Choosing the Seat and the House

The most frequently asked question of the week: “I am not feeling satisfied with my job, I don’t feel like I am reaching my potential, being a valuable contributor. Is it time to leave? How do I know when it’s time to move on to another opportunity? “

I have been asked over and over again, even in this tough economic climate, how do you know when its time to leave a particular employment opportunity? I recommend that you do a simple three question analysis. Before I start with the questions though, let’s get a few definitions out of the way.

Seat = the content of what you do every day; it is your specific job.

House = the place where you do your job, a company, an organization, a school, a hospital, etc. It is the environment where you work.

If you don’t feel like you are contributing at your highest level in your career or your specific job and if you want to understand if it is time for you to pursue something different, ask these three questions:

DO I STILL LIKE MY SEAT? Am I still motivated every day to do what I do? Do I still like the content? Am I still learning, adding to my personal intellectual and experiential tool chest? Am I fundamentally inspired by what I do every day? Does it still fit with my personal agenda (Chapter 2 of Expect To Win)

DO I STILL LIKE THE HOUSE? Do I still like the environment that I am working in? Is the environment supportive of me, enabling me to continue to be a value added player? Am I still learning from the people around me? Do the people and/or the organization motivate me to want to give my all? Are the organization’s values still consistent with my own? Do I have a platform for growth?

Is there one person that seems to be at the heart of my inability to be a value added player in this HOUSE, in this particular SEAT?

If you are not feeling that you are playing at the top of your game or you are generally not happy with where you are, examine the following:

If you have asked the above questions and you determine that you love your SEAT, and then check whether or not you are in the right HOUSE, the right environment. If you love the job, but don’t feel like you are supported by the environment, then you are likely in the right SEAT, the right job, but you may be in the wrong environment and need to change the HOUSE.

If on the other hand, you examine the SEAT and you go back to your personal agenda, and you realize that you have learned everything that you intended to learn in that seat, you cannot add to your intellectual or experiential tool chest by staying in that seat, then you have likely conquered the job content and you are not inspired to add more value. It is most likely time to figure out what is next for you to conquer, for you to learn, it is time for a new SEAT.

If you have examined the situation and you love the content of your job, you are still motivated to find ways each day to do a bang up job, and you like the people, the environment, the platform and opportunities that you have ahead, yet you are still feeling like something is not right, you are not operating at your maximum capacity, then more than likely, the problem is not the SEAT or the HOUSE, it is a person. Now it becomes easier to figure out what you need to do: devise a strategy to get around that person. There is not a person born that you cannot get around. Studies show that most people, particularly women, tend to leave jobs because of one person. If you have an agenda, and you have found your optimal seat and environment to work in, you CANNOT let one person deter you from maximizing your success and executing your agenda. Work diligently to use your network or develop one to work around them. You generally only want to leave a specific job, when you are no longer learning, and you are fairly certain that there is no opportunity with a new SEAT or within the HOUSE, to operate at a higher value, to contribute more value to the organization and to yourself.

Having an agenda and understanding WHY you are in the SEAT that you are in and WHY you have chosen the HOUSE that you are in, will help you to keep focused on maximizing your success and avoid making emotional decisions that can cause you to interrupt your journey of maximizing your success.