When you go home at night ask yourself this question: By the end of the day is your workplace better than you find it in the morning because of your work? if the answer is negative for too many days in a row, no matter how much money you make, or how many years you have been in this job, change career. Start fresh and follow your passion and trust your instincts. I heard this question a few years ago during an interview of Sergio Marchionne, (in Italian) the former Italian Canadian CEO of Fiat/Chrysler (the car manufacturer). This question provides a powerful example of leadership, pragmatism, and courage.
While this is a basic question and a quote that many of us are very familiar with, we often neglect it at its core and take it for granted. Instead, we accept jobs and careers that we don’t like, and to which we don’t contribute much. The longer we are at a job the tougher it gets to leave. We often reject career changes because the current jobs provide the stability and salary predictability that we think we need. What you don’t know is the personal price you pay to stay in these jobs. You give up on your ambition, you give up dreaming and you accept mediocre outcomes for yourself and for those around you including your kids. Accepting this leads to unhappiness and declining self-esteem and drive.
Why quitting? I quit my secure and amazingly paid job at an International Bank of Development because I was unhappy, I turned gray, and I did not know why I was doing what I was doing. I had been in this job for 8 years and I was advising Ministers of Finance, Prime Ministers and Central Banks around the world. One day a person interviewed me at Georgetown University and asked me to define the impact of my multi-billion-dollar projects in the Middle East. I could not come up with an answer. I had lost track of what I was doing and why I was doing it. This saddened me first but then brought a smile to my face. The same night I talked to my wife about it and I said, “I want to quit my job because I am terribly unhappy and unmotivated”. I also said…”I would quit tomorrow but I don’t think this is the right time”. She interrupted me and said…”Is there such a thing as the right time”. The following day I quit my tax free 20,000 dollar a month job to seek happier outcomes in my career. It was easier than I thought and as a result I am a much happier and impactful person.
Final thoughts: Quitting and changing is much easier than the alternative flat unhappy status-quo, particularly if you add all the costs of long-term “job-misery”. So, take a hard look at what impacts you are having in your job, where your personal rewards are and let’s consider when is the time to change and build a better future for yourself. We can do this together!!