With summer over and work beginning in earnest once again, you may have begun to reflect on whether you’re truly happy in your current role. Perhaps you’re not finding the work meaningful anymore. Perhaps you feel at odds with your company’s strategic direction. Or maybe you just don’t feel like you fit with the culture.
No matter what your reasons for feeling dissatisfied or unfulfilled, companies have a way of motivating you to stay, especially if you’re a high performer. How should you think through a situation where you’re ready to leave, but certain incentives are keeping you from doing so?
Here are three of the most common scenarios I hear from people who are wrestling with the idea of leaving their job – and how to think about what’s best for your career.
My promotion is just around the corner
Let’s say your manager tells you that you that you’re about to land that promotion you’ve been working toward for so long. Knowing you have plans to leave, how do you handle this situation?
First, consider whether this role change would materially address the specific issues causing you to consider leaving in the first place. Second, consider whether you’re ready to stick things out at the company for a significant period of time following that promotion. If you decide to snag the promotion, only to leave the company a few months later, it may not bode well for your long-term reputation, especially among colleagues.
My year-end bonus is coming
You may be only a few weeks or months away from landing a lucrative year-end bonus, which is one reason you’ve been working so hard in the first place. So if you’re planning to resign, should you wait around and bag the bonus before you take off?
While this may seem like an obvious choice, I know many people who are so unhappy at work that the idea of sticking around for any bonus can be agonising.
Aside from, of course, considering your work obligations or the legal implications of your work contract, you should also consider the opportunity cost associated with staying. Is that cost is worth it to you?
For example, would your family life, health, or other important issues be further compromised by staying, even if it’s for a fixed period?
Also, consider whether a bonus will significantly enable you to do something truly important to you, whether it’s something material like putting a deposit down on a house, or something more emotional like peace of mind.
My work perks are difficult to leave behind
Whether it’s health coverage, insurance, stock options, equity, fancy business trips, or retirement perks, it can be very difficult to walk away from having these benefits that go beyond your salary and enable a certain lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed.
Whenever you’re wondering whether to let go of benefits that have been serving you in some way, consider what sort of wealth you’re trying to build in your life. Make a distinction between material wealth – money, assets, and equity – and lifestyle wealth – freedom, time with people you love, or fulfillment.
While lifestyle and material wealth are not necessarily mutually exclusive, you may be at a crossroads where you will need to make a choice about which is more important to you.