Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?

Milton Jones once joked: “The worst job I ever had was as a forensicologist for the United Nations. One time I thought I’d come across the mass grave of a thousand snowmen, but it turns out it was just a field of carrots.”

Now there are a lot of different reasons why people (voluntarily) might want to change their jobs: ambition, boredom, money, mid-life crisis, less stress; the list goes on.

And changing jobs can be a real tonic, a shot in the arm; however, there is a certain amount of due diligence that should be done beforehand. The grass isn’t necessarily greener in all cases and yet other people’s opinions of what a different job is like should be treated with caution, as they are always based on a very personalised set of circumstances.

For example, if you speak to a friend who has a HR role in a fast paced, unionised environment, with a lot of ER issues; that environment may simply no longer be a fit for them, they may be burned out and looking for an easier life. If, however, you are looking to gain more front-line interaction and get some serious ER experience under you belt then this may be exactly the place for you.

So, what to do? Well first up you need to figure out if you genuinely want to move or if it’s just a temporary case of the workplace blues. Sometimes just raising your hand in your current job and asking for a new challenge can be enough to reignite the fire. Even just a decent holiday can be enough.

Looking to ditch accountancy and follow your dream of raising chickens and farming organically: could be great, but just check you can still pay the bills, that the market is ripe for moving and that you have the skills to make that leap.

You should always take time to reflect on your current situation and ask yourself honestly if you have a passion for what you do, or if you even like it, and if you genuinely hate your work then chances are you need to get out asap. Consider if you place a premium on getting along with work colleagues, or are you happy enough to do your own thing and be left alone? Does your current work cater for whichever option suits you? Are the pay and benefits in line what you expect and need? Is the office environment right and are the perks, working hours, flexibility etc all that you expect? Are you challenged by the work and is there room to grow and advance your career? Do you have the chance to take responsibility for what you do? Do you even want responsibility? Chances are if most of these things are hitting the mark then it may just be a passing phase you go through and you are fine to stay where you are.

On the other hand, if you have carefully thought about these issues and you have identified genuine reasons for wanting to move on then you should do your research. Find out exactly what you will be doing; what the expectations are in terms of hours, pay, perks, benefits and career development. Are you expected to work late nights and weekends even for just a little more pay? Will you be able to develop and grow? Is there a lot of travel associated with the role? Will you receive good mentoring and training?

Finally, take the time at interview to quiz the company on these issues and have the courage to say no and wait for the right opportunity to come along if required. You are going to spend a lot of time working in your life, so you may as well enjoy what you do and where you do it.

:: Barry Shannon ( is HR director at Cayan in Belfast