Thinking about leaving your job? Why it is never really the right time
If there’s one thing I hate in business, it’s platitudes.
But the adage “It’s never the right time” when looking to broaden your horizons holds a lot of resonance no matter where you work, and there are functional, structural, and sociological reasons it transcends time and industry.
To understand why this feeling arises you can strip it all back to the function of a business; to grow and attain market share. Every successful business will look to push boundaries and conquer new territory, and with this comes milestones which may seem like reasons to stay put. However, these milestones will keep coming and will not reduce in importance. Once you understand this, it becomes apparent that it’s not so much about when you leave, but how you leave.
Another ever-present force of career complacence is the hierarchy above you. Regardless of whether your workplace is the correct fit for you at this stage of the career, your manager (if competent) will always sell ‘the dream’ or ‘the long-game’. Through puffing up the benefits and glazing over the limitations, with sufficient carrot dangled they can market a col-de-sac as an open highway. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying any sinister motivation from them, but it’s not in their interest for you to gaze beyond your cubicle.
What you need is to be equipped with a holistic understanding of where you sit in the market and what your options are, as if you don’t, you will be selling yourself short in the long run.
The last factor is a well-known sociological phenomenon known as Thomas Theorem which states, “If men (or women) define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” To put it simply in this context, if you think you can’t leave, you won’t. If you spend your time creating reasons why you need to stay, these reasons will be the things that shackle you somewhere you should not be. In order to overcome this, you need to define where you want to be, collate your options, and contrast this to where you are.
At the end of your career you will regret the risks you didn’t take, more than the ones you took.