“When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to make things better. This happens with relationships, with health, and with work. We’ve all had challenges in one if not all of these areas especially over the past few years when circumstances changed dramatically across the entire planet.
Let’s take work for example. How do you know when to keep fighting for change within your workplace, or hand in your resignation? I’ve been accused of “overstaying my welcome” in many settings including work- meaning that I’m able to keep fighting to make things better even when it’s hopeless. I put up with big doses of misery before I call it quits. Often I don’t see this until after I’ve left. Then I wonder how I put up with it as long as I did.
I never have any regrets though. The attempts to overcome the barriers of bad bosses, the mind-numbing monotony of work that didn’t fulfill me, and bad working conditions, made me a better person and more capable professional.
Now, I don’t recommend anyone “overstay their welcome” especially in a workplace that is making you sick and miserable. Everyone gets to decide for themselves what that line is- what they absolutely won’t tolerate in a job. But, don’t quit too soon either. Give yourself the opportunity to try to make things better before you go.
If you give up too soon, even if you are physically at the job, your coworkers, customers, and bosses will notice you’ve mentally checked out. Even if you feel totally justified in disengaging (and you may very well be), they won’t see it that way. They’ll just see a leader who has quit. That’s not who you are. Leave only after you’ve done all you know you could do.
Make certain that your situation is unchangeable. Have conversations with your employees, your patients, and your boss. Ask your trusted allies if there is something about you that you could change. Maybe there’s viewpoints you haven’t seen or tactics you haven’t tried. You can never lose by trying. By trying you show that you still care. If you do find that you need to change yourself by leaving your job, people will remember you as someone who cared enough to try to make things better.
Leaving this way is so satisfying for you. Your employees will remember your contributions. It will give them hope. Even your bosses will respect you if you go out this way.
I’m proud to say that, for once, I left at the exact right time. I’m under no delusions about what lies on the other side of healthcare. I don’t believe in the perfect job or the perfect boss. I do believe that change is good. I believe in my ability to make any company better. I believe that I can overcome the inevitable obstacles. I believe my next employer will be lucky to have me on the team.
Do everything in your power to make things better. If you do that and still decide to leave, you’ll have peace of mind. You will have created goodwill and hope for the ones that stayed. And you’ll have confidence to pursue your next opportunity.