Sticking or Quitting – How Do You Know?

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

Remember the days when success meant graduating from college, finding a stable job, starting at an entry level position and rising within the ranks, and retiring with a pension that supports a lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to?

Sounds too good to be real – and it is.

Gone are the days when you were rewarded for putting up with workplace abuse, accepting no ALL the time or never being recognized for the value or worth you bring to the company. There are plenty of “Take This Job and Shove It” stories. Remember the JetBlue flight attendant who quit his job, grabbed a beer and slid down the emergency chute of the plane?

What was really on his mind, and on the minds of others who have escaped the handcuffs of hoping things will change? Obviously, they reached a breaking point. A point that lends itself to a public display of their displeasure from the mountain tops.

Research says the median time an employee stays with the same company is 4.8 years. Heck, people try on at least 7 careers in their lifetime. Knowing you may be leaving sooner than you expect, the main question may not be if you should leave but when.

Ask yourself these four questions when you find yourself at the threshold of deciding if your chosen path really is meant to be.

    1. Are You Happy? Take a hard look at what happiness means to you. Who’s in the picture? What needs to exist in your life? The number one reason people leave a job is when their values do not align with the company’s values.

Number One Reason People Quit:
Their Values Do Not Align With The Company’s Values

Hanging on too long after you experienced the disenchantment of a job gone wrong or a career not moving you where you want to go leads to unhappiness. You become tired and distracted. Your job needs to complement the rest of your life, not take away from it.

    1. Are You Valued? If you are in a thankless job, it’s time to start looking elsewhere. Being constantly overlooked and skipped over for promotions causes resentment and frustration. You need to find a job where superiors and peers value what you bring to the table.

If you don’t feel valued, then assess what that means. Be honest with yourself. Are you really bringing to the table skills and talents that make a difference? Are you willing to take on new challenges and risks? How are you at problem solving? Being valued at work is a two-way street. Put effort into who you are and what you do and see what happens. If you still are ignored – it’s time to say goodbye.

    1. Are You Learning? The best companies offer their employees opportunities to learn and gain new skill sets or knowledge. They reward improvement and success. Are you given the chance to contribute what you learn?

A job that offers you the opportunity to learn brings fulfillment. If you find yourself in a position that no longer affords you new ideas, creates boredom or lacks challenge, then it’s time to seek the next big thing.

    1. Are You Marketable? When you decide to make a dash for the door, consider your marketability in your industry and the job market in general. It’s a competitive world out there. Take the time to work with a trusted mentor. Find leaders and colleagues who have a desirable position or career. Create a job search plan, resumes, cover letters and references that will stand out, catching the decision-maker’s eye.

Don’t settle for a job because it’s “good enough.” Stop living someone else’s definition of success. Create your own. If you’re miserable, undervalued, and unchallenged in your work, then it’s time to reassess your direction, move forward and find your success.

[This is only one of the many powerful articles in this week's Influence It! Real Power for Women free ezine. To enjoy the full issue, jam packed with insightful information on strategies to enhance your personal and professional life to achieve ultimate success, you must be a subscriber. Sign up for your own free subscription NOW by clicking here!]

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