Monday, June 25, 2007

When is it time to go?

I am relatively young and I am certainly early in my "career" but I think that I have come to some fairly powerful conclusions for myself in the working world that I think might be valuable to share with others. I have spent some time bouncing around corporate space as well as some time consulting and have consistently come up against the following question: When is it time to bail out and find a new position?

The question is one of those questions that nags at you while you are working when things are not going quite the way you thought or if you are new in the position, not what was advertised to you when you got hired. This single question can actually drive you mad as you sit and contemplate it because the thought of changing jobs of potentially going for some period of time without an income is scary. It is nerve wracking to think that by leaving a job you might not be able to make it long enough to find a new one before money gets tight and things start to weigh on you like a 1000 lbs. gorilla sitting on your back. So - like the question said, when is it time to go.

What I have decided is that it is time to go when you can no longer bring anything to the table that will help the company. This ability to help can take many forms - it can be your feed back about what the processes that the company is using are doing, it could be simple things that would make things you do every day faster. Things that can help can even take the form of off handed comments to your boss about the people and processes that you work with twice a month. So - why do I think that this is the best indicator that it might be time to leave?

My biggest reason for this is thinking that a job is not just about money, a job is about your talents and doing something that you should (SHOULD) enjoy doing. Think about it - we spend a good portion of our days toiling in the jobs that we are in, WE SHOULD be happy while we are doing it. This is not to say that we will always be happy because the world is just not that way. It is more to say that we should endeavor to improve what we do for ourselves and the company. We spend too much time working as it is to HATE going in to work every single day. Each one of us has the power to effect change no matter how small that change is. We should use that power to improve what we do. When our voice ceases to be heard in any meaningful way it is most likely time to move on. Life and time is too short to feel undervalued or not valued at all.

Why? Because, the world is supposed to be constantly changing - when it stops changing something is wrong. Same thing holds true for jobs, when you can no longer improve the situations that you have to deal with it is time to find a new situation that you can apply your knowledge and experience to. If the current place of employment doesn't appreciate you then another one, somewhere will.

Not all of us are independently wealthy and not everyone has the drive to be the "Rich Dad" but all of us do have control over ourselves and what we do. Enjoy what you do - if you don't and no one is listening - move on. Its time to go.
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