Should I stay or should I go? There are a plenty of reasons to leave a job. You don’t like your boss. The company is floundering. You can’t stand the person in the cube next to you. In fact, your brain is always looking for danger; the fight or flight response. It’s really easy to make the case that you should move on, because your brain is wired that way. Let’s look at all the reasons why you should stay.
1. The Devil You Know – Any new job is a giant unknown. Even if you are returning to a position you held in the past, it’s still an unknown because you don’t know what has changed. It’s the devil you know versus the devil you don’t. Even if the parking is lousy with your current job or the commute is brutal; you know it because you’ve lived it. If your boss is a jerk on Monday mornings or your email crashes every Tuesday, you know it. Knowledge is power.
Have you ever seen the new college graduate employee walk into their first day on the job wearing a jacket and tie? Right, and it’s dress down week. All the employees are in polos and jeans and the newbie is sticking out like a sore thumb. Do you really want to be that guy? I don’t think so.
2. Benefits. I can hear the folks under 30 groaning. Why care about benefits? I’m not sick. Maybe it’s my 7 plus years in the insurance industry or my 20 plus years in Human Resources but you just never know what tomorrow is going to bring. The main thing is to make an accounting of your current benefits and what it will cost to replace them in your next position. Sometimes we take if for granted that every company offers the same benefit package. Make sure you know the numbers. And maybe even be grateful, if your current employer is generous with their benefits. You should view your benefits as part of your income. Trust me, without them you’ll be paying out of your pocket.
3. You Know Where the Landmines are. There is personal information that you stubble on over time. Your boss’s child has cerebral palsy, your co-workers son just came out of the closet, and the customer service rep’s wife is a drug addict. This is not obvious stuff and it’s not like it should matter in the workplace but it shows up when you least expect it. My kid’s are Hispanic. I am not. It is not obvious from the pictures on my desk. If someone lumps all Hispanics into being Mexican and derides them, my skin crawls and my opinion of the offender changes dramatically. There are social landmines within every company and the longer you’ve been somewhere, the more you know. There are pluses and minuses with this.
4. Your Resume Looks Better. This is why it’s a good idea to stick it out. One more month at your current employer is one more month on your resume. I know that the statistics from the Society of Human Resource Management say that 61% of resumes have inaccuracies on them but don’t cover up gaps. Any company that you want to work for is going to do some fact checking. Be honest. Don’t jump the ship you are on until another one comes along. If your current job is overwhelming, see if you can take a step down, back, get help or work part time; anything to avoid that gap in employment. If you are being laid off, then start volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, the Boys and Girls Club, the local community college’s literacy program. The last thing you want to do is look like you are on the couch or watching YouTube all day.
5. It’s Easier to Add Skills. Get on a new project team. I had a Plant Manager years ago who asked me to lead a group around the book, “Discipline without Punishment” by Dick Grote. It was a great idea. It’s true that it fit the organization for the Human Resource Manager to lead the team but it gave me a perspective from all aspects of the plant and we did a great job implementing the ideas in the book. If you can get on a new or existing team, raise your hand high. Step up and do the things that scare you.
6. Achievements are Easier on the Home Turf. This is similar to school sports. It’s easier to win on the home field. You know where all the divots in the field are. The folks in the stands are rooting for you. It’s just easier to succeed in the space you know. It’s also easier to slam the football down in the backfield and dance. The crowd around you knows you. They expect you to understand the impact of your accomplishments.
This also could be a good way to decide that you want to stick it out in your current situation. Cool your jets so to speak. Maybe your job isn’t as bad as you thought it was. Maybe you should start taking advantage of the resources around you. Regardless, it’s food for thought.