“Should I change jobs?” the 40-something corporate consultant asked me.
“Or, do I risk losing what I’ve worked so hard to achieve?”
It’s a tough decision. Even though our hyper-connected, remote-work-possible world can offer more opportunity than ever for smart professionals like you, it’s easy to feel stuck where you are.
In the middle of so much change, we often feel conflicted. Do we explore a new work adventure somewhere else, or do the work to create change right where we are?
Neither choice is right or wrong. (Really—I mean that. Even though I wrote a book called “Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career WITHOUT Leaving Your Job” (emphasis added), I’m not against you leaving your job.
What I’m against is when we’re tempted to make choices without first doing the important internal work to get clear about what you want and need. When you’re clear about that, you can make decide whether to stay or go with significantly more confidence and less stress.
If you’re asking, “should I change jobs?,” use this short list to get out of limbo, fast.
“Should I Change Jobs?” Before You Decide, Check This List ✅
Got your honesty badge on? Good. Answer these 3 questions with a simple YES or NO.
The truth’s important here. Why would you lie to the most important person in your career (that’s YOU, by the way)?
If you’re not sure of your answer, it counts as a NO. No waffling, no excuses.
#1. Yes or No: I am really clear about what I want in the short-term and the long-term. ✅
Often, I’ll hear:
- “I don’t know what I want, but I can tell you what I DON’T want.”
Which is interesting, except for the fact that it’s completely useless if you’re asking “should I change jobs?”
Sure, you can speak confidently about what you don’t want. That’s something YOU KNOW.
But the future? What’s possible? That’s something none of us really know.
The future is figure-outable, though.
First, you need a clear picture of what you want. That includes:
- Your long-term vision.
- Your values.
- Your superpowers & strengths.
- And your ideal environment.
Got that? Good.
Now, can you describe it in a way you can share with others so they can hold the same picture in their head, too?
When someone else can see what you want, then that’s when you know you’re really career clear.
It’s the foundational work that makes everything easier. It’s the first domino. Get your clarity in place and the rest of your actions fall in line.
Check getting clear off your list before you worry about irrelevant things like what to wear to an interview or how to update your resume. Those are just distractions from the real work–the real work of understanding YOU.
#2. Yes or No: I’m honest about the assumptions I’m making. ✅
Ever caught yourself saying things like these?
- “My manager won’t promote me.”
- “I don’t have enough education to do X.”
- “I can’t make any money if I do X.”
Those are all assumptions. Traps.
Because they’re not the truth. If you want to answer “should I change jobs?,” it’s your job to go find the truth.
Yes, it’s out there.
And it’s likely NOT what you’ve been led to believe.
Your Truth-Finding, Assumption Busting Strategy
How do you know the truth from an assumption? If you’re asking “should I change jobs?,” here’s your strategy to use.
- Listen for the extremes. Words like never, always, everyone, and nobody are usually red flags that a statement is an assumption.
- When you catch the extreme, ask yourself, “How do I know that’s true?”
- For example, maybe you’re saying, “Should I change jobs? I know I want to manage people, but nobody in my department ever gets promoted to a manager.”
- You catch the extreme: the word nobody.
- So you ask, “How do I know that’s true?”
- Then, you seek out the FACTS.
- What is proven and tangible? If it was in a movie, could you see the thing happen–not just think it or hear about it?
- Who might you need to talk to figure out whether your assumption is true?
In this case, after examining the facts, maybe your assumption changes to “No one in the past 2 years from my department has gotten promoted to manager. ”
That’s a more productive truth.
It doesn’t create an impossible extreme. Instead, it creates a possibility, such as “I could be the first person from our department in the last 2 years to be promoted to manager” or “Perhaps there hasn’t been anyone qualified who showed any interest in being a manager—so I need to make my desires known.”
Possibilities help you create action. Possibilities move you forward.
Assumptions and lies hold you back.
#3. Yes or No: I’ve completely considered the simplest solutions. ✅✅
What if this were easy?
What if exactly what you wanted was available, right where you are?
When we get clear on what we want, and get honest about the assumptions we’re making, a magical thing can happen.
We realize we can change our life at work without changing everything in our life. (More in my new book, here.)
Instead of asking “should I change jobs?” we start asking better questions, like:
- Is it my entire job that’s not working, or is it some specific aspect of my job? Knowing that, how could I change it?
- What’s perfect right in front of me now? How does that support my values?
- If I had a magic wand, what would I change to make this the right job for me?
- What do I need to say to my leader, manager, or team to be more honest about what’s working for me–and what’s not?
Too often, we overlook the simplest solution–that the answer we seek has been in front of us all the time.
So . . “should I change jobs?”
If you’ve said “yes” or “no” to all three statements, what do you know NOW?
- If you said YES to all three . . .✅✅✅
Congrats! You’ve done the work. It’s time to decide.
Your work to get clear likely tells you whether you’re in the right spot, or a spot where you can take control and start making change–or whether it’s time to move on.
Trust yourself and know that you’re making the best decision you can with the information you have right now. Spending more time or creating more worry will just waste your valuable time and increase your stress levels. You’ve got this.
- If you checked YES twice . . .✅✅
You’re on the right track. You may still have some work to do, but for the most part, you’ve created a solid foundation that will help you get that decision made and move forward.
But, if you said NO to all of these questions . . .
CONGRATS! You finally have answers as to why you’ve been stuck! That’s a positive discovery!
Most of us have never been taught to think differently when we’re making career choices.
We’ve been fed lies that say if you’re not happy in your job, then you should leave. But in many cases, leaving should be the last resort, not the first.
So your decision is (drumroll please) to stay.
Until you do the work to get clear.
Until you examine all your assumptions and replace them with facts.
Until you take action and find that the simplest solution won’t work.
The best thing you can do for your career—and your peace of mind—is to dive deeper into your decision-making process today, and make the best choices for yourself for the rest of your career.
Want more help? Start with my book, Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job
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