How to Know:
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Culture, Values, and Job Fit Matter

I hear this question a lot. Should I stay with my present company and job? It’s not working out, but how do I know it will be better anywhere else?

Should I stay or should I go? It’s not just a catchy old rock tune. It’s a real career conundrum.

Why isn’t your job working? Here are some of the reasons for a lack of career satisfaction that I often hear.

  • I don’t fit in well with our company these days because we don’t seem to value our customers anymore.
  • I could help our company do so much better through improved financial forecasting. Instead, it seems all I do is produce month-end reports.
  • My sales results are not valued because engineering thinks what we build is so good, we don’t require a sales team.
  • I used to enjoy my job, but lately, it feels stale. Should I get out of my field?

Are you in the right job, but the wrong culture? Are you in the right culture, but the wrong job?

The answer can be difficult to determine.

Is it the Wrong Culture, or the Wrong Job?

Sometimes the twin issues of culture fit and job fit blur with one another. Today, the work that once energized you has left you feeling drained. As a result, it is difficult to make a reliable distinction between the symptom and cause.

Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t propose for one moment that a job is supposed to be perfect. I don’t expect that any company culture, manager or employee will ever be flawless. Every good job has its good days and bad days.

On the other hand, can you expect to do your best work in the wrong job or company? Eventually, the drain of poor culture fit or an ill-suited job will catch up. Eventually, you pay the price.

I understand the fear that underlies the next question. What if I change my job and the same thing happens again? Can it really be better anywhere else?

Sometimes the prospect of change feels overwhelming. It can be tempting to “wait it out” and hope that things improve.

Unhappy at Work? What to Do

The truth is things rarely improve on their own. Here are a few things you can do now to start improving your career satisfaction.

  • Get feedback from someone you trust in the company. If you trust your manager to give fair and constructive feedback, by all means, ask him.
  • If your boss isn’t looking out for anyone’s best interests (but her own) ask someone else you trust. Think of trusted and discreet peers within your company or someone you respect within your industry.
  • Focus your conversations on solutions, not complaining.
  • Ask yourself what part you play in the problem. If you have done all you can to improve things, it is time to look beyond your current company or role.

Above all, don’t let the fear of change and the unknown stop you from improving your career satisfaction and fit. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we allow our worried thoughts to chase themselves in circles in our heads.

Instead of allowing the cycle of worry to continue, take the next step and gain clarity.

Find out more about career satisfaction by taking our free survey on the intersection of job and culture fit.

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