It is never easy to leave a job. But trust me, you will know when it's the right decision.
We are entering a new point of individual and collective redefinition. For many people, the story of growing up sounded something like "You're going to go to school, you're going to get a good degree, and you're going to support your nuclear family with one job you'll keep doing until you're 65 [at least]."
But this is no longer practical, it's also no longer a real desire.
A career is more than just one job, it is an assortment of opportunities that allow you to spend energy in ways that make you feel rewarded. Sure a job can be a great way to pay bills. But if the average American spends at least 34 hours a week on the clock (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics), is that all you want your time to be worth?
Signs Not to Stay
1. You observe red flags becoming reinforced behavior
a. Unfriendly competition
Are you encouraged to see your colleagues as competition? This idea of rivalry as a motivation tactic is unsustainable. Especially when there is no clear reminder that you are on the same team. At some point you have to wonder why an organization would want to stop its employees from feeling connected to one another.
b. Isolated working groups
When you are disconnected from the group, it is exponentially harder to develop creative new ideas. In groups that offer communication between multiple types of experts, there is a diverse wealth of knowledge to tap into.
When you are expected to work in a vacuum, your ideas may come out prematurely formed. Collaboration is key to successful work and developing stronger working relationships.
2. Your job uses the "F" word
Family. Full stop. This is not something that you should advocate for in your workplace.
In the best of scenarios, a family is a loving unit of people dedicated to building and creating with people they hold dear.
In the worst case scenarios, family is a role to uphold, expectations to live up to. A vault full of secrets all members are expected to keep.
You deserve to work with people who hold a shared vision. You have no reason to feel additional pressure to stay. When you feel ready to walk away, you are walking towards a new opportunity. You are not abandoning an old one
3. You have hit a ceiling
You're ready to leave. You know that there is nowhere further up to climb. Maybe your values have changed. Or maybe you've realized you were disconnected from your company mission for a while now.
You have put in the time, energy, and effort to accomplish all that you have. But it is done now. There is no more here for you to refresh. There are no fires you are rushing to put out.
Sometimes hitting a ceiling feels like an eery comfort. A kind of stagnation that you might mistake for consistency. If you are feeling consistently unmotivated or uninterested in the work that you are doing, it's possible that something needs to give.
Leaving is always an answer, but it may not be the solution.
Let's say that after reading this far, you notice some gaps in your concerns. Perhaps there is still room for reconciliation.
Signs to Stay
1. You are trusted to trust yourself
When a project is delegated to you, you are not worried about any micromanaging behavior encroaching on your process. As you have advanced in your work and team, your efforts are recognized for their quality. You have faith in your work, because you know that the people counting on you have faith as well.
2. Authority figures model mature leadership
What if you really trust your boss' leadership style?
You feel prepared to meet with them and work through issues that come up.
You have built a balanced dynamic that allows you access to ask for support and respect to accomplish a task in the ways that you need.
If your frustrations are with a coworker or of someone that your boss does have influence over, consider if you are able to be vulnerable about the problem. If you truly have a trusting connection, it will not be tested by practicing vulnerability.
3. You are encouraged to create the best future for you.
Think back to your initial interview, how invested was your employer in your future goals? Not just your goals at the company, your career goals, your growth philosophy. How ready were they to see you professionally blossom?
As you progress in your career, you are always meeting others who may be a surprise lifeline later. The people who are interested in you achieving your future goals will work with you to see how it can be possible.
It's possible that you can negotiate working expectations that better help you as you look to build your family.
You have support in your workplace to work more remotely
Your workplace allows for creativity in your presentation
Your workplace is culturally competent in how they engage with possible religious duties or obligations
You are a dynamic person who deserves to move as you need to. In some cases this looks like additional flexibility or room for growth at company. But it's not the end of the world if you realize it is time to move on.
Hold your head high on your journey.