In my work representing employees who’ve been cheated or mistreated by their employers, I see many wonderful people who’ve endured job-related abuse, harassment and discrimination for a long time. They suffered because they feared that leaving would leave them worse off.
But more often than not, employees who leave a bad job, voluntarily or otherwise, do land on their feet, in a better workplace and, often, for more money. The only regret people have is that they didn’t do it sooner. Sometimes, they tolerated terrible conditions for years.
That leads me to my year-end message for 2016.
If you’re in an abusive, hostile or discriminatory working environment, I have good news: There are better employers out there, and they’re looking for you right now. It may be hard to see this from your perspective. But I see it over and over again. It’s not a fluke. There are literally thousands of great workplaces, big and small, in every field, and they have great supervisors. Most are hiring, all the time.
It’s the same mental evolution we go through in ending a bad relationship. We go through stages. First, we think it’s not as bad as we make it out to be. Second, we begin to realize that it really is as bad as we think, but we convince ourselves that we can survive. Third, we abandon hope, deciding to stay because we (mis)perceive that the risks of leaving are too high. The unknowns are too much for us. This last step comes with a heavy price, namely regret that we have wasted, and will continue to waste, a valuable part of our life by not taking action.
So my advice to you is this. Life is short, and time is a non-renewable resource. You deserve better. If you’re in a bad career place, jump. Leave. You can do it. The 2016-2017 job market is looking spectacular. Tune up your resume – supplementing it with some fantastic, free credentials if you need to (example here: A Free Credential To Supercharge Your Resume) – and get out there.
Now’s the time.