Each Monday morning millions of people will wake up with a headache or knot in their stomach because they have to face “that employer,” “those people,” or “that job” again. They want to escape the drudgery but can’t seem to get away from the horrors of their job – (perceived or real) lack of opportunity, lack of motivation, fear, extreme stress, discrimination, etc. If this is you, know that you’re not alone. I have encountered MANY professionals over the years who feel the same way.

Prior to starting my business, I spent many years as a corporate recruiting leader for multiple companies. Throughout those years, I had numerous colleagues come to me to discuss their career woes. The conversations would often sound like this:

Employee:        “Bernie, I’m sick of this place!”

Me:                   “What’s wrong?”

Employee:        “I just can’t catch a break. I’m tired of doing this same old job and working with these people. I’m thinking about leaving to find something better.” 

And on it would go.

Since they were colleagues, I often knew enough about them and their circumstances to be able to share more personal insights. For many, I suspected it wasn’t necessarily time for them to change organizations. It was time for them to change perspectives.

How did I know this? It’s simple. I had walked that fine line myself on more than one occasion and knew the ramifications of both decisions—staying and going. In my career, there had (have) been times when I stayed and gutted it out, and times when I left. Most of the time, gutting it out won.

Being honest with yourself can be really tough, but it’s also necessary for career growth and satisfaction.

If you find yourself in a similar situation as my former colleagues, then the advice I always gave to them may also apply to you.  If you believe you’re ready to leave your current organization, look in the mirror, be honest with yourself, and answer the following six questions:

  1. Is there something I need to learn? 
  2. Is there something I need to unlearn?
  3. Is there something I must do?
  4. Is there something I must stop doing?
  5. Could there be someone with whom I need to connect who can help me?
  6. Could there be someone I’m supposed to encounter so I can help them?

In almost every instance, the employee would concur with my assessment. Further, almost every person ended up staying with the organization longer, and their situation improved.

This isn’t to say there aren’t times when you need to run out of the front door of your organization and never look back but, in many cases, people leave too soon.  I suspect these instances have contributed to the term, “boomerang employee.” These are employees who return when they discover the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, or the issues they encountered with the new employer were the same because the constant in both places was them!

Before you make any drastic moves with your career, I encourage you to consider the six statements above to see if one of them could be true for you. 

Some tough situations that come your way are meant to work like sandpaper—smooth out the rough spots in you to prepare you for what’s next.  If you can be a little more open and patient with your circumstance, the sandpaper will hit just the right spots to create a smooth and glossy finish.  But, if you fight against it, you may just get burned.

It is not easy to embrace a tough situation, and there are times when you should let go and move on.  However, you’d be amazed at how circumstances can work out exactly the way they should if you allow yourself to be polished by them.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  ~Unknown