In a continuing series of posts during June 2020 Pride Month, we begin to look at the work environment and how aligned you are with your current work.
Should I stay or Should I go now is the title from a well known The Clash song from 1982. Or perhaps you prefer the Brandy version Should I go from her 2004 album Afrodisiac. Regardless of which reference comes to your mind, the question should always be top of mind assessing your current work environment, especially as the world tries to “open back up” during/after the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Depending on how long you have been working in your industry or the length of your career to date, it is a question that requires constant re-evaluation as you change, companies change, industries change, and the world in general changes.
You might be thinking already, lady, this is a Pandemic I am just glad I have a job! First, let me congratulate you, with the levels of unemployment staying employed is a good thing. That doesn’t preclude you from always evaluating the fit of the role to you.
Throughout my 30-year career, I found a few things constant. I had to reinvent myself in a way to keep the job exciting and re-charge myself. I was always scanning the scope of the market, and business needs to keep the role current. I looked for opportunities to extend the companies and my brand. I would always seek out self-development material to grow.
Upon reflection, I was missing the signs that perhaps I just needed to evaluate the function and fit of the role again to me.
Now it wouldn’t be an article on this website if I didn’t include acceptance without understanding™.
We have four key aspects of our self that we need to always think about when evaluating fit and function;
· Physical abilities or activity
· Cognitive ability
· Emotional intelligence
· Spiritual health
At an organizational level, there are also aspects you need to consider.
Of course, the world isn’t a simple list of nine vectors to consider. The world is complex, and the journey in your career is rarely a straight line from beginning to the pinnacle of your career.
Other people are also complicated and add a layer of consideration. I always liked to say that you don’t need to be friends with everyone at work, but you need to be able to work together.
I will just say there is a difference between a job and a career. If you show up to get a paycheck and the nine vectors do not factor into it as you just do it to get that paycheck, it is most likely that only a job. When the work has so much meaning to you than a paycheck, then it is more likely a career.
Job’s you stay or move on based upon the pay and other simple benefits that I would consider externally gratifying.
Your career has many more facets, both tangible and intangible, including the nine vectors I mentioned above.
Let’s make sense of these many elements I have introduced here and see some examples of how this self-evaluation plays out in real life.
As an LGBT2SQIA+ identifying person, my awareness of self is always growing and developing as I learn about my authentic self. Heterosexual people do not think about their authentic selves as they fall into the blind category of social stereotypes, meaning that no one ever questions them. They do not challenge themselves regardless if they have an internal struggle, and they bury it. To be seen as fitting in for them is more important than being their authentic self. I was able to sustain that way of thinking for 50 years until I could no longer bury it. Learning to accept your authentic self begins with being honest with yourself. The same process applies to this evaluation in your career.
It is so easy to keep busy and occupied to defer yourself from a career evaluation. For me, it came during a time when I was very vulnerable and recovering from surgery. I began to consider where I was in life, the alignment of the role to me. The value it had to me outside of a paycheck was where I began my evaluation.
Asking if the role and organization feeds my soul and fulfills my life passions, gives me energy or sucks it all from me. Was I doing what I am passionate about, realizing that as I grow and change that passion may change?
Let me be clear; this is a tough exercise to do honestly. My logical brain with income levels and expenses would usually dictate my decisions, yet this was a heart and soul exercise.
This exercise is about defining what do you need, not want. Just deciding if the organizational culture is a fit for you is a tough one. There is no empirical data about corporate culture as it’s the alignment between words and actions. In looking at a new firm that only comes from current and previous employee’s feedback to assess their culture.
The final point for you to consider this exercise, I would highly recommend you look to your truth as to why you want to undertake this. I would caution against doing this in time of job security stress. You will have to figure out if the reason to do the review is a root cause issue or just the last straw that broke the camels’ proverbial back. A big question you need to ask yourself, are you in control of the events that lead you to initiate this review or are you not?
You are learning to accept yourself and apply what you learn about yourself to evaluate your career for fit and function. Determining the best way for your valuable resources of energy, cognitive ability, emotional and spiritual self are aligned so you can decide if it’s time to go now.