So, you’re fed up at work and dream of the day you explain to your boss, ever so eloquently, that you won’t be coming back. Yet day after day after day, you continue to do just that. Are you crazy?!?
Even though it takes guts to leave something safe and secure, roughly 24 million people still voluntarily switched jobs in the middle of the 2013 recession. At a time when it might have been financially prudent to ride out the economic turmoil by staying in their present position, they faced risk head-on and made a career move.
Was their situation really that different from yours? It’s possible. But it’s also possible they simply chose a little “risk” over “regret.” Think about that for a minute. These words are both short and start with the same letter of the alphabet, but the similarities end there!
By staying in a job you hate, you’ve done the flip and chose “regret” over “risk.” If you’re pondering a career move, there are a lot of things to consider (Hello! That’s why you haven’t already left right?!?). Give this a read to make sure you’re choosing the right “R” in the alphabet!
Cost of Staying
Admittedly, changing jobs is scary—not to mention flat out hard work. But staying in the wrong job comes at a considerable cost, too. In fact, it’s a choice you may “regret” for many reasons.
Personal Fulfillment. Sure, it’s likely easier to go the job you hate everyday than investing the time (and possible rejection!) that it takes to find a new job. But don’t kid yourself. There are no do-overs in life, and you literally never get the chance to live today again. Wouldn’t you rather be doing something you actually enjoy?
Regret. A recent Forbes article, “The 25 Biggest Regrets In Life. What Are Yours?” skipped career opportunities were listed not once, but twice! Staying at the wrong job can impact both your bank account and your happiness. “Regret”… it’s a small word with big implications!
Lost Income. Some people stay in a job they hate because they feel they can’t afford to leave. However, a new job often means greater earning potential. Waiting to make a switch literally costs you extra money that could be spent on vacations, retirement, or even the grandkids!
Missed Opportunities. Never underestimate the power of time. Staying in the wrong job likely means you’ll miss other opportunities. This is especially crucial to consider if you’re in an industry that experiences rampant growth or change.
So, Why Stay?
During 2013, 99% of the employed workforce resisted the urge to make a voluntary career move. That’s a pretty big number! Sure the recession may have been a factor in their decisions or it could simply have been an avoidance to that little word “risk.” But why?
Fear of Change. Realistically, change can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It can also result in phenomenal success or tragic failure. Consequently, many find it easier to resist change altogether.
Loyalty. While it’s not the craze it was in 1950, loyalty at work can still be an issue between employers and employees. And it’s the reason many cite for staying in an otherwise unfulfilling position. If this applies to you, be sure to read, “Does Your Employer Deserve Your Loyalty?”
Less Money. While some job changes involve a pay increase, others may involve a pay cut—especially when going from a highly skilled or stressful job to one with fewer responsibilities. While you may prioritize quality of life, others find it easier to be miserable and maintain their current lifestyle.
Risk Averse. To some, status quo beats risk every time. If you are risk-averse, it can simply be easier to go through the motions than to face the unknown. As someone with a low risk tolerance myself, I get it. But understand that taking a risk can be a fantastic career move.
Perceived Stability. Perhaps you’re staying in your current job because you feel a certain amount of safety and stability. Whether the comfort stems from relationships with upper management or a perceived protection due to seniority, it can feel much safer to stay put than to throw caution to the wind and make a job change.
Potential for Failure. For many, the reality of staying in a job with little engagement outweighs the thought of potential failure.
The Reward! (The best “R” of all!)
Admittedly, there are many reasons to stay put in your current job. I just discussed six of them, and anyone in the mood to rationalize their decision to stay can likely rattle off dozens more. But there are also many potential benefits for making a career move. And that’s where the “reward”…the best “R” of all comes in to play!
More Challenge. When you’re bored at work, the minutes feel like days. But finding a challenging new job engages your brain in a positive way and can actually make the morning commute more enjoyable. What a concept, right?
More Happiness. Wouldn’t it be nice to not dread Monday…or Tuesday…or Wednesday? While you may not find a job that’s quite as enjoyable as your vacation, you have to admit that the concept of being genuinely happy with your life more than 1 or 2 weeks out of the year is alluring!
More Money. There aren’t many of us who would turn down a hefty pay raise from our current boss—myself included! The problem is that existing employers often can’t or won’t bump salaries outside of certain boundaries. You may be very surprised what your talents are worth at the bargaining table with a new company.
More Flexibility. If your current boss isn’t interested in thinking out of the box with regard to work schedules, other companies may be! Whether you’re looking for work from home arrangements or something else, employers are often willing to go to extreme lengths to attract top talent.
If you’re still torn between the urge to run screaming from the building (and your overly demanding boss!), or riding it out at your present job…take a deep breath. While it's not a simple decision, recognizing the "Risks" and "Rewards" is a great place to start!
This post originally appears as a guest post for Career Pivot. You can check it (and all of their other great content!) out here.