Career Crisis: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Are you in a career crisis? We’ve all had that really bad day at the office, when everything seems to implode, or explode, or somehow concurrently do both. Or you may find your daily grind becomes even more grinding, day by day and week by week. Sometimes things resolve, but sometimes they don’t, and you are left seriously considering your options.

And then things become really confusing. There are a million scenarios out there, and a whole spectrum of concerns and opportunities. Things are intertwined and convoluted, and even with the best crystal ball, the future remains uncertain.

Take a deep breath. Step back and take a systematic look at your situation. Sometimes we have the luxury of calmly evaluating a career opportunity. But sometimes things reach crisis proportions. A career crisis can be the perfect opportunity to review your options. Consider the following questions to start the process.

How Serious is Your Career Crisis?

  • What frustrates or angers you in your current position?
    • What are the chances the situation will resolve or at least become tolerable?
    • Does the current situation place you in physical or mental harm?
    • Does the current situation place you at risk for arrest or legal action?
  • What are your chances of being fired?
    • If this is possible, what is the likely timeline?
    • Would your firing be viewed as “for cause,” or due to organizational changes?
    • What are the benefits to waiting it out vs. jumping ship?
  • How easily could you find your next position?
    • Are your skills in demand in the marketplace?
    • Do you lack skills which are in demand?
    • Are you likely to be overlooked due to geography, gender, age or other factors?
    • Is your industry growing or shrinking?
  • What are your salary requirements? Do you need your current salary, less, or more?
  • What is your career path?
    • What are your career goals?
    • How long do you plan to remain in the workforce?
    • Does your current position offer the opportunities you need?
    • Are you on the career path you want?
  • What are the positive factors in your current job?
    • How important are these to you?
    • Will another position provide the same positive rewards?
  • What are your options in your current position?
    • What actions can you take to improve your work situation?
    • Is pressing for change an option? Is this a path you want to take?
    • Is following the path of least resistance an option? Is this a choice you want to consider?

Finally, consider the bottom line. If you stay, what is the worst possible outcome? What is the best? And if you leave, what is the worst and what is the best that can happen to you?

Harnessing your thoughts can be empowering. Take the time to examine your position and make the career choices which are right for you.

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4 Responses to Career Crisis: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

  1. Avatar
    kevin murnane November 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm #


    Strong content and provocative questions. It might be too challenging to expect an individual to face this magnitude of crisis on their own.

    Learning about how the person reacts and resists change (i.e., complacency, defiance, immobility, pessimism and passive aggressiveness ) is a good place to start.

    After answering the questions on their own, I suggest they go go trusted friends and colleagues and ask the same questions.

    The resulting dialogue may quell the fear and resistance long enough to start taking just one or two of the right next steps.


    • Ellen Huxtable
      Ellen Huxtable November 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Thank you for your observations, Kevin. Big decisions can be extremely stressful and complex. My clients and colleagues have run the spectrum of responses, from toughing it out, to bailing out immediately. There is no single right answer, and really no predicting the outcome of the decision not made. I hope readers will explore at least some of the questions and use them to make a better informed decision. Thanks again for taking the time to respond!


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