To Stay or To Leave Your Job? Four Secrets to Help You Decide

How do I make this decision? Red Cape Revolution can help

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll notice I’ve written about why you should stay in your job as well as why you should leave. Yes, I have a perspective on both sides of the issue. And it’s ticked some of you off.

“This decision is really, really hard,” Tom wrote. “Can’t you just tell me which is best now?” And my answer is no . . . not gonna do it. But it’s not because I’m a waffler—it’s because the only person who can make that decision for you is you.

I’m  saddened by how many of you amazingly talented professionals are wondering, worrying, stressing about whether you should stay or move on–and then you keep wondering, worrying, stressing–and never make a decision. You need some honest advice, fresh thinking, and perhaps a little kick in the patootie to get into action. So if you are one of the many today agonizing over this decision, here are four secrets you should know to make the right decision for you.


Secret #1:

You don’t have to leave your job to change your life at work.

Read that again. If you need change, you may have all you need to create the change you need without throwing yourself into the Which way should you go? Red Cape Revolution can helpjob market. Isn’t that a relief?

We’re living in a myth-driven era where the loudest voices are talking about the extremes. This is as true in career change as it is in Washington. I shudder at the extreme stories in women’s magazines (O, I’m talking to you) that introduce you to people like Anna, the banker who is now a goat farmer. In their 500 well-intended words, they make it sound like extreme change is the only way to change.

You read that, and you think, “Well, good for Anna, but I’m not her. I don’t have her money/time/lactose intolerance/patience/family situation. . . .” And then you do nothing to change.

But real change happens closer to the middle. It’s not an all-or-nothing choice. You actually have options, right where you are. (Yes, even you, in your profession, with your experience, in your town, in your  company, in this economy.) And these aren’t pie-in-the-sky, fantasy options; they’re the real deal for the real you. Once you understand the secret that you don’t have to change your job to change your life at work, you’re ready for real change that can make all the difference.


Secret #2:

There are only three things you need in order to start looking for your next opportunity or improving the one you’ve already got.

Just three. Sounds a lot simpler than the thousands of things other people are telling you that you need, right? Regular readers have heard these before, but time after time, these magic three things continue to be:Find tools for clarity at RedCapeRevolution.com

  • Clarity: You may know what you don’t want (your current boss/commute/schedule/paycheck, etc.), but what the heck do you want? You’ve got to get brave and get clarity about not only what you want, but who you are and what’s important to you right now.
  • Confidence: What do you believe about yourself? Or what stories are you telling yourself? Building your confidence and winning the battle of the brain can create change in an instant.
  • Control: Yes, you can control your experience at work, whether you stay right where you are and initiate changes or whether you start an external search. If you’re feeling you’ve lost control, it’s time to use proven tools to get it back.

(Don’t forget we’ve got plenty of free tools and ideas in our archives to help you get more clarity, confidence and control.)


Secret #3: 

Your next step doesn’t have to be your last—no matter how old you are.

Are you too old for some things? Well, if it’s hot pants and extreme sports, probably. (Except for you, Bob—but not both at once, please.) But taking a new step in your working life? Today, the reality is it’s never too late.

At Red Cape Revolution, we think you are amazingLet’s look at the facts. For those of you in the US, if you were born in 1960 or later, your “official” Social Security retirement age is now 67, not the assumed 65. (Go check your own year here.) So that’s two more years than you may already be thinking.

Plus, why would you let Social Security decide how long you work? Have you noticed how may energetic, vibrant 70+ old folks are out there (hello, Mom and Dad!). People are working longer–not just because they have to, but in many cases today, because they want to make a contribution and feel of use.

Increasingly, doing great work that works for you is not about your age–it’s about your energy. If you’ve been feeling zapped of any spark in your current gig, isn’t it time to get that back before you feel as old as you are?

And remember this—no matter how old you are today, you’re going to be older tomorrow. So why are you waiting?


Secret #4:

You’re not alone. There’s help.

That’s why we’re here. We know from working with people just like you that you can change your life at work without changing everything in your life.

From time to time, we hold a class called “Should I Stay or Go?” If you’d like to be notified when we run the class next, be sure to subscribe to our email updates (and also get my free ebook, “27 Days to Change Your Life at Work”

We believe in you. Thanks for being here.

YOUR TURN: If you need to decide whether to stay or leave your job, what answers do you need? Tell us below or on Facebook.
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40 responses to “To Stay or To Leave Your Job? Four Secrets to Help You Decide”

  1. I’ve been in the same job for just over 6 years, I’m good at it, it pays reasonably well but a couple of years ago they changed the working conditions and it’s never been the same…. I’ve gone from working 2 1/2 whole days to 5 half days and it’s had a huge impact on my life…. mostly cos I can’t visit my family as often as I would really like, is that a pathetic reason to leave ?

  2. Choosing yourself and your family is never a pathetic reason to leave a job, Terri. If your working conditions aren’t working for you, it’s time to get clear about what would work for you. Once you know what you want, you can either have the courage ask for those changes where you are (especially since you’re good at your work) or to start exploring other opportunities where you can get what you need. Making a change is never easy, but the harder thing is living a life at work that gets in the way of what you want out of life!

    Good luck and we’re rooting for you!

    Always,
    Darcy

  3. I cant decide to leave my current company, because of the retirement benefit and HMO that i can used in the fture. Is it a valid reason to stay? Eventhough i want some new learnings or career growth?

    • Alex, retirement benefits and a great health plan can be legitimate reasons to stay somewhere, but who says those things can’t be found somewhere else? The question is that if you’re no longer learning or growing, are YOU okay with that? My bet is you’re not. What would it take to feel like you’re growing again? Have you asked your manager or leader for those opportunities? You never know when the opportunity to grow might be right in front of you. Once you’ve tried asking for more right where you are, then there’s nothing wrong with starting to explore the world outside. If feeling like you’re growing and making the most of your skills is important to you–as it is to many of us–stop wondering if you should leave and start asking the questions that can help you figure it out. We’re rooting for you!

      Always,
      Darcy

  4. I’ve been at my current job for 8 years now and feel confident with what I do on a daily basis. My schedule is very flexible and that works great for my 2 young children. Most places have has massive layoffs and my facility fell victim earlier this year. I’m happy to still be employees here but it did force me to search for a new job. Just a few days ago I received a call from an old boss offering a job with a real tough superior and a very fixed early schedule that will throw my children’s schedule off significantly. Its slightly more pay but I’m concerned about the superior I’d have to report to…..just not sure what I should do and I know I have to make the final decision….any input?

    • Hi Anne, and thanks for sharing your story. It was so smart of you to start looking for new opportunities once you saw what was happening at your current workplace. And congrats that someone who worked with you before continues to think so highly of you that they’d call you again for a new opportunity–it’s a good indicator of your value, and you should feel great about that.

      When new opportunities come up, I always suggest looking at them with open eyes and doing your own homework. Do you know for a fact that the superior you’d be working with is “tough”? In whose eyes? What’s tough for one person simply looks like holding people accountable to someone else. And schedules, for the right person, can often be negotiated today, in our world that’s moved far from having to be in one place from 9-5.

      That said, you’re the only person who can check it out and make sure it is right for you, your family, and your career. Don’t just take a new job for more money unless that’s the only goal you set for your life at work. You’re talented or else your current company would have let you go when they needed to downsize. Believe in your abilities, ask good questions, and you’ll make the right decision for you.
      Always,
      Darcy

  5. I’ve been in a position for 10 years…the pay is average but the benefits are wonderful. I have been offered a position in a factory making $5/hr more but it is second shift and a 50minute drive….I am 45 and no little children at home but scared..husband is against it as he is insecure and self employed, the money would help us tremendously…I just cannot decide.

    any advice would be appreciated.

  6. I currently work for a job that is entry level salary that I got out of college. It’s a great job( easy going, good coworkers, rewarding, and flexible). I work with the criminal population. I recently got an offer to become a correctional officer which can be viewed as a good opportunity ( state benefits, pension, increase in salary). But, the cons: potentially workong 16 hr shifts, working 2nd or 3rd shift to start, and the potential for danger. As a young female professional who wants to have kids and a family (within 5 years)- I don’t know if this is a good choice to make. To move to a more stressful environment where it seems your life revolves around the agency is quite an adjustment. But, I do see the opportunity for advancement within the agency.

    I am not sure to move or stay. I should mention I also have another state job offer that is security in the court. But, I have been waiting to hear back from this agency for a while now. They are lacking funding currently. But, the job is Less stressful, 1st shift schedule, not as dangerous, more flexible and not as depressing. The cons are that there is no advancement opportunities and you cap out at a lower pay.

    Advice would be great. Thanks

    • Hi Sylvia, and congratulations on having new opportunities to consider! Sometimes we’re so caught up in worrying about making a decision that we forget to acknowledge to ourselves that we do have value and that someone out there needs us. So pat yourself on the back!

      Now, just because someone needs us doesn’t mean it’s the exact right thing for us. I hear you looking for advancement and opportunity. What does this mean for you? It may be time to get more specific on what you want that to look like–is it more learning? More challenging situations? More decision-making responsibility? More pay? Take a minute to get really, really clear on what advancement means for you, and look at your opportunities against that list.

      Also, as you look at this new opportunity where you see potential advancement, I read your list of all the things that could be difficult about it. I don’t claim to know the corrections industry, but I always ask my clients to check in and realize what they know for sure vs. what they’re assuming. Have you talked to your potential bosses, or people already doing the job? Can you take a morning and job shadow someone who’s already in that job? How much of what you think is truth, versus what you assume might happen? We often assume things based on casual knowledge, but the smartest thing to do is to get the real-life story.

      Finally, if you decide to take the job for the advancement even though it may have other elements that you don’t like, remember it’s not forever. Can you learn something there that you can apply to other jobs later, when you are ready for a different pace of work as you start your family? Saying yes to something now doesn’t mean it’s a yes forever.

      If you decide these new opportunities aren’t the right ones, don’t give up. Remember that these came along and others will, too. Believe in you–I do!

      Thanks for sharing!

      Always,
      Darcy

  7. I have been at my currently job for 15 years but the last 4 have really been difficult and stressful so I have been considering to move on. There have been several co-workers who have left since then and the work has just been spread out among who is left instead of the company hiring new qualified people. TO make matters worse, I have hit a ceiling with the company and really feel I have nowhere to go. The pay is good, benefits started out great but are now just fair. Of course, I’m not sure if I should stay but nothing really equal has come up since I started looking until here lately when I received a potential offer that almost the same. How should I decide if I should take it, if they make me an offer.

    Any advice would be great! Thanks,

    • Hi Ray, and thanks so much for sharing your situation. I can relate–I had been with my previous company for 15 years and everything looked good “on paper”–good money, good title, good people, good work–but it started not working for me anymore. I wasn’t growing or feeling as recognized or rewarded as I had been.

      For me and for many of the clients I work with in similar situations like yours, the first thing you always need to do is to get clarity on what you DO want. It’s easy to feel like we have nowhere to go, but instead of looking at what you don’t want, invest some time in what you do.

      For example, if you could wave a magic want, what do you want to be learning? Growing? What kind of pay and benefits will be the right ones for you? What kind of work culture do you want? What kind of hours, flexibility, freedom?

      Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking only through the lens of your current company or work. Here are two videos that can help:
      The Only Three Questions You Need to Answer Now to Get Career Clear (video training)
      http://tinyurl.com/GetCareerClear3

      How to Gain Clarity: Career Advice You Can Use (video)
      http://redcaperevolution.com/clarity-career-advice/

      Once you know what you DO want, you can make a better decision (and interview better) with other companies who may provide a better match for what you want. In my “Should I Stay or Go” decision-making class, I teach to run toward a target, not run from an arrow. Leaving just to get out of where you are is only a strategy when things are really awful.

      Finally, as a successful 15 year employee, once you get clear on what you want differently, you might want to look and see if it can happen within your own organization. Don’t underestimate your value and the value in the company keeping you there, even if the work you’re doing looks different. I did this as part of my transition to something new, and I’m grateful for the courage to ask for something different. You can read more about the strategies here:
      http://redcaperevolution.com/find-a-new-job-in-your-company/

      Ray, I hope this is useful to you. Stay positive, and keep bringing your superpowers to work. Thanks for sharing!

      Always,
      Darcy

  8. I just started a new job. This is a 100 percent sales commission job, which is a con to me for starters. My second interview I am stood up by the assistant. They call and apologize and offer me the job. The corporate job site trained us very well. I left there being so confident and positive. I come back to my home town site and on the first day, I am working under a senior salesperson, not a manager and am told the appts. I made were a waste of time, that our time is valuable, do not make these type of appts.! Even though corporate told us to us to make these appts.! He also told me that I was not take a lunch on a 10 hour day, that I was expected by our manager to bring in a lunch and sit at my desk and eat it. Than we are doing call night and another salesperson yelled at me, telling me to answer a call that was coming in…I was on the other line already and he continued to yell at me saying I was making excuses, lying and should be fired. Mind you this is my first day back in my hometown. Everything I was taught at corporate I was told not to do here. Customer service was horrible, it’s like we like their money but that’s all we are obligated to provide a sale. This tugs on my heart string a lot, because I have had so much customer service training and goes against everything I have been taught. After 4 days, I put in my notice to quit, I get a call from the manager, I tell her why I am quitting and everything I have described. She offers me to work directly under her, apologizes etc, etc. I just can’t shake this bad feeling that this job is just for me even with this offer from the manager. I feel that if all this stuff can happen to me in my first week, what is there to come? I have lost motivation, have a negative feeling and just take everything that happened to me as a sign to leave. Do I take her offer?

    • Hi Patricia, and thanks for your question. What I’ve found is that past behavior is often an indicator of future behavior. Trust the feelings you have that something’s not quite right here, and keep looking elsewhere.

      That said, if they’ve offered you some concessions and the revised job gives you some income and work stability in the short term, it sounds like a great idea to take it but KNOW it’s not the place for you forever. Get back in the job search. The job and their short-term promises give you some breathing room while you look more, but your trust has been lost. You’re always more employable when you have a job, so just leaving because they broke their promises really only hurts you the most.

      Finally, make a list of what you’ve learned about what you might say or do differently next time to get clearer on the kind of environment or expectations. What has this experience taught you that you can control? Ask ahead of time? Get confirmed in writing? etc. I do think that everything happens for a reason, and there may be a reason in your future why you had to struggle through this experience now.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Always,
      Darcy

  9. I have been in a wonderful job for 6 months. However I was offered another position in another company for 16% increase in base pay plus other benefits. I love my present job, but there is a possible looming hostile takeover that may happen in the near future. The people I work for are wonderful. I am terribly upset in creating havoc in their lives and leaving so many projects undone. The new position is excellent however. Any suggestions for me? I am really having a tough time with this.? I thank you

    • Hi Seth! Sometimes, after a successful job search, the seeds we planted keep sprouting. Congrats to you for doing such a good job that you have multiple opportunities to consider!

      Here are a few strategies to manage this with grace and professionalism:

      1. First, fully understand the new opportunity, not just its pay & benefits. Because they want you, and because they know you’re already employed, they should be more than willing to let you come and have lunch with the team you’ll be working with, set up a dinner with your potential boss, and/or tour the facilities. You are doing this out of respect for them, you, and your current company. If anyone questions it or tells you you don’t need it, you can say “I know we both want to make sure this is a great decision for both of us, and so these meetings are helpful as I do my due diligence.” If they won’t set them up, walk away–you’ve gotten the info you need about what it will be like to work there.

      2. If you’ve done your homework on the new job and find it is indeed better in all ways (including the people and the work, which it sounds like you love), then you may want to come clean with your current boss to see if they can match the offer or offer you something else to keep you.

      You might say something like, “As you know, I went through a detailed career search before you hired me, and I’m appreciative of how well we’ve all been doing together so far. One of the other companies I’d been in conversation with just came back to me with an offer, and they’re offering me a $X salary, which is 16% more than I’m making here. I’ve been very happy here and normally would not have even listened to the offer, but of course like any of us, I’m worried about the takeover talks and what that will mean for our department.

      “I have not decided what to do, but out of respect for you and this organization, I wanted to be honest and tell you what was going on. I’ve done my research and know that $X (the salary the other company offered) is within the market range for people with my experience level. What would it take for my salary to be readjusted now so that I can look at my opportunity here and the new opportunity on an equal basis?”

      Then, shut up. Your boss may know he/she has the ability to raise your pay now rather than later. Or, she may be able to offer you a bonus, or something else to lessen the gap. Work the process and don’t feel guilty. This isn’t really about money, but it’s about making the right choices for your family’s security and future potential.

      3. If you decide to stay (whether they match your new offer or not), go back to every single person you met at the new company and thank them. Write snail mail thank you notes. Link with them on LinkedIn. Make sure YOU are in charge of the message about why you’re not joining them, and stay on their radar screen for the future. You never know how you’ll be able to help them in the future, and if something happens at your current company and you start actively seeking work again, you’ll have kept those relationships on your side.

      Seth, I hope that helps. Be sure to let me know how it goes! Good luck and thanks for sharing!

      Always,
      Darcy

  10. I am debating whether to resign from my job. I am 55 and have been a nurse for 31 years. For the last 18 I have worked at a major university hospital. I work part-time and am paid very well. I no longer have passion for the area I am working but have lost the skills that would make me more marketable in other areas (and I’m not sure I want the stress of learning a new position in healthcare). I can take retirement but it will be significantly smaller than if I worked until my mid-60’s. My commute of 18 miles takes up to 90 + minutes each way and it is wearing on me greatly. My husband is supportive of any choice I make. I am concerned I might make a decision that I will come to regret. Even though I’ve often taken well thought-out risks, now that I am older I am finding it harder. I am ready for a career change, but have no idea what that would be. Thoughts?

    • Hi Dauree, and thank you for your question. Also, a HUGE THANKS for your years of service as a nurse. I have great respect for the profession and hope that you know how much difference you have made over the years.

      First, you’ve shared that you “no longer have passion for the area I am working.” I’d challenge you to look a little deeper at that. Is it the particular department? Your relationship with peers or a superior? The leadership? Color of the walls? Seriously–take some time to notice what is draining you. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing, what would it be–and how would you feel then?

      {FREE TOOL: One of our Career Courage Challenges this summer was to List What’s Not Working About Your Work. There’s a downloadable tool here to help. This may help you get very, very specific about what’s wrong.
      http://redcaperevolution.com/career-courage-challenge-day-9/}

      Second, please don’t buy into the bias that it’s too late/I’m too old/I can’t handle something new. No matter what you do, tomorrow you will be one day older than today. As someone who’s worked successfully in a helping profession for years, I’m betting that you are not yet ready to stop helping–even though the helping may need to start looking differently. Big hugs to your hubby for being supportive of whatever you do. We tend to regret what we DON’T do, not what we do. You’re plenty young enough to continue to make a difference. And if you start doing something differently and hate it, you can always stop.

      Finally, as you zero in on what’s not working, you can think creatively about how to fix it or what other situations use what you already bring. Have you talked to the hospital’s nurse recruiter or other talent professional who is desperately trying to hire people like you? You never know what kinds of opportunities might pop up on your own backyard if you just start asking.

      Or, if the commute is the part that needs fixing, who might need your knowledge and services nearer to home? Maybe they don’t pay as much, but what would you gain in terms of the free time in your life? Alternatively, a long commute can become your classroom for what’s next–there are oceans of great, mind-expanding podcasts to listen to on any topic in the world you’re interested in. It’s a free way to test out new career areas or topics and let those long drive times fly by.

      Dauree, I hope that’s useful. Do keep me posted and keep bringing your superpowers to work!

      Always,
      Darcy

      • Darcy, would you give the same “It’s not too late” reply to a 54-year-old who is noticing some pretty inhibiting health and cognitive changes? (Memory, of course, ability to understand spoken work–especially if technical or rapid. Among other things.) But I’ve had enough here–my graphic arts job has been reduced to proofing files our customers now create themselves. My company has changed: they’ve gone from “take whatever classes you need” to cutting all educational benefits (and some others) to the point where there’s ridiculous red tape and need for “dollar-based justification” to even buy a dang book. They’re also doing the “don’t replace someone–current employees can take it on” routine when someone leaves/retires. After our database manager left I took on sole responsibility, so I asked for a raise/recognition, but my supervisor said they’re not going to pay more for “just doing my job”. It’s become strange here.
        Yet when you’re in your 50s and your brain is starting to struggle with what used to be easy (yes, I talked to my doctor–two, in fact, one a neurologist–and got “I hear this all the time; it’s part of getting older)… well, it’s tough to talk yourself into taking a risk; tough to lose the four weeks of vacation I’ve finally earned. Maybe that’s negotiable, but I start to doubt my ability to compete with the quick younger generation (who are willing to start with less $$) or even learn a different job when I land one.

        I’ve always wanted to program (I already have some background), so I’m struggling through a Javascript class, but I sure don’t learn like I used to. Would a new employer be patient enough??

        Thoughts?

        • Hi Wendi, and thanks for your question. While I know conventional wisdom is that losing brain function is part of aging, there is more and more research telling us that it doesn’t have to be that way.

          I’m no brain scientist, but from what I’ve read, the brain can regenerate itself if we take good care of it. Like our bodies the brain wants a challenge–it needs to stretch to grow.

          So I’m wondering, based on what you shared–are you forgetting things at work or feeling less mentally nimble because you may not be challenged as much any more? Maybe you’re bored because you’re doing the same things over and over, or doing things that are less than your abilities?

          If those things ring true, don’t blame it on your brain. Yes, it may be time for something new. If you’ve always wanted to program, those skills are in high demand. If you’re struggling through that class, maybe it’s the wrong class! Have you tried Lynda.com (owned by LinkedIn) or Udemy.com? Those places teach all kinds of topics for reasonable prices, and they’re designed not for the 18 year old student but for the working person who is adding skills to their life.

          Don’t settle for the myth that “since we’ve downsized, others need to pick p the gaps.” That’s just short-sighted, but your silence equals acceptance. Read this for more on why you might need to drop some balls: http://redcaperevolution.com/what-to-do-when-theres-too-much-to-do-part-i/

          Don’t give up at 54. Know your value, grow in the areas you find fun and are curious about, and you’ll decide whether you can make changes right where you are, or whether it’s time for something else.

          Keep me posted!

          Always,
          Darcy

  11. I am currently at a place that many people dream to work for. However, my main position is washing dishes and maintaining the work environment for our trainee’s. Every once in a while I can train staff and receive other responsibilities… but I have come to a point where I feel that if i stay something might come up, but that could add on to another year. I have been with the company for four years and in the field for 8 years (same company). I carry two BA degrees in International Business and Marketing. Part of my job involves collecting food and feeding the hungry (that’s the best part). I work with nice people, but at the same time I don’t see room for growth career wise. All I hear is that, ” You do great work!”, “You write so well!”, “You are doing great with this program.”, “You do great with the team.”

    I know I have been a great employee for 2 years, my 3rd year wasn’t fair to me (worked my current position on top of 3 other responsibilities involving logistics, creating documents, driving visitors, etc., got great reviews from staff and visitors on reviews and then was put back at my current position, I felt used. But was happy to learn from my experiences.)

    I am now sitting at my desk, trying to fill in hours (like how to stay productive for the 2016 year) I am the only one worried about planning. I just reminded my boss (my supervisor left) that we have year end meetings.. she didn’t even think about us. So I am planning for the promotion of my responsibilities in the 2016 year.

    Sorry for the long message. There is so much I have to tell, but I should respect your time.

    • Hi there, and thanks for sharing your question. It sounds like you have a strong work ethic and want better for yourself. Congrats–nothing happens without hard work and being willing to learn ongoing, but we have to take control of how we steer that work toward our best career. You’ve named yourself “Making Things Happen,” so let’s do that!

      If you’re underutilized at work and you’ve shown in the past that you can do other things successfully beyond your job description, it’s a perfect time for you to create a proposal for how your job could change (and with it other elements,like your salary or responsibility with other people, etc.)

      Often, we assume our bosses are thinking about these things for us, but surprise! They’re human, and their brains are filled with lots of things every day. If you need change, you have to ASK. And when you ask in a way that’s good for the business AND good for you, you can get a lot closer to your goals.

      Here’s an article from our blog that may help, with steps, scripts and language about how you could ask for something different: http://redcaperevolution.com/find-a-new-job-in-your-company/

      If you ask, followup, and try again and still there’s no change in your situation, start using that extra time you have to identify other people, companies and opportunities that may be out there for you. Looking at other opportunities doesn’t mean you have to take them. Understanding your options and your value in the marketplace can go a long way toward helping you make things happen, whether somewhere else, or right where you are.

      Hope that’s helpful. Keep us posted, and good luck!
      Always,
      Darcy

  12. Hello,

    I currently work at a job for 7 years now. I enjoy the work environment and am good at my work. However, there currently is not many opportunities for me to continue advancement. There are some upcoming positions in 2016, where I would do something a little bit different, but it would be within the same department and not really a “move up” and more of a side move.

    I was offered a position at another company. The company is smaller and the pay is pretty much exactly the same. I would be doing something different then what I am doing now. The people at the new company seem nice as well.

    Both places are about the same distance from where I live. When I told my boss I was considering leaving she understood, but offered to pay me more money. Also, when she told the president of the company he is now wanting to talk to me as well.

    After 7 years it is hard to leave and in a way I want to see what else is out there, but on the other hand I am comfortable at my position and have a lot of flexibility regarding when to take time off and such. I am having a real hard time choosing and I really have to figure it out soon. I have been having a loss of sleep and generally not feeling well/stressed in making this decision.

    • Hi Jack, and thanks for writing. Congrats on the offer at the other company. You’ve skipped over how that came about, but I know that opportunity never falls from the living room ceiling–you must be doing something right for that company to make you an offer.

      Also, I hope you feel GREAT about the fact that when you told your boss about the offer, she offered to increase your pay and also thinks highly enough of you to get the president involved. If you ever doubted your value to the company, know that proves they value you. People don’t offer more money or spend time talking to you further just to be nice–they do not want to lose you, and that’s to your advantage.

      It sounds like what you’re looking for is more growth. Get really, really clear on what that means. Is it a promotion or title? Bigger responsibilities? Managing people? Getting involved in a different department? You can’t know if a new role is the right one (at another company or the one you’re at right now) unless you first get clear on what YOU want.

      Take a look at this free training video to help you get career clear:
      http://tinyurl.com/GetCareerClear3

      Once you know what you want, you may be able to ask for it at your own company, where you know the people and have the flexibility you have earned. Or, you can ensure that you’ll have that level of growth at the new company, because before you say “yes,” you can ask them specific questions about how you’ll grow.

      (To think about ways to change your role in your existing company, read this: http://redcaperevolution.com/find-a-new-job-in-your-company/)

      Hope that helps. Keep me posted and know I’m rooting for you! Oh, and get some sleep–you’ll make the right decision for you.

      Always,
      Darcy

  13. I have been at my job for almost 2 years. It’s the longest I have stayed at a job for a long. My working conditions are good, I like my colleagues and one of my bosses. However, the other boss is very high maintenance and difficult to work for. Sometimes I feel scared and stressed around her to the point that I make stupid mistakes and then she calls me on them. She is the only bad part of my job. I have flexibility with how much vacation I can take and I can take off if my children are sick. I have been looking for other opportunities and I had an interview yesterday but I am afraid of the unknown. I have only met with the HR person and not the employers so if I get an interview, I will go and see if it feels right but that is not always easy. I am not sure if I should move on or not.

    • Hi Serena! Deciding whether to stay or leave is always tricky, but the reality is that how we feel about the people around us is usually more important than any other element in our work. No one wants to spend time at work in fear or worry–it’s not healthy, and it’s certainly not productive.

      It’s great that you have a new opportunity to consider. It never hurts to evaluate what else is out there. However, if you love everything about your job EXCEPT the behavior of this one boss, might there be other choices to make in how you deal with her? For example, could you share with her that “when you do X, I react with Y, and that just increases errors, so could you do Z instead?” Depending on your ongoing relationship with her, sometimes we can point out bad behaviors and ask for a change. She may not even be aware. Bosses are human too!

      Now, if you don’t want to ask her to do something differently, you can choose to change your own reaction. When she pushes your buttons, maybe instead of getting anxious and starting in the frenzy where you make mistakes, you tell yourself “Okay, let’s just breathe a second and make sure I understand what the request is.” You get to control your reaction. More here on this:

      http://redcaperevolution.com/take-control-of-your-career/

      Finally, if you’ve changed what you can, it’s great that you can look for other opportunities. Know what you want from those opportunities. Everything you are doing now in your work and life was once unknown, so remember that the good stuff can lie ahead, too–and you don’t want fear to block that.

      More here:

      http://redcaperevolution.com/fears-blocking-your-career-decision/

      Hope that is helpful–keep me posted. I’m rooting for you!

      Always,
      Darcy

  14. I have been at my current job for about 6 months. I’ve interviewed for another position recently as a previous employer called me back. My current job has many advantages and I’m happy with many aspects of it. The new job seemingly offers much more opportunity for growth, and I have already met most of the team there. However, this new job requires me to relocate to another city (a city that I’m very familiar with and grew up in). However I left that city for a reason and those same reasons that I left are the reasons I’m very much hesitating to go back. Also I would have to be a little farther from family and my wife. My wife is fully supportive of my career growth but I am very hesitant, as I feel happier in my current city than the one I would have to move to for a variety of reasons that seem silly to some but are important to me (including weather).
    I’m having a very tough time make the decision and feel I don’t want to give up on a potentially great opportunity for reasons that may only be trivial to many..

    • Hi Denny, and thanks for writing. What’s silly about wanting to be closer to your family and live in a climate you like? Those are things that make up the important aspects of our life, and they’re yours to choose. There’s nothing silly about having the great opportunity to make choices that work for you!

      Congrats on the new opportunity, and it’s good that you’re willing to relocate, but I’d ask whether the things you’ll gain outweigh what you’ll have to give up? If career growth is the only reason you’re looking at the new role, what might be possible right where are, if only you asked more formally for it?

      Take a look at this article and see if it may be of help:
      http://redcaperevolution.com/find-a-new-job-in-your-company/

      Remember, if you’re valuable to another company, you may be just as valuable to the one where you are now.

      Hope this helps. Good luck making the decision. Your gut is never trivial–don’t discount it!

      Always,
      Darcy

  15. Hi. I’ve been employed at my job for three months. There is no passion at all. I feel I do more paper work than anything and deal with people and their lives more than I would like. I’m a case manager. I feel like I allow my work to carry over into my personal life. I don’t have any energy to cook or do anything when I get home and I’m a mother of two as well( 5 and 10). I would like to have more energy and time for them. I’ve also wanted to pursue working from home. Earlier this year I’ve registered a buisness name and have yet to do anything from there as I don’t have the time between work and family. I want working from home more than anything and this job was not intended for long term purposes either but I’m ready to clock out now. I don’t know how to tell my supervisor I want to leave. And as far as finances my other half is in full support of whatever I want to do. And a apologies on misspellings as I’m writing from my phone. Advice please!

    • Hi Emily! Thanks for sharing your story. Here’s what I’d ask–why did you take this role three months ago in the first place? What were you expecting, or hoping for, that hasn’t happened? What’s the lessons you’ve learned looking back?

      I think before we look toward something new, it’s important for us to realize the assumptions and ideas we might have had that either are no longer true or aren’t what they appeared to be.

      As you think about the lessons you’ve learned, do you know what you want in your life at work? Take a look at my free training video, “The Only Three Questions You Need to Answer Now to Get Career Clear.”
      http://tinyurl.com/GetCareerClear3

      Working from home isn’t a magic wand. Before you dive into that life, I’d urge you to talk to a few people who are doing it. It’s likely that you have friends or friends-of-friends who have their own businesses or work for someone else remotely. Really understand that life–it can be as draining as working in an office you don’t like!

      It’s great that you have the financial flexibility to leave, but remember that wherever we go, we take ourselves (and how we think and feel) with us. Will how you feel change if you leave? It sounds like you are doing the hardest work in the world of raising a young family. I admire that. Perhaps you’re putting pressure on yourself that diminishes the importance of your work there?

      At any rate, don’t stay stuck forever. There may be a good reason you’re facing the challenges you are at work right now, and it may be a sign you need to try some different strategies to get different results.

      Hope that is useful. Keep me posted, and I’m rooting for you.

      Always,
      Darcy

  16. Hi Darcy,

    I’m currently in tricky situation. I have been at my current job for 3 years. Due to lack of qualification my room for growth are very limited. And my current salary is below average.

    Due to certain events and in stages of anger I send my résumé out. First I heard nothing, but now 2 offers came to hand. Both are more money, and the one is at a stong company from which I heard very good things.

    My problem is that both are not in my current field of job (which I love), but as I mentioned before, I cannot grow in my current field due to lack of qualifications.

    Another issue is that I have huge loyalty towards my boss. And we have a great working relationship, my colleagues are also great to work with.

    Sometimes it feels like I’m just too afraid of change and might need the little push, but other times I feel I might not be ready for change, but then again I’m turning 30 and it feels like life is moving very slow, as my career was always my number one priority.

    Do you have any advice?

    • Hey MW–thanks so much for writing. Congratulations on having offers on the table! You don’t say from your note whether you’ve already gone through the interview process and have a firm, written offer in place, but if not, there is nothing wrong with interviewing to understand whether the new opportunity is a stronger one than where you are now.

      I hear you saying that you can’t grow in your current field due to a lack of qualifications, but that you LOVE your current field. So, what would it take to get the right qualifications? And do you know for sure (based on tangible feedback from a leader)that those qualifications are indeed needed anymore? Often, when a company has problems that need to be solved, they’ll value experience and attitude over degrees and “on-paper” qualifications. You may already be qualified but are censoring yourself because you assume certain things need to be checked off. See this article for more:

      http://redcaperevolution.com/stop-the-career-censorship/

      Finally, if you really respect and trust your boss, when’s the last time you had an honest conversation about your career goals and potential? It sounds like there were some situations that frustrated you enough to send out resumes, so life at your workplace may not be all that perfect. Does he or she know that? Does your boss know you may be thinking about looking elsewhere in order to grow? It’s fair to say, “I’m thinking about what’s next for me, and I’d value some time with you to talk more about my career here and where I might grow.” Sometimes, even getting a hint that you’re thinking about other opportunities or that you’re not 100% engaged can help even the best boss move forward and take action to help you get the growth you want.

      Keep me posted. Don’t be afraid of change at 30–making ourselves uncomfortable is really the only way we can grow. More here: http://redcaperevolution.com/make-yourself-uncomfortable/

      Always,
      Darcy

  17. Im at my current part time job for over 4 years. Im 25. At my job in the past I’ve been threatened and nothing was done about it, I’ve been passed over for a raise, my job duties are now half as much as they were. I was offered a new job making 45 cents more, with a more strict dress code, a longer commute, and the store isn’t even open yet. I went for one close by and got one half hour away plus minus traffic. My current job has me working about 500 feet from my Bro. New job means new location. I don’t know what to do and I feel sick.

    • First of all, when you start to worry so much about work that it makes you sick, it’s a good sign that you need to take back control. And remember, you only control three things:
      Everything you say,
      Everything you do, and
      Everything you think.

      Put them all together, and that’s a lot. When you take control back, you won’t make yourself sick–even if things aren’t perfect.

      So, take a look at the things you can control. Right now, it sounds like you’re enjoying being close to your Bro. Would you/could you make time to see him if you worked somewhere else? If so, he’s not a big enough reason not to try something else, especially early in your career at 25.

      If you believe you’ve earned a raise, have you asked specifically why you’ve been passed over? You control what you say, and often we make assumptions rather than getting the true data. You don’t have to be confrontational. You can say, “I’m thinking about my career here, and I’d like to grow my responsibilities as well as my pay. I didn’t get the pay raise I expected and it’d be helpful to me to understand why.” And then you shut up and let your manager talk. They may be uncomfortable; that’s okay. Let them talk. When they’re done talking, ask “What do you need to see from me so that I can continue to earn more pay here?” Look for the specifics.

      The bigger question here is “do you know what you want?” It sounds like location may be important to you. And perhaps you have an ideal pay range. Write all of those things down. What do you want from your work? Rather than just accepting what’s in front of you, take a little time to know what you want the ideal situation to be. That way, when you pursue new opportunities, you know you’re on the right track.

      Hope this is helpful. Don’t make yourself sick over your career at 25. You have a lot of working time left, and it’s your job to create that career and life that you love, not dread. Let me know what you decide, and what other questions you have.

      Always,
      Darcy

  18. I am a fresh passed out from college and have completed my btech in may 2015.I was placed from campus at a very good company and have been working there on from 6 months.But I am planning to pursue MBA further thus wants to prepare for CAT exam seriously which seems to be impossible with this job as around 14 hours of daily are consumed in this job.
    now I want to decide whether to leave the job or continue with it?If i leave it then my work experience will be affected and if I continue with it then I will not be able to continue with my studies.I also have a bond of 1.5 years with company.Suggest me what I should do in this case ??

    • Hi Anshu! First, congrats on your college degree and finding a good job shortly afterward! That doesn’t happen by magic, so be sure to take a moment and appreciate the hard work you did to get there!

      Second, I’d encourage you at this early stage in your career to stop thinking in absolutes–in X OR Y, black OR white. For example, I hear you saying you can work in this job OR study for school. What would need to change to be able to do both? Who should you talk to at your company to see how a short-term change internally might accommodate the room for study? Many organizations support further education with tuition reimbursement and flexible scheduling; don’t discount that at your company until you have asked.

      It’s also a great time to look hard at why you want your MBA. What do you think the degree gets you that continuing to work and grow in your company does not? No education is a “free pass” to success; many people right out of university are significantly better off working for a few years to learn more specifically what they love to do and how an advanced degree might help–or why they don’t need one.

      If you don’t like what you’re doing, then the goal is to find a role that allows you to study for your MBA while still making a living and learning. But if you do like what you’re doing, don’t abandon it without having good conversations with others in the organization–and with yourself about your career goals.

      I hope this is useful–keep me posted! Thanks for sharing!

      Always,
      Darcy

  19. Hi Darcy,
    I have been in my current role for 3 years and for about the last year and a half I have felt like I need a change. The first few years I stayed engaged as I was learning and the job has a lot of great benefits like flexibility, reasonable hours of work, and a fun environment with colleagues which I value but those are the only reasons I stay. The company is small and there is no option for me to do or move into anything else so I have been losing motivation lately. My employer also wants me to spend money on courses to become even more of an expert in the field and I am struggling with this as I almost wish I could spend the money on education unrelated to my field as I am feeling bored of it and feel I need a change.

    Because of this, I have been looking for other work but I only seem to be able to land job offers for the exact same thing I do now. I have an offer for quite a bit more money at a new firm but I feel underwhelmed mainly because it’s the exact same position with little room for growth and I am becoming bored and disinterested in the industry. Do I take the new job simply to avoid a bad situation at my current place where I feel pressure to invest in a career I know I don’t want long term? I feel that if I take the new job I will still be spending all my free time trying to break into something different as I feel like I have taken this field as far as I want it to go.

    • Hi Brandon, and thanks for writing. What jumps out to me in your letter is that you’re bored and ready for a new adventure. For many of the smart professionals I work with, once you’ve mastered one area, you’re not interested in doing it over and over again–you’re ready to master something else. It’s the difference between the mountain climber who gets to the top and builds a cabin to live there, versus the climber who is now looking for the next mountain. I’ve seen a lot of jobs (especially in small companies) be the big mountain to climb (create structure, build relationships, get something moving forward), but once you’re at the top, the company wants you to build the cabin and move in–but you’re ready for the next mountain.

      Is that you? If so, let me ask you–in a perfect world, do you know what you want the next mountain to be? One tool that may help is my Creating Your Personal Vision worksheet you can download for free here:

      http://redcaperevolution.com/managing-your-career-vision/

      If you get clear on where you want to be–not just what you want to move away from–you can start to evaluate new opportunities (and even opportunities inside your company that don’t exist yet) against what you want NOW.

      Finally, don’t give in to pressure by your boss or leaders to spend your own money or time on classes or any other tools that you aren’t interested in. If the organization really wants it, they need to make the investment. (If you need some help saying no, try these scripts: http://redcaperevolution.com/how-to-say-no-at-work/ )

      Trust that your gut is telling you you’re ready for the next thing, and shift your energy away from being frustrated about where you are and toward paying attention to what excites you, interests you, and what might be possible in the future. These words probably only scratch the surface, so stay in touch and feel free to ask more questions. You can do this!

      Always,
      Darcy

  20. Hi Darcy,

    Thanks for your valuable answer.I will surely take it into consideration.But I am in a great confusion regarding my job.It is basically a shift job which comes in between my family responsibility as it becomes too late for me to come back home and my grandma is all alone at home so I have to take care of her also.As I have mentioned that it takes around 14 hours for me including the commuting time so I have very less time which is left with me which I could spend with my grandma.

    I want to pursue MBA at this early stage not because I want to land at a high packaged job but because I want my technical skills to get combine with my managerial one so that combination of both could give up best outcome to any firm.Also I have a great ambition to study higher and to pursue post graduation in the field of management.

    Also work which I am doing at my job is not core technical.Combination to prepare for CAT and also pursue job would be very difficult.So I think I need to choose one here either the job or my family and preparation of CAT(entrance exam for MBA). which one to choose is a great decision for me as you have truly said that finding a good job just after college is not by magic.So please help me in taking the right decision at this point of time as what should I do job or studies?

    • There’s nothing wrong with choosing work that also fits your family commitments, as opposed to adapting your family around your work. But do you really need to quit and study full time? That feels a bit extreme given your ambition to grow and learn. Can you financially afford not to work for a while? Will the time out of the active workforce actually decrease your value in the marketplace? Further education is great, but it is never a magic wand to new opportunities.

      At this early stage in your career, it may make more sense to begin looking for another opportunity where the hours and location are better. Taking a role with a shorter commute “buys” you extra time to study or take care of your grandma. It may not be the perfect job, but it may help you get a better balance so you can be there for your family and still move forward toward your goals.

      If you want to learn to be a better manager, one of the best ways to do so is to work with great managers. What companies nearer to you may have management training programs or other opportunities? What friends or neighbors can you talk to about their local companies? Don’t assume a role that meets your needs doesn’t exist until you have done the homework to know for sure.

      Since you are a recent graduate, don’t hesitate to go back to your university job placement office and ask for more help. They may have ideas about local firms or even virtual work that you may not have thought of.

      I hear you really thinking you need the MBA, but you may want to start talking to some people who have recently earned theirs. Did it help them in the ways they expected? Was it worth the time and money? Again, your university may be able to connect you with recent MBA grads to talk to. I’ve seen too many people believe further studies are a key to success, but it can too easily become a crutch and does not always get you ahead in the way you want.

      I know you’ll make the right decision for you. Don’t give up and good luck on whatever steps you take!
      Always,
      Darcy

  21. Hi Darcy,

    Thanks for your such a valuable answer.I will look onto the other ways out as suggested by you.