Do I Stay or Do I Go?

Your new job isn’t turning out to be anything like you imagined.
Deciding whether you should stay and try to fix the problem, or move on
to another opportunity, isn’t something to approach lightly.

By Chad Broadus | August 2008

You’ve made it. The job search and interview process is behind you,
and you’re part of a new company. But after a few weeks, you get the
feeling the job may not be a good fit for you, after all. What do you
do now? Cut or Stay?

It’s not an
easy decision to make – or one to take lightly. Leave and you may miss
the opportunity of a lifetime. Stay and you may end up putting yourself
through the wringer.

Analysis is key

Before making a hasty decision, take a step back to analyze the situation.  Pamela Skillings, career coach and author of Escape from Corporate America, believes
the key is to figure out what’s bothering you. Is the problem your boss
and if so, what aspect? Is he contradictory or unclear? Is it the job?
Are your duties unpleasant or not what you expected?  "Once you
pinpoint the problem, then you can figure out what you can fix and what
you can’t," Skillings says.

Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist and executive coach in San
Francisco, counsels employees to do external exploration as well. "Get
some different points of view. If you have a career coach, partner, or
friend, bounce some of your thoughts off of them to see if it really
adds up." Also, include people within the new company, he advises. "If
possible, find someone you can trust within the organization, and talk
about what you are thinking and feeling," he says. "Don’t be a lone
ranger about it. Perhaps that person had some of the same cold feet for
the first three months."

Deciding to Stay

Emmons, a systems administrator, found himself in a cut-or-stay moment
after taking a job at a start-up. The culture shock of transitioning
from an established, mature company to a fast-moving environment with
high turnover had him second guessing his decision to accept the job
offer in the first place. In addition, the position he’d taken was a
technical stretch for him, and he found himself over his head at
times.  However, after taking a hard look at where he wanted to go with
his career, and what he could get out of the job, he decided to stick
it out. "I was able to experience start-up culture first-hand and
really pushed myself to a new level with my skills," he reflects.
"Ultimately, staying turned out to the right decision for me."

to stay may involve some difficult steps. Once you’ve identified
possible issues that can be resolved, you have to address them. Talk to
your direct manager or other superior, and collaborate with them to
work through the issues. It may be your challenges can either be ironed
out within the current position or situation, or a transfer to another
area or job that’s a better fit can be worked out.

Deciding to Cut

support specialist Jacob Hogg hit his cut-or-stay moment within a month
after landing his first gig as a systems administrator. After digging
into the new position, he was surprised to be working with outdated
technology and management’s tough attitude toward the ROI of
infrastructure improvements. After a few promises of the hiring
agreement were broken, he decided that it was time to go. "I took a
step back in the industry, but am fine with it," Hogg says now. "I am
looking to get back into administration, but now know what to look for.
I learned a lot. I am one of those people that try to take as much from
each experience in life as possible, even if it’s a bad one."

Dan Emmons and Jacob Hogg found, making the effort to analyze and
explore your individual situation provides the opportunity to peel back
layers and discover what’s going to be right for you. Cut-or-stay
moments are tough, but it’s possible to get through them and on with
your career.

Chad Broadus is a tech professional based in Oregon.