If you’ve worked anywhere for any length of time, chances are that you have at one point or another wondered whether you were in the right place. We wonder whether the latest feud with a co-worker or boss was a sign of things to come or merely a reality of working with others. We question whether the lack of joy and satisfaction at our job has anything to do with whether we are being fully appreciated or given enough opportunity for what we have to offer. We can’t help but catch ourselves wondering about what it would be like to work for company X or whether we’re even on the right track. Whatever the reasons may be, sooner or later, the question inevitably comes up. Is it time to move on?
As one who’s faced this crucial question on more than a few occasions, I’ve come to understand that the process of how we arrive at an answer should not be a hasty one. While there are instances where the answer is as clear as can be, the majority of times they are not, at least not immediately.
Here are four helpful questions to consider as we wrestle with whether it is in fact time to “move on”.
1. Is the grass really greener?
The tendency to think that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” is something we need to guard against. Whether the novelty of something new or the ordinary of the present, this tendency is a powerful one which has little to do with the reality of the present situation or the promise of a future one. Consider both the joys, benefits, and opportunities of your current work situation as well as the challenges, obstacles, and similarities on the other (side of the fence). In fact, it may be helpful to have an honest conversation with someone there. More than likely, you’ll find that the “greener grass” comes with more watering and mowing.
2. How can I grow?
When it comes to career growth, sacrifice, patience, and commitment are virtues we are willing to embrace for the prospects of financial gain. What we often forget is that our purpose, peace, and overall flourishing lie beyond financial prosperity. And so while career growth is important, our personal growth must not be overlooked. In fact, our career and personal growth are often more related than we realize. For these reasons, we much ask of our current situation whether we are embracing with the same level of openness the challenges and opportunities for personal growth as we are the vocational. How might God be using this current situation to grow me as a whole person – spiritually, emotionally, and relationally? Perhaps, the real issue is not the job or even the people around you.
3. Where am I going?
Certainly, there are times when we do need to go. Barring any sort of moral conviction, abuse, or extenuating life circumstances, however, we need to think about the short and long-term ramifications of our choices. Beyond the urgent and very necessary needs of rent, bills, and sustenance (especially for those with families), we must assess whether we are moving towards the path in which we feel called. When on the fence about the question of change and moving on, it is often the question of whether I sense an undeniable pulling towards something that ends up making the difference. It is, then, not simply a matter of where we are moving on from but of asking if and where we feel led towards.
4. Do I have perspective(s)?
The question is not whether we have a perspective. We all have a perspective. The problem is that we only have one. Our own. Though our perspectives are indeed valuable, we must remember that they are but one among many. Read any good book on leadership and you will see an emphasis upon one’s need to seek a level of self-awareness and perspective that cannot be had without the aid of others. Regardless of how knowledgeable or wise we may think we are, it is scarcely possible to gain the needed “perspective” to make an important decision without seeking the advice and counsel of others, especially from those who love you and are not afraid to give you their perspective. And don’t forget prayer! He’s got GREAT perspective.
At a minimum, I have found these four questions to be especially helpful in addressing the issue of change in my life especially as it pertains to vocation. Hopefully, these will help you as you process your current situation while keeping you from making some of the same mistakes that I’ve made.