Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

This is not the boss I ordered.

The adage still rings clear that people don’t quit organizations, they quit bad bosses. It’s true that not every leader is well suited for leadership-level responsibility and grooming and developing others. But we must also acknowledge that finding the unicorn best boss is unrealistic and may never happen.

Boss assessment 101.

According to Abbajay, you must learn how your boss ticks by listening and noticing who works well with her and why. Look for patterns of behavior and learn to communicate in a way that resonates with her style.

  • What is your boss’s work style personality? How does she interact with others?
  • How does your boss like to receive information? How does your boss communicate?
  • What are your boss’s priorities? What are her goals? What are her concerns, challenges, and pressures?
  • What is her boss like, and what does the organization expect from her?
  • What does your boss expect from you?
  • What are her pet peeves and what truly matters to her?

Is the grass really greener elsewhere?

Let me be clear — if you are experiencing egregious behavior from your boss like harassment, misconduct, or unethical practices, by all means, get out fast. But if you are on the fence about staying or moving on, here are more questions from Mary Abbajay for you to reflect upon as you decide.

  • Do you love the work tasks and the mission of the organization? Are you playing to your strengths?
  • Do you need the job financially — or the benefits like healthcare and a 401K?
  • Is this role/organization enhancing your future career development and upward mobility?
  • Where are you on the scale of happiness and stress?
  • Where is your boss on the scale of difficulty?
  • What are the politics and organizational culture of your company?
  • Do you want to thrive, solidify, or survive?

Clarity on workplace values.

Deloitte conducted research on the top workplace values prioritized by Gen Z and Millennial talent in 2022:

  • Good work/life balance.
  • Learning and development opportunities.
  • High salary or other financial benefits.
  • Positive workplace culture.
  • Opportunities for career advancement.
  • Sense of meaning at work.
  • Flexible work model.

Sunday night blues.

How do you really know if you are ready to move on, or if you should buck up and stick it out? My mantra has always been “The suckiness is real, but the suffering is optional,” as I explained in my TEDXWomen talk. You must get quiet with yourself and reflect about how your work is impacting your life and career to make an informed decision.

  1. Are you unhappy most of every day doing this work?
  2. Is the work environment tainted with extreme toxicity, including your boss and your colleagues?
  3. Are the skills that you’ve been hired to use for this job not a fit for what you’re good at or enjoy?
  4. Do you believe deep down that you’re meant for better, bigger, and more thrilling things?
  5. Do the outcomes that you’re working toward feel meaningless or negative to you?

You deserve a place where you can do your best work.

The hot job market favors talented professionals, but it’s never wise to run away quickly from a bad role or a bad boss unless the situation is harmful or egregious. Take the time to run toward something you are truly excited about that allows you to play to your strengths and continue to develop.

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