In some way this follows on from my previous post “Do you do it for the Money or the Love?” So many people sit agonizing over this dilemma, e.g. how do I make a choice between my self-interests and having loyalty to the company I work for. In previous decades we know that our fore-fathers worked in a company from work force entry to retirement, this is just not the case as we know it now.
For some people there comes a time at a company when you realize that it may not be the right fit anymore, you are no longer challenged or it may just be time to seek out something different. So how do we balance that self-interest with company loyalty? I am outspoken and direct and when I know I need to change something I push for that change to occur. I know however, that not many people have the nature to make change happen when they want it. Even with my personality there are times I agonized about being selfish and the feeling that I shouldn’t leave the company and potentially leave them in the lurch. So some thoughts around that…
Companies have internal opportunities that you should look at and consider to see if they are of interest. I recently took a 5 month secondment into an area that I have interest in and in my current role wouldn’t have been able to get full exposure to that area. At the time I was worried that the break in my current role to pursue the secondment would affect my career path, the experience I have gained in my secondment has since been irreplaceable.
Over the past 4 months I have been working within the business talking to a range of people that I didn’t have the opportunity to do in my substantive role, I have produced work that I have never thought of doing and it has gotten me thinking about my career path in general. Sometimes when you feel like you don’t fit in or you are bored in you role, you may automatically think of finding a new role in a new company, but before you get eager about jumping ship – look to see what your company can offer you.
Companies should appreciate loyalty and should show loyalty in return. Secondments and internal transfers are great opportunities to learn more about the company, develop new skills and offer new challenges. If you have done your homework into what the company can or can’t offer you then you should take steps to pursue your interests and to make decisions that will see you moving forward and excelling.
Some wise people have told me from time-to-time “You do what you need to do to move ahead and go for what you want”, “If you need something different, look for it and then go for it”. Sometimes we just need to do it. Our loyalty is something that is harder to ignore and moving on to a company where you fit better, or to a role that challenges you in the right ways does not make you a bad person. When we stay at a company where we don’t fit in, we aren’t challenged or there are no other opportunities it turns into a flow-on effect that will start impacting those around you. People notice when you don’t want to work there anymore, you hate your job or you’re bored – I don’t think it’s fair to put them through that when you can easily make a conscious decision and start looking for something that will give you the happiness you need and deserve.
Of course, it is easier said than done, but sometimes we just need to do it and stop over-thinking it. Some questions that I ask myself…
If you no longer feel like you fit in at your company, do you think that will change or that you can do some things to change that?
Are there opportunities to grow in your company over the next 6 – 12 months?
If your loyalty prevailed, will it be worth it in the end?
Is there someone I can talk to that will help me clarify my goals and frustrations to move forward?
The questions are supposed to be blunt and to the point because what use will come from asking questions that doesn’t get you closer to the answer you want. To be successful and to get what we want, we need to think about our self-interest and pursue that. You will negatively impact the company if you stay in a role you dislike and are bored in. Perhaps you should just pursue new opportunities and challenges when your gut instincts tell you to. You may be happier you did.
Talk about opportunities and career decisions with mentors or with people that you trust for honesty, this will provide a sounding board and help you make a decision that works for you and for what you want.