Today we’re going to kick off a 3-part series on Career Crossroads and our topic is should I stay or should I go?
This has been one of the hottest topics I’ve ever had to work on as it is one of the most common questions I get. It’s all about that question that goes in your head, “Should I stay or should I go?” You’ll be sitting there asking yourself, “I’m not being paid what I’m worth, I look around the room and everyone’s just a pork chop, they’re all worried about politics and fiefdoms and not the work we’re doing.” Or maybe there is no energy anymore. The place has the life sucked out of it and you feel like you just can’t keep trying to lift the place up every day. Or maybe you’ve just been there too long and you need a refreshing start. Or maybe you’re not being recognised for your efforts. These are the kinds of things that lead us to start looking for another job.
So what I wanted to do was lay out a framework for you over three parts. I hope this deals with about 95% of cases. Part one is about getting context and there are three steps. You’ve got a big decision to make, there can be a whole range of factors involved here and it can be a very complex process. So let’s try and make it as clear as possible and the best possible solution that has the most upside and the least downside for you.
Chief, you’re not going to make some great big life decision in the midst of the chaos of the modern world. You’ve got to get out. Go to the beach or the mountains or the desert, wherever you know you are able to be yourself. I’ve got my happy place in the mountains. I go there and within 10 minutes I feel at peace.
So go to your happy place and seek your own true counsel and listen to your intuition. And don’t dive straight into an analysis; go for a long walk, hike, get some miles into your legs. There is a scientific reason for this – you want to be in the right state and the process of a very rhythmic walk or ride over an hour or two will get you into flow. It’s cathartic and that’s what we want to be. We want to be in a place where we’re ready to make some smart decisions.
Step two is to open up your life vision – your vision board for yourself. If you don’t have one, go back to episode 57 of the Inner Chief podcast. Your vision is where you want to be 5, 10, 15 years from now. Pick a particular date and work out where you want to be with your family, your health, your fitness, your finances, your career. What is your dream job? We need to know what the destination is if we’re going to do a really good job of deciding to stay or go.
One of my digital mentors is a fantastic guy, Alex Mandossian, and he’s got a brilliant quote:
“There’s only one thing worse than going in the wrong direction. That’s going in the wrong direction enthusiastically!”
Chief, you might end up picking a job that doesn’t align to your vision, and ends up taking you completely in the wrong direction. So sit down, do a vision of your future, realign yourself with it and be able to say that’s where you’re trying to get to.
Finally, come back to the present and define what would be the ideal next role to get you to the vision. Remember, you might end up having a career map that outlines the journey from one role to the next and so on. There might be one or two roles in between where you are now and the ideal role you want to be in.
Here’s how you do it. Write down all the criteria you are after in an ideal role. That could be:
- How much money you would want
- What’s the flexibility of the role
- What’s the job title
- Is it okay to be promoted sideways
- What industry or profession?
- Annual holidays
In this process, you’ll start to work out what’s most important to you. But here are some equally important criteria that people don’t think of:
- The quality of the relationships with your colleagues
- Being recognised and appreciated for your work
- Development opportunities
If you don’t have a job with good relationships with people around you, or if you’re not appreciated for your efforts or growing as an individual, I guarantee that you will be unhappy.
What this means is that when we get down to the later steps in this process, we’re starting to ask the right questions about the kind of role we want to take on, or the kind of changes we need to make in the business we are in right now.
Ultimately, there are only two options: stay or go. But what we want is to potentially have more than one option in each of those options.
So Chief, take some time out now, check out the vision you’ve created for yourself, and define your ideal role. Do this before next week’s minisode, which is part 2 of this 3-part series, and that’s going to be all about identifying the root cause of the problem of why you’re in the situation you’re in right now.