Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You Know It's Time to Go When...

We've all seen them.

Maybe at one time or another we've been them.

You know, that guy or gal who has been at the company too long, and really does more harm than good these days. How do you recognize this phenomenon in yourself, or others? In my experience, it sneaks up on you with little or no warning. One day you are not only drinking the organizational Kool-Aid, but guzzling it and happily sharing with others, but the next day you find that you are not that thirsty.

Then, over the next few weeks and months you don’t even think about drinking it anymore. You unconsciously start looking for something new to drink, or loudly bemoan the fact that the taste of the organizational Kool-Aid just isn't the same as it used to be. And yet, you consciously try your hardest to make it taste the same, regardless of whether or not your co-workers agree with you.

I have worked in the nonprofit community for almost 30 years now, and in that time I have known – and at one time was – one of those people who truly needed to find something else to do professionally in order for the organization to thrive. Here are three examples of behavior that literally scream it’s time to go:

Living in the Land of UsedToBe
Believe it or not, the Land of UseToBe has an enormous population, and that’s not good for any business, for- or nonprofit. These people are not only unhappy with changes in the organization, but are absolutely livid about them. They will do whatever they can to show the leadership team that this new idea, structure, policies, or whatever they don’t like coming down will not work; even if it means sabotaging customer service and quality.

I have seen this behavior several times over my career, and each time I have been amazed at how once-fantastic leaders have clearly lost the vision of the mission for which they once had a passion. Their focus is no longer on ensuring the organization provides quality products or services to those they serve, but on preserving their perceived fiefdoms.

Once your focus is no longer on the mission of the organization, but on fighting changes to preserve how you think the organization should operate and how these changes make your work life miserable, it’s time for you to go.

The Work No Longer Excites You
A friend of mine once told me that she knew it was time for her to find a different job when one of her subordinates brought her a fabulous idea that could be a solid stepping stone to help move the organization to the next level. However, my friend did not see the idea in that light until someone else pointed it out to her. She could not see the proverbial forest for the trees because she had lost her excitement for that particular job.

Luckily for her and the organization, my friend was able to see her predicament as soon as it was pointed out to her; many cannot or will not ever see the writing on the wall. If you find yourself continually saying, “No, that won’t work,” or “No, that would be more useful in the XYZ field,” or even worse, “No, that is the worst idea I have heard in years,” then it’s time for you to go.

Major Personality Conflict Escalates
Most people can get along and work with most people. However, at one time or another, everyone has that one person in their work life with which they have a personality conflict. Generally, if you have a personality conflict with a co-worker, you do your best to work with them when you have to and find ways get along that does not escalate the friction.

Once that conflict reaches the point where interaction, or lack of interaction, adversely affects your co-workers and the every-day functioning of the organization, it’s time for you to go. After all, they probably live in the Land of UsedToBe.

Share Your Ideas on Knowing When to Go
There are many other ways to recognize when it’s time for you to go, and I would love to see a discussion on the topic. So, please, share your clues that it’s time for you to go!

Photo Credits: Bing Images

Before founding her own consulting firm in 2013, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and women’s healthcare fields for 25 years. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management from American Public University, is a contributor on LinkedIn, and the author of the Management in Motion blog.

Dawn currently serves as the Past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Women’s Council, and volunteers with the American Red Cross. As an infertility survivor she has been a featured speaker within the Fertility Community, and written numerous articles on the topic of childfree living.