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Published: Tuesday, 4/10/2007

Too Long at the Fair

Deciding whether to leave a current employer for greener pastures can force job seekers to ask some tough questions

By Darcel Rockett

CTW Features

People involved in the stock market live by it.

Potential homeowners get acclimated to it.

And employees should pay attention to it, too.

It being the knowledge of when to hold on to something valuable and when to let something go when it is not providing you the results you anticipate.

If you have been toiling at a job where few perks exist and too many stressors persist, you might be entertaining the idea of moving on to something else. But what about your time involved in the company? You re close to being vested; you like the location; you have a close friend at work; you don t want to let co-workers or subordinates down or don t want to lose the cash and benefits. But amid all of that, you don t know how much longer you can ride out all the office politics. How is one to know the right time to stay or go?

The more no s you have, the more you should consider changing jobs or careers, says Dr. Marty Nemko, an Oakland, Calif.-based career coach. Do you feel your work is important? Do you get to use your best skills every day? Do you have the resources to do your job well? Do you receive adequate recognition? Do your co-workers do quality work? Does your supervisor care about you as a person? Do your opinions count? Do you have the opportunity to grow? Would you likely earn more from another job, after taxes, to significantly improve your quality of life? Nemko says.

To answer such questions:

Organize your thoughts and spell out the reasons why you don t like the job. If it s a supervisor, perhaps you can move within the company and work for somebody else. If it s the schedule, create a proposal that will suit your needs and benefit the company and approach management with it. If it s because you feel overwhelmed, maybe you can negotiate an intern to help with tasks or take a training course in an area in which you re weak.

Write a list of complaints that you have about the job to see what s manageable and what s not. Your feelings could be about a whole new career or something practical that needs to be fixed about the current one. Do this by classifying the complaints into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable. The modifiable categories include: discrepancies in pay or promotions (you can attempt to negotiate), problem co-workers (talk to the boss so you don t work with the person anymore) and individual policies or job tasks (ask if you can take on different responsibilities that match your interests). The non-modifiable aspects include the speed at which things happen at the company and office politics.

By doing this list, you put your job picture into perspective. If a couple of things end up in the non-modifiable category, those might not outweigh the modifiable things. If you can change the majority of your situation, it could be worth it to stick around. But if there are too many items in the non-modifiable column, it might be time to move on, as Utah-based career coach Sherron Bienvenu says.

Sometimes, you can t fix it. For your own sanity, sometimes you have to leave. Don t stay until you re eaten alive, she says.

Whether you decide to stay or go, take action.

Copyright CTW Features



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