AVA was created to help professional women like you advance your career in a solution-oriented, actionable learning community.
As we come to the end of 2020, you may be pondering your current job and whether it is right for you. "Should I stay at my current job" or "should I leave my job" are questions we often hear because of the difficulties women uniquely face in their career, especially this year. Here are some tips, tools and a personal story that might help you make a decision for your future career happiness in 2021 and beyond.
Women Face Toxic Work Situations
Women are statistically more likely to end up in a bad work culture. Gender disparity, wage inequality, and toxicity are to blame. Male toxicity has come to the forefront of work discussions, especially since the #metoo movement. However, women unfairly and ironically also face female toxicity, where women hurt other women who want to advance at work.
According to a Pew Research Center report, 42% of women say they have experienced some form of gender discrimination in the workplace.
Women Are Leaving Work In Record Numbers
COVID has been hardest on women, and companies are losing their best female talent. According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company, 1 in 4 women are considering leaving or downshifting their job. It is critical that companies make "it OK for women in leadership—and all leaders—to set boundaries to protect their families or personal time." Otherwise companies risk losing the gains they have made bringing in women to leadership roles.
Of the 1.1 million people ages 20 and over who left the work force between August and September, over 800,000 were women, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.
Should You Stay Or Should You Go?
At AVA we are focused on helping women advance in their career, however you set the definition of what “advance.” means to you personally. "Should I stay or change jobs" is the question we hear most and what prompted our advice post and our free, virtual panel, Discovering And Building A Female-Friendly Work Culture.
The dilemma for women is that leaving costs them time they don't have to network in their industry, research job opportunities, prepare their resume, and interview. It also brings the emotional ups and downs of being worried your current boss will find out, wondering if you are good enough to apply, getting hopeful, and getting let down. Worse yet, if you leave your job and end up somewhere just as toxic or for little difference in pay, it might not even have been worth it.
Assess Your Situation
There are many beneficial reasons to change jobs, such as more experience, financial gain, and better opportunity. The question of whether you have to leave arises when the majority of the time, you feel unhappy, depressed, thwarted, bored, misunderstood or even mistreated.
There are also many reasons to stay. Sometimes you can improve your environment by talking to your boss, changing bosses, switching departments, or even influencing a change in the culture.
Assessing your situation first takes the pressure off deciding and allows you to objectively look at where you are versus what you want. Take time to answer these questions about your current job:
Are the skills that you were hired to use for this job a fit for what you’re good at or enjoy? What we’re good at is not the same as what we love doing. If your job forces you to use skills that aren’t enjoyable or easy for you, you’ll be miserable and drained every day in your job.
Are the outcomes that you’re working toward meaningful and positive for you? You want to believe that the energy spent on the job is indeed worth it.
Do you agree with the values and morals of the company you're working for? The culture of a company may gradually change either for the better or the worse. Maybe the changes aren’t what you signed up for when you first took the job.
Are you severely undervalued and unappreciated? The term “undervalued” doesn’t only refer to money, although if you’re severely underpaid, that’s also a big problem, too. Instead, being undervalued is more of a problem if your accomplishments aren’t recognized or your ongoing work isn’t appreciated. Your boss and co-workers should see you as an integral part of the team and recognize you when you’ve done exceptional work.
Is your work environment tainted with extreme toxicity, including your boss and/or colleagues? Do you feel safe (psychologically and physically) at work? A toxic work culture is one where the workplace is plagued by fighting, drama and unhappy employees to the point that productivity and the well-being of the people in the office are impacted.
Staying or leaving is a very personal decision. It is dependent on what you are looking for, where you are in life, how thick your skin is and what kind of toll it is taking on you personally. It also depends a lot on the work environment. Here is a comparison of reasons compiled from generally given advice:
Whatever your decision, be sure to weigh your options and put a plan together with steps, even if small, toward making your reality become clearer. If you are clear on your own needs and parameters, then you have more control of your situation. Working on your connections, being clear on your value and your goals, and keeping your resume up-to-date is something you can always do. That way you aren't overtaxing your time or effort whenever opportunities come your way.
Melissa Seipel's story, shared as part of our virtual panel, Discovering And Building A Female-Friendly Work Culture, is a real life example of the difficulty of making the decision to stay or go in a bad work situation. It also highlights the benefit of making the right choice for you. And you can clearly see in the video, she has found a career as an executive coach (find her on our coaching list) for women where she feels purposeful, fulfilled and happy!
A passion project, AVA was founded based on our deep conviction that all women need to proactively help other women in the workplace - no matter what industry, level, background or career goal. We take an inclusive, solution-oriented, candid approach to sharing tools and skills for women to be engaged, satisfied and successful in their work. We provide content and in-depth, safe workshops to learn and practice the tools and skills you need to Assess, Visualize, and Advance your career.
What topics do you want to discuss? Let us know in the comments below. Or share this on social media and use #advancewithava.