Updated: May 13, 2021
Most people don't need help knowing when to jump ship, although if you're anything like me you may actually need a bit of direction in that area. Most people actually need more help knowing when to be still, plant where they are, and stick around for the long haul. In our society today, people have adopted an extremely fleeting nature as it pertains to work and relationships. The flight in our fight or flight has grown stronger over time in this regard, and it's become a hinderance generally speaking. There are several signs I'd like to speak to today that can assist in knowing when to operate in either of the two, whether it be fighting 'til the end or taking to the skies and aborting the mission; as both are equally important to discern.
The "flight" in our "fight or flight" has grown stronger over time ...
Let's start with knowing when to get rooted where you are, and plant yourself firmly in your present space. One question it'll be necessary to ask yourself is what you'll be leaving behind. From an opportunity standpoint, will you be leaving behind a one of one chance to truly add value? Will you be leaving behind a pivotal connection or relationship made over time, that will difficult or even impossible to replace? Sometimes in the spaces we find ourselves in we become very displeased with the environment, sometimes we even become bored and yearn for a healthy challenge; but in those same moments we may be overlooking priceless unspoken opportunities that reside within the same spaces we desire to remove ourselves from. Maybe the administrative tasks are too easy, but there's a coworker or executive for you to cultivate a life changing relationship with and if you'd just focus on that, it would all become more worth your while. Or, there may be a chance for you to become part of new projects and go the extra mile in areas that can propel your career, but instead of sniffing those opportunities out you're focused on the smelly guy in the cubical next door that you just cannot stand.
Sometimes, getting out of there actually makes the most sense. But I implore you to take a second look, and really examine this thing from all angles and ask yourself these important questions before leaving behind an opportunity you may never get again. If the answers to the questions listed reflect that you probably won't be used in ways that will allow you to add value, or that your leadership is closed off to building closer relationships with you and allotted you more opportunity, than you may want to start packing your bags...
... will you be leaving behind a one of one chance to truly add value? Will you be leaving behind a pivotal connection or relationship made over time, that will difficult or even impossible to replace?
Next, let's have a look at how we'll know when to uproot and take our talents elsewhere. There are some very explicit signs to watch out for and questions to be asked that can determine whether or not our time is being spent wisely, and if we're in a position to be appreciated in the ways we deserve. One immensely important question to ask is if we're making any sort of impact. Seriously take a look at the work you're being allowed to do in your current space, not just what you're able to do, and ask yourself if it makes a difference that YOU are doing it. Does you being in your current position hurt or help the group at all? Are you bringing anything unique to the table? Is your work reflective of your identity? If your work doesn't have your unique capabilities laced through it you may need to either go back and read section one and begin to put your best foot forward, or you need to check the room and find out why you're not being allowed to do the work you know you're capable of doing.
It's not always your fault that what you produce isn't very impactful, this can be a result of closed minded leadership not giving you the chance to truly shine. If you're not receiving the water you need in order to grow where you are, it may be time for you to uproot. There may be people serving as weeds in positions where they could be helping you, yet they've chosen to hinder you. If you find yourself in a scenario like the one described here, don't feel obligated to stick around and put up with what comes with being plant in hard dry ground. Be confident on your way out, and leave respectfully. This is what I call an "honorable exit". Leaving a place without damaging any potentially healthy relationships speaks volumes about a persons character, and where there were no opportunities open for someone before they may become open on the way out. I personally have experienced this on countless occasions on my way out of group projects and various jobs.
If you're not receiving the water you need in order to grow where you are, it may be time for you to uproot...
Hopefully this piece serves you well as you find yourself in more spaces that require you to discern whether it's time to dig in and plant, or time to uproot and go become part of a team where you're appreciated for the value you bring to the table. If you're a leader or employer reading this, remember to make your space good ground for those looking to grow with you. Till your soil, hear people's concerns, lead with strength and compassion.
Be considerate. Be decisive. Be patient. And in all your being, be who you're meant to be.