Present Tense

Do you know when to leave?

I was chatting with a friend recently about her job.  Like me, she has been on the radio for many years, but she finds herself in a situation where more and more is demanded of her, with very little input and no extra money.  She’s been moved around, her duties change monthly and she generally feels unappreciated and sorta bummed.  I get it and probably a lot of you do, too.  She is struggling with what to do next.

She asked me how I managed to thrive in my radio career, amidst rampant downsizing, consolidations, syndication and sadly, instances of horrible management and I thought about it.  First, I  learned to put myself in situations where I fit in, where I could grow and learn and hopefully, thrive.  But, I think the most important thing that I’ve learned over the course of my almost 30 year career, is to know when to leave.  Know when it’s time to move on.

The more I thought about it, the more I’m convinced that it’s one of the hardest things for most of us to do and yet it’s probably the most important.  Knowing when to leave.  It doesn’t just apply professionally, it applies to life in general.

I’ve left jobs that were obviously not a good fit, but the bigger leaps were when I left jobs where I was well-compensated and successful; when people looked at me and said “are you nuts”? I’ve moved from cities that I liked and the same question arose from friends and colleagues.  Logically, I knew that I was in a decent situation; I was leaving something that was working on some level, but it was no longer working for me, at my deepest level.  Full disclosure: I’ve also been told (okay, I was fired) to leave various jobs and to be honest, that worked out for the best, too.

I’ve heard from a lot of people lately who are worn out, stressed out, freaked out and they are stuck.  Stuck in the idea that they HAVE to make their current life work, because there is no alternative.  That it’s better to be in a horrible situation that you know, rather than leave it behind to seek out a better one, because maybe that better one isn’t out there.  I’ve used my career as an example, but it could be another part of your life.  Relationships, habits, reactions, friends, job, money, etc.  Whatever isn’t working in your life.  You don’t have to stick with it.

Sit and ponder your life and your choices and your decisions.  How many times have you made a tough choice that scared the crap out of you and then six months later, you look back thinking, “I wish I would have done that sooner.  Why did I wait so long”?  Sound familiar?  YES.  We instinctively KNOW when it’s time to leave, to move on, to move forward and yet it can be so hard to listen to our inner voice that’s telling us we’re not in the best place.  That inner voice that manifests as stress, restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety, over eating, over drinking, frustration, sickness.

And think about this:  maybe moving forward is actually circling back.  Back closer to your family, back to what you originally wanted to do or be until life steered you in another direction; back to the healthier, more relaxed lifestyle that you had before you had kids/money/obligations/status, etc.  Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “Is it time to leave”?

June 24, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , ,


  1. Thank you for this Jane! It’s exactly what I’m going through at this time in my life. I really appreciated this blog. Keep up the great work!

    Comment by Marni | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  2. WOW right in again!!!

    Comment by Marge beem | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  3. You always hit the nail on the head thank you for a great post!!

    Comment by Marge beem | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  4. Great post Jane! I think with the economy the way it is, it makes people even more hesitant to make that big decision to leave because jobs are very hard to come by. Still, you have to listen to your gut and if it is telling you its time to go, then you need to say “hasta la vista baby” and bail. Like you said, this can scare the crap out of you, but listening to your gut is almost always the right thing to do and when you look back later, you will see it wasn’t so bad.

    Comment by Terri | June 24, 2012 | Reply

    • I was just talking to my husband about this and what I should have probably stressed is that I’m not advocating marching out the door in a blaze of glory:) I’m not a risk-taker my nature, but I will most certainly take a calculated risk. That’s why I typically advise people to take some time and think about things. I agree about the economy and as I said, it may not be a job that has you stuck. We all have to find our comfort zone with change, but if you’re in a uncomfortable zone, maybe it’s time to leave it.
      Thanks so much for the comment and for reading my posts. Much appreciated!

      Comment by janelondon | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  5. There is no “better” out there. Just something different that keeps us distracted with feeling better for a while. Then, one day, you wake up and realize you are no better off than you were when you canned your last gig (or got canned, lol!). Which calls to mind what our expectations of life are. The job, the money, the friends and social relationships are all so shallow. They have nothing to do with fulfilling us. Until we have fulfilled our own beingness. From within ourselves. Then those things make sense around the edges and can be very fulfilling in supporting our core understanding of ourselves. But to play that in reverse always leaves one frustrated eventually. We must take ourselves to the mat and be honest about what truly fulfills our being and discard all that does not.

    Comment by Greg | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  6. It is exactly those “Life Assumptions” that become rattled when something traumatic or upsetting happens to us. How we handle these situations depends on our attachments that we have, and have had with others beginning between birth and 2 years old. What is at your core is what will surface in trying times in your life. Excellent post Jane, good to read you again.

    Comment by Tim | June 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Tim, you must be familiar with Dr. Maria Nemeth’s work. Good stuff and well put. Getting past monkey mind is the best thing in the world.

      Comment by Cyndi | June 25, 2012 | Reply

  7. You hit the nail on the head with me! I’ve been in child care at the same place, in the same classroom for 21 years. Granted, I’m proud of most of the time there, and I have a lot of families who tell me so. That’s gratification…but once that’s gone on my part, it’s time to go.That’s kind of where I am right now. I’m definitely looking to move on to something bigger and better. I’m 51 and would like to start over living again, enjoying my family and grasping what there is out there that I haven’t seen. Thanks for this enlightening post! (PS…no, I’m not quitting my job tomorrow…but this blog certainly will be printed off and stuck in front of me at my computer desk for some time! Thanks, Jane! <3)

    Comment by Marcia Bischof | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  8. Absolutely timley! We have been in a state of limbo for some time now. It all came to a head today, and although the parting of ways was much more unpleasant than anticipated, we can only move onward and upward from here.

    Comment by Sue Haner | June 24, 2012 | Reply

  9. Great blog, as always…knowing when to leave…one of the crucial steps in creating your own happiness…
    thanks, Jane!

    Comment by Francesca Amari Sajtar | June 25, 2012 | Reply

  10. Great stuff Jane, I really enjoy your writing, and especially what you have to say. 😉

    Comment by thetemenosjournal | November 4, 2012 | Reply

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