When It’s Time to Leave Your Lousy Job


A recent Mercer workplace survey claims that about a third of the American workforce is seriously considering leaving their current places of employment.

I’m surprised the number is so low, even with the unemployment rate and the dreariness of a job search. Executives everywhere are leading from fear and uncertainty, and Maslow 101 will tell you that when someone is in fear, they think of their own survival first, and to hell with the rest of the staff.

My sense is that many employees are unhappy with the state of things today. They’re not making any more money, they’re paying higher premiums for reduced benefits and most of their managers are self-seeking jerks who are as just as grumpy as they are. They bitch and moan and pray for deliverance, but in the end, fall victim to the classic rationalization: “It’s probably not much better anywhere else.”

At this moment in time, the rationalization is closer to the truth than not. Still, sitting around complaining about your lousy company, your lousy manager and your dysfunctional colleagues can’t possibly do you much good.

Consider this piece of transcendent wisdom:

You’ve got to know when to hold β€˜em,

Know when to fold β€˜em,

Know when to walk away,

Know when to run.

When you have nothing left to give to your employer, or when your level of frustration exceeds your desire to contribute, leave. If you find yourself blaming everyone around you and sidestepping responsibilities, move on. If you find yourself consistently depressed on Sundays after you’ve realized that the lottery didn’t come through and you have to go back to that dump, get going.

Too many people stay too long in untenable situations out of a lack of self-confidence, fear of interviews or even a misguided belief that they can somehow turn things around. The problem with staying and bitching is its corrosive effect on the soul. It leaves you a victim, wasting away in psychological paralysis. Taking action in the form of a job search is a healthier alternative.

You may find a great job with a better commute, but other possibilities are just as likely. You may not find a job, but you may find out that things aren’t so bad where you are. You may have been nursing an old wound that you need to let go, or you may have lost your sense of purpose. Either way, taking action gets you out of the doldrums and in charge of your life again.

“Thinking of leaving” is an endless purgatory. Go or stay, but make it a conscious choice.


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