Thursday, June 30, 2011

Your Job: Before Pulling the Plug…

Recently, I was extensively quoted in the Wall Street Journal, as part of a career Q&A piece by journalist Elizabeth Garone. The discussion was a response to a reader’s question about what she should consider when evaluating whether or not to quit her job. You can of course read the article, but I thought it was worth following up with a blog post that includes my full commentary.

To start, honestly ask yourself some key questions to identify whether you have completely explored your options at your company – in your role, your division, and other areas of the organization.
  • What has kept you from advancing in your company/career? How much is you and how much is them?
  • Have you talked with your manager to fully evaluate your development and career track?
  • Have you done the leg work by researching open and upcoming job opportunities internally?
  • Are there any individuals whom have a role you’d like to grow into, and would they be willing to mentor you?
While there are companies and managers that are great people developers, you cannot assume they will take care of your wants and needs. It is your responsibility to take control of managing your career. Only after you’ve fully exhausted these routes, it’s time to do some soul searching.

First, look within and at your life to determine if it’s truly your current situation that is causing your dissatisfaction, or if there might be other non-work areas affecting your level of engagement and fulfillment. Take the Wheel of Life assessment to get clear.

Next, get specific about what you like and don’t like about your current situation. What values do you need satisfied to be happy? What you want to be/do/have in your career moving forward? Where do you envision yourself over the next 5, 10, 20 years, and how might you achieve that?

Be sure to have conversations with people in your network. Talk to friends and family, a mentor, a coach, or counselor. Investigate what opportunities exist and consider making a strategic move. In this day, leveraging your relationships is the only way to land a new gig. Keep in mind that people are more often than not willing to help. It makes them feel good, and it’s good karma.

Finally, remember one thing: wherever you go, there you are. Changing companies or roles may not be enough to make you happy. If you want to explore another kind of work, it may be wise to stay put for a time while you evaluate next steps. Do the deep work to explore you, so you can get clear before you pull the plug.