Image Credit: <www.lighttape.co.uk

Image Credit: <www.lighttape.co.uk>

…So with the economy in better shape and the job market improving, many unhappy employees are thinking about and/or actively seeking new opportunities.

This is all well and good. Employees typically stay at their organizations for right around four years. Over time, most people move on no matter where they are.

With that said, I recently read an article from HR Pro Tim Sackett highlighting some of the anecdotes he’s heard over the years as it concerns regrets people have had about leaving a prior employer. In HR, we all know the reasons people leave: More money, more opportunity for growth, more desirable location etc., but rarely do we get the opportunity to learn how our exiting employees feel in hindsight.

You can read Sackett’s article here, but in short the big regrets people have are not trying harder, not celebrating their accomplishments more, not establishing meaningful relationships with co-workers, not communicating the issues precipitating their exit to executives, and finally mistakenly believing the grass would be greener on the other side.

…That’s a powerful list. From the above, there are four questions I think anyone needs to ask themselves before seeking new opportunities:

1. Am I being recognized for my accomplishments?

2. Do the leaders in my organization know what’s wrong?

3. Am I putting forth the effort needed to perform at the level required to deserve the success I want?

4. Life is about relationships. Do I have meaningful ones internally that enrich my day-to-day?

…This should really be eight questions, because I would add that any unhappy employee should end each of the above with “If no, how can I change this?”

I submit to you that completing this exercise is a good idea as part of a broader commitment to being a high performer and (if you are so inclined) a leader. If you aspire to be either, a prerequisite is an aspiration to fix things.

See, before one can manage an organization or any significant enterprise, one must first accomplish mastery of self. Accomplishing this (in my opinion) means being able to answer “yes” to all four of the questions above. If you can’t do this then I would encourage you to buckle down and do the difficult work required to make one’s situation work at any organization before leaving your current one. If you don’t, you’ll just be trading one set of problems for another.

…But if you can honestly say “yes” to all four of the above questions and still want to leave your organization, I would encourage you to do so with a full heart and optimism for the future.

You’re going to be fine.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.