I regularly receive calls from executives in crisis. By the time they make the call, they have left their job. Sometimes, stress pushed them to quit before securing a new position, but often they were asked to leave. As we work on plans for new employment, clients start dissecting the details of what happened. They begin to see what they couldn’t while in the everyday work. Clients are also surprised to feel relief despite being unemployed.
We often won’t make a change until we are forced to. Until a crisis occurs. I don’t know how many times I have looked back to realize that a crisis was necessary. As a wiser person, I’m now trying to make changes before a crisis and I want to help you do the same.
Here are signs that it might be time to leave your job:
- Feeling Not Trusted. The good news is, more companies are creating cultures of trust. The bad news is, there are still organizations excessively micro-managing. When your every thinking hour is spent worrying about making sure management knows you are working, checking-in, and generally killing yourself for the job … you could be headed for crisis. In your ‘working harder’ efforts, you might be missing the signs of being targeted and bullied to quit. I don’t care where you live, what the current unemployment rate is, or what your family/personal circumstances are … there is always a better place to work. You might think you can’t take a pay cut or start over in another industry. Trust me … I coach people every day who have said those things for 20 years, 30 years … I even had a client who worked where she wasn’t trusted for nearly 40 years. Her crisis led her to a whole new career. Two months into her new job, she wept for the lost years at a job where she wasn’t trusted for half her life…
- Allowing Stuckness. At what point do people settle? It’s different for everyone. Did you take a job at the “best” company in town and that’s it? Many people are happy in this path and I’m supportive yet I also encourage them to stay awake. Stuckness can lead to crisis in two ways. One, is the happy camper doesn’t stay present to the chance of layoffs, a merger, etc. Just because 3 generations of your family have worked for Company X, doesn’t mean that you will retire from there. The second way is when we find ourselves unhappy and passive aggressive. It’s heartbreaking when clients realize how their behaviors and subconscious acts led them to losing a job. If they would have addressed that feeling of stuckness years earlier, not only could a career crisis been avoided but they also would have had more zest for life.
- Running on the Hamster Wheel. We go, go, go … work, work, work … sleep … get up and go, go, go … work, work, work … sleep .. and on and on. This way of living blocks you from seeing a crisis coming. When I work with teams, there is always at least 1 person surprised about workplace dynamics. They don’t follow gossip, notice power plays, or see communication fails. They simply are not paying attention. Or worse, the employee learned the culture early and created a way to exist. They learned to play small, stay unnoticed, and avoid being challenged. This staying small tactic does not guarantee protection. Never taking a break from the hamster wheel can be damaging to self-esteem and ultimately lead to crisis.
- Monday Dread. If on Sunday, you are feeling Monday Dread … You might be headed for a crisis. Mondays can be tough. The dread I’m referring to however is extreme feelings. My experience with Monday Dread was crying on Sunday nights, praying before bed for a good week, and planning my positive music playlist for the commute. Any question on whether that job situation led to a crisis for me? If you are having this level of Monday Dread, please know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Is It Time to Leave your Job? You will be okay. You will be better than okay. Even clients who have been fired have said, “If I had known I’d be okay, I would have left sooner.” People who have been fired always say that it was the best thing for them. My own experience taught me that I can trust myself to be okay and that taking care of my well-being wins. We are not on this planet to endure hardships … there is always a better place to work.
If it’s time to leave your job, here are a few musts:
- Start saving money. Lots of it. At least 3 months salary if you can.
- Get your resume up to date.
- Network. Be discreet in your industry so your current employer doesn’t feel threatened. Be out there reminding everyone you know how fabulous you are. No need to mention that you might be looking for a job unless you know for absolute sure you can trust that friend or colleague.
- Hire a coach.