Should I Stay or Should I Go? How to Know if it's Time to Quit your Job
‘If I’m only 30% satisfied with my current [insert: job, relationship, living environment, etc.], how can I know that if I change it, I won’t just find myself 30% satisfied somewhere else?'
This concern often comes up with coaching clients who seek to create pivotal changes in their lives. I think it’s something we can probably all relate to – the worry that we’d take the leap and change, but everything would stay the same.
It's a good worry though because it makes us stop and think: Is it them/that or is it me?
It starts a conversation of discerning whether it's an inner change that needs to occur or an outer change that has to take place.
Sometimes, quite often, it's both.
And yet, even if you know in your bones that something needs to change externally, there are no guarantees that change will get you to where you want to be. But what’s for sure is this –
"wherever you go, you take yourself with you" (Neil Gaiman)
We all carry with us our thoughts, insecurities, reactions, behavioural patterns and triggers to any new situation. Which is precisely why an integrative approach to change is one that marries an inner journey with an outer journey. Changing a situation that’s not aligned/not serving you alongside doing the inner work of rewriting the patterns that keep you stuck.
Quite often, when we get frustrated with an aspect of our life we default to black-or-white all-or-nothing thinking. But change doesn’t have to look like packing your bags and leaving. There are many other ways to create change, like reaching out for support with resolving relationship challenges or tweaking the job you already have.
So how do you know if to stay or to go? How do you know if it’s you or ‘them’? How do you know if the “grass is greener”? How do you know what type of change you need to create?
Here’s a 3-step framework to help you find your answers:
*Try shutting off distractions to reflect and journal on these to get clear on why you need a change. Getting clear on this will help you decide if the change you need can be accomplished within your current situation or if you need a whole new path.
Identify what’s not working for you right now – What needs to be different? Get granular. For example, when it comes to a career change – Is it the people, the environment, the role or the sector that’s stretching you? What is it about the people/the environment? What is it about the role? What is it about the sector? Is there an issue with your schedule, your pay, or your commute? Is it a strength and skill misalignment? Or perhaps you're overworking certain strengths which makes you feel exhausted or like you're not growing? Is it that you want to move to a slower-paced or perhaps a faster-paced environment?
Get clear on what it is that you want to experience. What is it really that I’m looking for? What is the reason for change? What do I want the new situation to bring into my life? What do I want the new situation to look and feel like? What makes me thrive? Here’s the thing – whenever we’re seeking change, what we’re really after is a feeling, an experience we believe is on the other side of that change.
Discover what inner work you have to do (regardless of the external change you choose to make) How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want? If I leap to the other side and have to navigate similar problems to those I’m trying to leave, how will I handle them better? Examples: If we’re planning to leave a stressful job/toxic work environment, we might also want to explore our ability to manage stress, place boundaries and create a better work-life integration. If we want to leave a relationship because we don't feel heard or seen, we might also want to look at what role we’ve been playing in this dynamic.
Stepping outside the familiar is always going to feel scary, however big or small the change is. Which is part of the reason why it’s so easy to get stuck in indecision and procrastination.
At the end of the day, you have to listen to your gut and trust your heart.