Should I stay or should I go now…?

opportunityLike life the nature of employment is cyclic. People leave school/college, look for their first job, move onto greener pastures, mark the change of the seasons and after reaching a plateau spend their remaining years on the slow “wind down” of their career and the move into retirement. At each step new entrants get on the seemingly endless carousel of employment.

There comes a time in everyone’s career when they are faced with this exact question. We have all been there. You’ve joined a great company, your colleagues are great and you enjoy coming into work but after a few years something’s just not quite there…

What will you learn if you stay where you are, where will you be? Think of the future doors this opportunity will open for you.

Top 10 reasons why people leave

In the Southern hemisphere Absolute Global1 published an article with their top 10 reasons for why employees leave.

  1. Under-staffing – are your employees expected to carry an unrealistic workload that sees them working long hours day after day without respite or promise of a better future?
  2. Poor Communication – are management communicating with staff in an open, transparent and timely manner?
  3. Lack of Challenge – are departing employees saying that they needed more responsibility, and do they seek opportunities that just don’t exist in your current organisation?
  4. Lack of Empowerment – Are staff empowered to make reasonable decisions in their job? Or is micro-management the rule?
  5. No Recognition – Are employees being recognised for their efforts, over and above their pay packet? Does this recognition occur in both ‘Manager-to-employee’ and ‘Manager-to-team’ situations?
  6. Limited Work-Life Options – Are you flexible with job sharing, maternity / paternity / study leave; are employees able to work part-time or from a home office?
  7. Poor Company Culture – Are there ethical issues at conflict with what the company says its culture represents and how it actually operates?
  8. The Employee’s Life Situation Has Changed – Have departing employees just married or had a baby; are their salary and benefits no longer supportive of their life needs?
  9. Questionable Promotional Practices – Has management promoted someone who lacks the training and/or necessary experience to supervise, alienating staff and driving away good employees?
  10. No Enjoyment – Have departing employees simply stopped having fun at work and enjoying their jobs?

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? One other thing of particular mention was the quote from Jo Mithen (CEO of the Australian Human Resources Institute) stating “there are elements of truth in that people don’t leave bad jobs so much as they leave bad managers”. Which brings me to the next topic, that of the Toxic Manager.

The toxic manager is without doubt every employees worst nightmare. While most managers will lead from the front and delegate responsibilities as appropriate, the toxic manager makes it their personal mission to control every facet of your working life turning what should be productive employment into 8 hour chunks of sheer living hell.

Toxic managers can have a severe effect on their employees emotional and psychological health and wellbeing. In some circumstances there can be more extreme symptoms such as feeling physically sick, “dreading” Monday morning, panic attacks etc., which are all signs of a more deep routed problem with a potentially toxic working environment.

If you find that you are experiencing physical/psychological problems from your current employer seek advice from a medical professional. No job is worth risking your health and wellbeing over!

Moving On…

move-onWhen people choose to move on, they have usually made their minds up and committed themselves towards seeking fresh challenges in greener pastures.

Forbes2 magazine recently published an article about the changing work culture in America and that employees who once would have settled for less so they can stay employed are now actively looking for increased recognition of their efforts both financially and within the workplace as we begin the slow climb out of recession.

For many people five years seems to be about the “right time” to make their move and level up. So take a good look at Nike’s slogan and “Just Do It TM”.

Breaking up is hard to do…

At this point many people will figured out that it’s time for them to move on. However this is also the time when you can become indecisive. Moving on can be a hard thing to do if you like the environment you work in and the people. It’s easy to allow emotions to cloud your judgement.

There are may things that you need to consider when choosing to move on. My advice is this:

Think of what you will learn in your new job. What will you learn if you stay where you are, where will you be? Think of the future doors this opportunity will open for you. If you don’t take the plunge you’ll never know what might have been and before you know it 10 years have passed and you’re still in exactly the same place you were before.

The other thing to consider once you have made your decision is to remain on good terms with your employer. Remember that burning your bridges can have repercussions later on. After all, you never know when you may cross paths with your former employer.

The Counter Offer


This is also the time of the counter offer, where your employer may offer you some financial incentive to stay. The thing to bear in mind is that in recent studies approximately 75% to 90% of people who accept a counter offer usually end up leaving within 6 months.

Counter offers are always “too little, too late”. Avoid accepting them like the plague. Another thing to avoid is using a new position to “play off” against your current employer. Whilst it may seem like a cunning tactic to get more money you could be manoeuvred by your employer into issuing an ultimatum that you will either have to carry out or back down losing all respect.

So what now?

Once you have committed yourself to moving on the attitude of your peers may change towards you. While many will wish you well in your new endeavours some may feel like you have let the side down. However don’t let the naysayers get you down. You are now past the point of no return. All that remains is to tidy up your desk (unless you already have a “Clean DeskTM policy), pack away any remaining personal items, be sure to return any company property and say your farewells including having a few after work drinks if that’s your thing.

Roll on Monday morning!

Clean DeskTM – My only requirements for work are a working PC & Monitor and somewhere to sit, beyond that I do not have any family photos or “personalised” workspaces. When I leave all I take with me is what I brought in… me and my jacket!

1 Absolute Global – Top Ten Reasons Why People Quit Their Jobs

2 Forbes Magazine – The Top Five Reasons Employees Will Quit In 2013


5 thoughts on “Should I stay or should I go now…?

  1. Really enjoyed reading this article.. I think that a lack of appreciation from line managers seems to be a strong reason for employees to start looking for another job. However there is only so much that offering appreciation and giving constructive feedback can achieve, as eventually I feel that a lack of opportunities to move up within an organisation can drive employees away.

  2. Hi Matt,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It’s a sad fact that when there are opportunities companies will seek either bring in “new blood” rather then promote from within. All too often I see internal employees who have considerable talents completely sidetracked by the HR department who then wonder why they are losing staff. Talent management should not stop after hiring the employee, it should be a continual process. Before looking outside companies should be looking within at their own talent pool. The sad reality is that in some work environments there is a constant “churn” of employees and that the business just accepts it as fact the people will move on and not ask the more searching question as to why. To be honest if they have to ask why then perhaps they just don’t get it… It would seem that you can realise you goals quicker by changing employers than to hang around on the promise that a position will turn up.

  3. Hello,

    I really enjoyed this post, being a student in my final year of university I have this all to come I imagine! It is really helpful to read about it before I start my first ‘real’ job! I hope that I love my first job, where ever that maybe, but this post has highlighted that if I feel its not really for me, I should probably move on. My dad has always told me that ‘if you love your job you will never have to work a day in your life’. A phrase everyone should bare in mind throughout their career. However with the job market harder than ever, especially for graduates, I think I should prepare myself for jobs that I wont love. As I would rather be in a job than have no job at all?

  4. Hi Gabriella,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I would say that having a job you love is a “career”, most of us have only a job.

    Speaking as someone who has been unemployed several times in my life I would prefer to work than just stay home feeling bitter about the world. Right now things are tough out there for everyone. I guess its the by-product of a global marketplace.

    The thing to keep in mind is that a job is a means to an end, its living that counts. You can have may jobs in a lifetime but you only have one life!

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