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 | , , , | 12 Comments


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