There is this motivational video clip circulating in social media. This clip showcases two men digging for diamonds in different sections of a mining site. One found a medium sized diamond in his section and left with it. The other miner quickly left his section and went to dig in this other person’s side because he believed that’s where he can make it. But unknown to him, he only needed to dig a little bit more in his section to find many big diamonds. As for the place he shifted to, he will toil for nothing because all the remaining diamonds there are too small.
This video clip teaches perseverance and contentment. It teaches diligence and focus. It teaches locating your space and keeping it. It teaches nurturing yourself in whatever garden you are planted. What I understood in this very video clip is that we should remain wherever we found ourselves irrespective of how difficult we find it because that’s where we are destined to be.
But then, I always ask myself each time I watch this video, what if this second man actually needed to shift base to find his diamond? What if there is no diamond in his own section of the mine? What if his move to the other side wasn’t a mistake? What if he made the right choice by changing position? There are indeed so many ‘what if’s’ if we decide to apply that video to real life situation.
Whenever I post that video on social media and ask the questions given above, I always get evasive and unsatisfactory replies. Some people will tell me it takes luck to find out whether to move or not. Some will say it is intuition. Others will say we need the Grace of God. And then there are those that will say that we should just be patient and keep digging in our own turf because that is where we were meant to be.
This last group is the reason I am writing this piece. So I’ll ask the following questions so that you readers here can make out time to reflect on them: How do you know the difference between being patient and wasting your time? How do you that, that job or business is or isn’t the right one? How do you know when to move on and when to wait? How do you know that you are not going to look back in the future and regret your action – be it for waiting or for moving on?
You see, it may take intuition, it may take luck, it may take the Grace of God; but it also takes SKILLS. Even to listen to our intuition is a skill. To know when God asks us to move or stay is also a skill. As for luck, well, let’s just not think of that one right now.
I know that business people usually change ‘line’ each time their businesses begin to go down. I could remember I used to ask how they can go into something they are not good in because it sells and I always get responses on how learning on the trade can help out.
But, what about those of us that are in the corporate world? Do we really know when we choose the wrong career path? Do we know when we have to change line as the business people do? Or do we continue digging in the wrong turf, where we either get smaller diamonds or get nothing at all?
So, I made out time to look around, listen with intent and observe ways we can find out when we need to change our career path. Below are some of the signs I believe that can help us detect if we are in the right place or not.
1. Room for Growth: You will know if you are in the right place if the job gives room for growth or not. Growth here covers growth in career, income, academics and skills. Jobs that don’t have rooms for growth are no-go areas.
2. Performance Appraisal: If you continue to underperform or make avoidable mistakes, despite the efforts you made to improve, then it’s time to hit the road.
3. Motivation: What motivates you to be in that office? Is it the salary and other financial benefits? Are you among those that keep checking the calendar for the arrival day of the pay cheque? Anyway, if you are among those that go to work just because of the money, you are in the wrong place. Your job is supposed to give you satisfaction because of the values you add through.
4. Excitement at Place of Work: Some people are happy to go to work because each day brings new exciting opportunities while some easily feel bored in their work (they keep checking for the time to clock off). If you don’t look up to going to work in the morning and you can’t wait to leave the office by the end of the day, then you need to move on.
5. Alignment with your Career or Life Goals: We all have plans for our lives. Our jobs are supposed to go in line with these plans. If your job will not take you to that path you wish to be, consider looking elsewhere.
6. Skills Mismatch: If your skills do not match your job, and find it hard acquiring the skills needed for the job, I don’t see what you are doing there. Go and look for the one that needs what you have.
7. Insolent Attitude to the Management: One way of knowing that you are in the wrong place is when you become rude to your boss to the extent that you no longer care about receiving queries and other disciplinary actions. In fact, your actions and words continue to beg for the dreadful dismissal letter. Well, you need to leave before that letter comes.
8. Incessant Complaints: If you start complaining so much about your job, colleagues and the management, maybe it’s a sign that you should move on.
9. Ashamed of your Job: When you are not comfortable telling people what you do for a living because you think it’s too low or improper for your class or status, I don’t see why you should continue with that job. Find a job you are proud of.
10. Unethical Matters: Sometimes, people find themselves doing works that are against their personal ethics, values and believes. This type of work will continue to play against their conscience. The best thing to do is to move on.
11. Rules Breaking: When you keep breaking company rules without remorse, it is a sign that something is wrong.
12. Job Search: If you find yourself under pressure to search for jobs, then do so. I believe that’s your intuition talking to you. The only reason people search for jobs to get new ones.
Well, you can see that I didn’t state anything about the salary paid. This is because money isn’t all that matters here. If that job gives you joy but pays little, you can develop in it and look for the ones that pay higher or you can get into side hustles to augment your income.
Ok, so you have finally read through and found out that you are in the right place. Congratulations to you. But if you are among those that need to make a move, you have to consider the following before taking that decision to leave:
- Objective Evaluation: You need to find out where your problem and dissatisfaction are coming from. This is something you should do by yourself, and you have to be honest about it. So, find out if the problem is from you, your boss, your office or the job. An honest answer to this question will help you to know where changes need to be made.
- Do Things Differently: If your job feels monotonous and boring, try to bring new and exciting things on board. You can talk it over with the management for their approval. Ensure that whatever you are introducing will create more rooms for growth and skills development.
- Socialise: Maybe you should socialise more with your colleagues to feel more comfortable in your place of work. Besides, they will help you understand the office ethics better. Who knows, maybe things aren’t as bad as them seem. Just give it a try first.
- Make Friend with your Boss: When you think your boss is the problem, try to make him your friend to see if things will turn around. You never can tell; he might really be nice inside. And you know this will help you with the office politics (*smiles*).
- Talk to Someone: Most of the times we paint horrific mind pictures of situations and lock ourselves in those horrors. In this case, we need to let people help us out of this type of problem. But be mindful of who you talk to so that your problem doesn’t get complicated.
- Give Yourself Time: Don’t be in a hurry to leave. Give yourself more time to assess situations very well to be sure of what you are about to do. Knowing the duration of time you will give yourself is very tricky because it is hard to tell whether the time is too short or too long. But as you are waiting for things to fall in place, keep your eyes open for newer and better opportunities.
When you have tried all within your power to make that job work for you and it still doesn’t feel right, then take a bow and move on. But before you do, ensure that you have another job you are going into. I am not talking about a promise or a prospect, I am talking about a job you already have its appointment letter and have reported to. I’m stating this here because I know how uneasy it is to find a good job around here. I wouldn’t want it to be said that you read this article and then resigned from your job when there is no other one available. Think of your bills before taking any decision.
Be wise, work smart and keep the hustle real.