Echoes of the famous Clash song have undoubtedly resonated at that painful moment of deciding whether to quit a job or not.
Go ahead. It’s okay to occasionally indulge yourself in that fantasy of going out in a blaze of glory like a certain JetBlue flight attendant did last year.
But then, let’s get real.
At some point in our career, most of us find ourselves in such a prickly dilemma. The real trick to navigating a confusing mess of conflicting emotions is to rip lyrics right from this song and apply them to the real-work world.
So, darlin,’ you gotta let me know:
1) “If you say that you are mine, I’ll be there to the end of time.” Most employers are about as loyal to you as you are to them. Ultimately, your being their employee is a mutual business decision, and loyalty can go out the window if company finances take a tumble. You need to do periodic gut checks on the fiscal health of your employer. If the vibes aren’t good, follow your intuition.
2) “It’s always tease, tease, tease.” You have to decide whether promises of promotions, raises, and incentives as well as growth are going to be delivered on by employers. If you constantly get reassurances, but the company doesn’t deliver the goods, it might be time to put the teasing to the end and call it for what it is: being led down the primrose path. Time to start looking.
3) “One day it’s fine; the next day, it’s black.” Ever work in a ‘yo-yo’ environment? One day you feel great about your work, only to crash after being hung out to dry by unsupportive bosses? A healthy work environment means you are excited every single day about going to work, and feel rewarded and recognized for your contributions. Sure, we all have bad days, but when they equal or outnumber the good ones, then you’ve got some tough decisions to make… soon.
4) “If I go, will there be trouble?” The toughest part about leaving a current employer, sans alternative employment, is possibly facing extended periods of no income. It’s the risk you take, which is why most career professionals advise that you don’t depart one employer until you’ve lined up something else. Ultimately, it boils down to you deciding whether the trouble of looking for a job is worth the possible reward of a great job (and exit strategy of your current work).
5) “If I stay, will it be double?” Weighing in the mental cost and toll that having constant issues or stressors at work is something you cannot ignore. Staying in a job you hate can add years to your life, not to mention impact or initiate health problems. Do you know anyone who has gotten ulcers from their job? I do. Plenty.
6) “This indecision is bugging me. “ Someone once told me that when we fear change the most (thereby hesitating), is exactly when we most need the change. If you have been on the fence for a long time now, it means that there is something gnawing at you and obviously, the status quo isn’t solving it.
7) “Who exactly am I supposed to be?” Are you reaching your career potential in your current position? Rose Tremain penned the famous quote: “Life is not a dress rehearsal” – if you are not connected to your passion and realizing what you COULD be, maybe that means that it is time to move on. You only get one chance in this life!
8) “Should I cool it or should I blow?” I once had a hothead of a boss, who, at times, was so irrational that it would almost push ME over the edge… it was so infuriating some of the things that this person did. But cooling it might be a good idea – rather than taking the cue from our previously mentioned JetBlue flight attendant friend. Short-term reactions could impact your long-term employability, so taking a step back to determine whether inter-office clashes are one-time only occurrences, or symptoms of a larger, deeper problem.
If the employer doesn’t want you, then maybe setting yourself free could be the answer to opening the door to new possibilities and a healthier work environment!