Monday, December 27, 2010

Does Anyone Really Care What I Say? Thoughts on Job Changing

On December 20th, William C. Taylor posted a piece on Yahoo Financial entitled Is It Time To Leave Your Job? In the piece he asks several questions that may give you an indication that it is time to pack your bags and head out to another job depending on your answers. These questions include:
  • Does my company stand for something-anything- special?
  • Am I excited to see my colleagues when I show up to work on Monday morning?
  • Do I have a voice at work-- does anyone who matters listen to what I say?
  • Am I learning as fast as the world is changing?
  • Am I making enough money?
The first question implies we all want to work for some "noble" cause such as world peace, curing cancer, etc. Well I am not sure that is necessary. I think rather than asking "does my company do anything special?" you should ask "how does my company do something special?" You don't have to be a "noble" company to make peoples lives easier, more fun, less stressful, more convienent, save them time, save them money, entertain them, etc. Whatever your company does think of it in terms of what "good" it does its customers.

The second one is a great indication of whether you should leave. If you don't like the people you work with then you do need to do something about finding another place. You spend far too much time in that environment to be miserable. But ask yourself "why do I not like these people?" You may discover the fault is yours and not theirs. If you have work habits that make you a less than desirable workmate that will not change if you change environments. So do some introspection before you jump ship.

The third question about having a voice at work also begs another question and that is "Why don't I have a voice at work?" Has your work been substandard? Do you seem uninterested? Do you seem irrelevant? If these are the reasons no one pays attention to your "voice" then work on correcting these items.

Am I learning as fast as the world is changing? At the rate knowledge doubles (every 5 to 8 years) it will be an absolutely impossible task to keep up. A more important question is are you keeping up on your relevant body of knowledge in order to stay relevant in what you do? Do you read? Do you study? As one of my favorite authors, Brian Tracy says "If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field in three years. You will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. All leaders are readers."

The last question of "Am I making enough money?" perhaps can be replaced by "Am I maximizing my efforts to make as much money as I can in my chosen field?" If the answer is "no" then do something to change that before you change jobs. If the answer is "yes" and you still feel you are not making enough money then you are in the wrong field and more than a job change is needed.

How would you respond to these questions? Have you ever asked them? What did you do?

3 comments:

Jay Kuhns said...

Great message and questions. I love that you've included a heavy dose of personal accountability in your post.

Sergey Gorbatov said...

To answer those questions we need five separate blog posts and quite lengthy at that. To facilitate this discussion, however, I would like to quote Mr Drucker, who said that the only responsibility a business has towards society is to be profitable and reinforce the virtuous economic cycle. Thus, as long as your contributions at work are geared towards maximizing economic value, you are already doing something good.

Nowadays, things are not as bl;ack and white any more and you have to think about wider implications of what your comapny is doing. For instance, if you are working for a tobacco company, is it good or bad? On the one hand, it's profitable business, it is good for the economy and lots of jobs are created to roll and sell the cigaretts, but after all you are indirectly contributing to lung cancer proliferation. Same goes for pharmaceutical companies: yes, they create new drugs, but then they refuse to sell them cheaply to poor countries where they could cure millions of people, just because then the companies won't have as much profit.

As to the attitudes of the colleagues and the atmosphere at work, everything starts within you: if you have a warm predisposition and a genuine willingness to help and contribute, I doubt that someone will purposefully ignore you or be negative towards your actions.

Anonymous said...

I take exception to the word "noble" with respect to the first question. A company can stand for something that results in a satisfying feeling without it being the least bit noble. For instance, if you work for a company that has the most outstanding reputation for integrity (as compared to say - Goldman Sacks) then it stands for something. How about brand recognition? Most people enjoy being a member of a well recognized company - "I and IBMer" still carries a lot of credibility in the corporate world.