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“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Aug 24th, 2018 • Andrea Butcher

10% of relevant talent is actively looking for a new opportunity at any given moment in time; that means that 90% of suitable candidates are not engaged in active job searches. They have not registered with recruiters, are not perusing job boards, and are not applying for roles. They may not even be unhappy where they are, but they ARE willing to move!

This is the world in which we now work and live—we are all prospective candidates in some capacity at different places within the continuum of staying or going. More often than not, there’s an explorer within curious about what’s next, so it’s no surprise that the question of staying or going is being tossed around a lot.

The problem is that the question is flawed for one big reason: Wherever you go, there YOU are. In other words, “There is no future in any job. The future lies in the man [or woman] who holds the job.”—George Crane

I remember a disgruntled coworker once counting down the days until she started her new job, because then, she would be happy. She would finally be rid of all the stress and frustration that she felt. She called me complaining a few months into her new job—she was complaining about the exact same kinds of things that frustrated her in the previous position.

The question isn’t whether you should stay or go, but instead, it’s about what you want and what brings you fulfillment. These are questions that we should regularly ask ourselves regardless of where we are on the stay-go continuum:

  • What brings me fulfillment? When am I at my best? What does my work/career look like ideally 5-10 years from now? In order to have a work experience that provides the fulfillment you want, you have to know what it is you want! Without a vision, you will react to whatever comes your way. When there’s a vision, there’s a place from which to make decisions and choices.
  • What work opportunity(s) will most likely provide the fulfillment and experiences I want?  Choose experiences aligned with your vision. Talk with others about your vision to build momentum and energy around it.
  • How can I maximize my current situation to get me closer to my vision? The potential is always greater than the problem. Do the best you can with what you have where you are—leverage your relationships and identify ways to engage in work that is aligned with what you want. When you argue with reality, you will lose 100% of the time—complaining about what you don’t like in your current role is wasted energy. While you are there, put your energy into finding experiences and people that you enjoy:
  • Leverage your network – talk about what it is you want as much and often as you can. Whenever you meet with or talk to someone about your exploration, ask them who else they think you should talk to.
  • Hone your craft. Use this time to build your skills and get really good at what it is you want to do. Learn as much as you can.

Notice the distinction in the question, “should I stay or should I go” – the distinction between this place and that place as if one is good and one is bad. What’s the common denominator in both situations? YOU! You make of things what they are, so I don’t believe it’s possible for you to make a “bad” decision. If you choose to, you will make either option a great one. We all know that the grass isn’t always greener. Of course not, because the grass is only green if it is getting watered. Rather than exploring a new opportunity to get out of a bad one, identify what it is about the current work or situation that creates a sense of dissatisfaction.

If you are maximizing your current situation and focusing on those things that are within your control, no doubt fulfillment will come to you. It’s not about where you are, it’s about how you are and that is up to you 100% of the time.