Ideas Into Action
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Ideas Into Action

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions Before You Quit Your Job

Reasons To Stay: Learning, Loving It, Levelling Up.

“I think sometimes people may think that I have too much passion, you know? I think that you have to believe. That’s one of my biggest mantras, believe. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in myself. I see these high mountains and they’re going up in the sky, and it kind of doesn’t scare me. I can’t wait to climb it, and go over the top and see what’s on the other side.” — Sean “Diddy” Combs

To be clear, I admire Roy for holding down a steady job and serving an integral role in the company. Until I learn otherwise, it’s my assumption that his job was fulfilling. But this is not a piece about the merits of career stability and satisfaction—it’s about how the growth mindset, exemplified by Diddy, should govern the decision of when to leave a job. However to understand why the mentality prompts people like the mogul to leave, you first have to understand why people like the lifer stay. In the aptly-named article Why Employees Stay found in the July 1973 issue of Harvard Business Review, researchers explored the titular question. The short answer is inertia. The idea that most employees are predisposed to remain with a company until some force causes them to leave. The force in question can fall into two categories:

  1. Environment: Pressures within the company such as work rules, facilities, breaks, benefits, and wages. And pressures outside the company such as job opportunities, community relations, financial obligations, and family ties.
  1. Are you still LOVING IT?
  2. Are you still LEVELLING UP?

1. Are You Still LEARNING?

If you’re no longer learning—if your learning curve has flattened—then perhaps its time to move on. The Yerkes-Dodson Law demonstrates the relationship between performance and challenge; with insufficient challenge, you’ll never do your best work. And unless you do your best work, you’ll never reach the threshold of what you’re truly capable of. You don’t have to be learning something new every day on the job. However, you should be honing your core skills and learning new ones. Most of the time, the onus is on you to create a learning path—ask to be involved in a new project, sign up for courses you’re interested in, attend a relevant conference, or seek out a mentor. It’s never been easier to create your own curriculum. With that said, if these opportunities aren’t present in your current job, then it’s a clear indication that the company is not serious about investing in your professional development.

2. Are You Still LOVING IT?

If you’re not emotionally connected to your work, then ask yourself: why are you doing it? As I mentioned earlier, I can completely understand circumstances beyond your control. As such, you don’t have to love everything about your work. You can love the brand, you can love your co-workers, you can love your role, or you can love the outcome of your work (the impact that it has on the lives of others). The point is, you need an emotional anchor—a reason for being—associated with where you’re going to invest some (or all) of the ~50 years in your career. You owe loving your job to everyone — to your customers, suppliers, partners, to your family, and most importantly: to yourself.

3. Are You Still LEVELLING UP?

If you’ve been stuck at the same company and/or in the same position, without any advancement or promotion for the past three years — and you want to continue moving your career forward — you’ve got to leave. Especially in larger organizations where promotions are competitive, you should be able to experience some sort of forward and upward momentum within this time frame. Don’t get comfortable; comfort is a slippery slope towards complacency.

Don’t waste any more time. If and when you feel like you’re stuck, ask yourself: Are you still learning? Are you still loving it? Are you still levelling up? If the answer to two or more is yes, stay. If the answer to two or less is no, leave.

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Hamza Khan

Managing Director @StudentLifeNet. Author of #TheBurnoutGamble. TED & Keynote Speaker. Multi-Award Winning Marketer & Entrepreneur.