Should I stay or should I go?

This title song from The Clash in 1982 sums up what many people in the workforce seem to thinking:

        Should I stay or should I go…
        This indecision’s bugging me
        If you don’t want me, set me free…
        Come on and let me know
        Should I cool it or should I blow

Many people I’ve spoken to over the past several months are weighing their options, and many are opting to “blow” and leave their employer. In fact, in 2021, over 3.9 million people per month chose to quit and move on to another job or vocation.

Many reasons exist for this vast movement, including compensation, nature of the work, bosses who are jerks, etc.  Another reason I’ve heard multiple times: the current employer is unwilling or unable to provide growth and development for said workers.

Perhaps you’re considering leaving your employer.  You might believe in the company’s mission, feel adequately compensated, and actually like your boss, but you’re not seeing tangible opportunities opening up for progress within your job. What should you do?

First, let’s ensure we have a Biblical lens on our situation. While Scripture condemns selfish ambition in multiple places (Phil. 2:3, Rom. 2:8), it encourages us with the desire to do good works, motivated by the desire to please God.  Colossians 3:23 states:  “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.”   If you’re like me, it’s tough to do something enthusiastically if you don’t enjoy the work or feel valued for it.  So, I believe when we feel prompted for more or different work, and we’ve subjected our motives and desires to the Holy Spirit, then we should take the actions we can to be in sync with the work that He prepared beforehand that we should do.

Second, I’d suggest you have a direct conversation with your supervisor about your current performance and your aspirations.  Supervisors can’t be of much help if they don’t know what you’re thinking or feeling, and most supervisors usually aren’t seeking that out, so the onus falls on you to take the initiative and preparation to present your case for what is working well for you and what isn’t.  Additionally, prepare questions to ask your supervisor to flush out how he or she assesses your performance.  Yes, the annual performance review provides some useful feedback, but rarely do they offer enough in-depth information about how your current performance can lead to additional work or new opportunities.

Third, I’d spend some time networking within the company with other teams/department members to find out more about what they do.  What is the nature of their work?  What skills/competencies are needed?  What prior experience is required/useful for them to perform their jobs?  Do they see opportunities ahead?  Are any of the posted open positions the right fit for you?  Perhaps they need additional voluntary help for projects they’re involved in…those “extracurricular” activities that can provide terrific, challenging experiences without changing jobs? Many, many opportunities usually reside here if you explore with an open and inquisitive mind.

Oftentimes it’s easier to actually leave your company and job and find another than it is to stay with your existing employer, but with a little insight and effort, you can find some wonderful opportunities just a floor or cubicle away!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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