.  When creditors are always calling or accounts payable (money owed to other folks) is over 90 days?  Call your friendly head hunter.

3. You’re Losing Your Soul.  If the mission of the company doesn’t match your values, it may be time to start looking for greener pastures.   There was a time a few years ago when I had to lay off employees who had worked for the company for more than 15 years.   It was killing me inside.  I knew it wasn’t my decision and that it had a “business purpose” but I have to say I wanted to walk.  At the end of the day, you have live with yourself and no job is worth giving up your values.  If you are losing your soul, it’s probably time to leave.

4. An Offer You Can’t Refuse.  This is one of the best reasons to leave.  Someone offers you so much money, or time off, or world travel or autonomy and independence…that you can’t refuse?  It might be scary, or stretching your comfort zone or require moving your whole family, but if it feeds your soul? Take it.  I applied for a job a few years back at a highly acclaimed university.  My family was worried that I would be moving.  I never got past the application stage, but I can assure you, that if I had the offer, I would have taken it. There are some situations which are worth turning your life upside down over.

5. Personal Obligations.  This is the reason I left the hospitality industry.  Somewhere back when I was in my late teens  I decided that I love the hospitality industry.  I loved working and serving folks on Friday and Saturday nights.  I loved providing a great experience for patrons of the establishments I worked for or owned.  By the time I was in my thirties, I had two small kids and suddenly working weekends wasn’t so much fun and, was now, a burden.   Your obligations in your life change.  So will your career.

6. Go With Your Gut.  There may not be an apparent reason why you should leave.  Sometimes the Kool-Aid you used to love, suddenly tastes funky for no reason.  It’s like the job I left over timecards.  I found out years later that the manager I wanted to be gone was blackmailing someone in a position of power in the company.  I intuitively knew there was a reason to leave, and I did. I never looked back.

7. Too Much Baggage.  Sometimes you know too much.  You know where all the bodies are buried, all the skeletons and all the missteps of the past.  Sometimes you just can’t do the heavy lifting anymore.  Sometimes it best to not be the last person to turn off the light and lock up the place.  If you can’t find a way to let go and you are waking up at 4 in the morning unpacking that baggage,  it’s time to go.

8. There is No Moon.  Your new opportunity promised you the moon and, after a year, you discover there is no moon.  The job was not as advertised and now you are languishing in a career that is taking you in the wrong direction.  There are parts of your grey matter that are fading away from lack of use.  Time to get your groove back and move on.

It’s cliché to say that when one door closes, another one opens but it’s so true.  There are times when it’s best open the next door.

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