"I feel as though I have more to offer the organization - I can see it and feel it! But I'm not sure anyone else sees it. Struggling with do I try to share what I see and attempt to help others see it too. Or do I simply say I've reached my lid within this organization and move on?"
-Excerpt from Dustin's Journal
Have you struggled with the same type of questions?
When do I stay and keep trying to improve myself and the culture around me?
When do I move on to another culture or opportunity to grow myself?
Every situation is different and requires wisdom. We look for internal peace and confidence to make a decision. If you are a person of faith, there is a component of discerning where God is leading you.
Jess Almlie, a friend and mentor of mine, is the author of the "Next Step Leader" blog. She shares her perspective on the topic,
"The decision to leave should come with as much thought and intentionality as the decision to stay. If you want to get the most out of your career, it is just as important to know when to say goodbye as it is to know when to say, 'I’m good.'"
To maximize your career, you need to know when to stay and when to go. You will need courage and wisdom in making these pivotal decisions.
Jess is incredible at developing leaders. One of her strengths is taking the big picture vision and breaking it down into manageable steps. Jess writes about seven questions to help determine the timing of your next career move. If you are contemplating a career move, I encourage you to read this article, "How Do You Know If You Should Stay or Go?".
Two helpful thoughts when considering a career move
1) It's time to go when I feel pigeonholed in a company.
Early in my career, I attended a staff development day. Staff had all taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) before arriving. But, we had not received the results yet. A trainer came in to share our results with us and teach us about personality types.
I was anxious and excited to open my results. At this point in my life, I had taken this same personality test many times. I was confident I knew what my results would be. I will never forget the moment we all opened our results. Some smiled. Some groaned. Others turned to their neighbors and said, "Yes, the assessment got you right."
I sat staring at my paper, confused by what I was seeing. Until someone said, "Dustin, what were your results?" I responded, "I'm confused. It says I am an introvert." My entire life I was told I was an extrovert. Every assessment I had ever taken confirmed I was an extrovert. I began thinking to myself, "Maybe I've changed. I wonder what new things these results will teach me about myself." Before I had a chance to verbalize any of my thoughts, someone spoke up, "You're not an introvert Dustin. You are an extrovert. You must have answered some questions wrong or something." At the time, I shrugged it off and agreed, "Yeah, something must have been filled out incorrectly. I am an extrovert."
Looking back on this experience, I realize had been pigeonholed within the organization. I was placed in a box I was not to leave. This was an unwritten, unspoken reality of how others viewed me. This experience taught me to leave a job when I am pigeonholed within the organization. I don't mean one person, but either those in leadership or a majority of my coworkers. This lesson gave me courage to leave a position I would have stayed too long in. I knew it would not last. This allows me to make quicker, more confident decisions.
We judge others and never allow them to grow out of those first judgments we place on them.
I do not blame any person or organization for this experience. It can happen so easily to anyone. I am guilty of placing unfair judgments upon others myself as much as the next person.
2) Avoid fear-based decisions.
I wrote about my fear of leaving a job, "I now know I stayed too long at [my previous employer]. In reflection, if I had the courage to believe in myself, I would have moved on one or two years earlier than I did. In my new job, I finally enjoy work again. I don't want to lose that but I fear if I stay in my current role as is too long, I will no longer enjoy it. But I also fear if I move on I will not find another job I look forward to. Fear. What a powerful force."
Fear can cripple us if we allow it to. It can cause us to stay much longer in an environment we know is not helpful to us. Or it can cause us to jump ship way too early. After becoming disappointed with so many fear-based decisions, I decided,
"I'm tired of allowing fear to push me around and leave me in places of limbo and depression and hopelessness any longer. I won't allow it to stop me from pursuing the type of work that energizes me and I am good at. Building teams, processes, procedures. Visioneering and planning. Improving and implementing change."-Dustin
While I still experience fear, I have chosen not to allow it to control the decisions I make.