I’ve always been a fan of keeping options open. I like choices.
Just because you may not actively be seeking other employment, if you’re contacted by a recruiter, what does it hurt to explore the opportunity he/she presents to you? You can always say no. But what if it’s a fantastic opportunity? Or your dream job? How would you know unless you looked into it a little further? Recruiters and hiring managers may be reaching out to you hoping to woo you away from your current position with a more challenging role, a different type of role altogether, better compensation, a more robust benefits package, retirement plans, stock options, and/or additional perks – such as a more flexible work schedule, the ability to work from home, unlimited vacation, paid volunteer time off, etc..
Maybe you’re working for a great company, but you're not so happy with your current position and/or duties. You don’t feel challenged. The work doesn’t inspire you. The duties are just plain tedious and aren’t working your strengths. Or maybe you’re really great at those duties, but they make up 90% of the job, and you just plain hate doing them.
Maybe you would be happy in your current position if it weren't for _____ (fill in the blank). Your supervisor/manager is a narcissistic, egotistical jerk. There are toxic people on your team that the company seems to hold on to for far too long despite your sound advice and counsel. There is a complete lack of accountability, integrity, transparency. Leadership doesn’t behave in alignment with company values. The compensation isn’t aligned with the competitive market range. The benefits package is lacking. The work impedes on your ability to be present in your life outside of work – lack of flexibility and/or paid time off. Literally, this list is endless.
If you’re in this type of situation, I think it’s time to really consider whether or not you’re in the right position and/or right company. First, you can’t control others. You can only control yourself – your thoughts, feelings, behavior, responses, etc. Second, with that in mind, you have a decision to make. Here are your options:
If you’re that unhappy in your current role/company, take the necessary steps to look for a role that better suits you and meets your needs. There is absolutely no point in continually complaining about the company, the team, your boss, the position, the whatever. Notice that there wasn’t a third option: Stay and complain. This is not an option. I totally get that there are often a lot of things to complain about. But the question is, can you do anything about them? If you can, what’s stopping you? Maybe you have done everything you can to influence positive change, but in the end you aren’t the decision maker, and the decision has been to keep things status quo. Bummer. Or maybe the direction of the company just isn't a direction you want to go.
What are you going to do?
HR Pros, I implore you. Do not get sucked in a negative space. The role of HR is critical in a company. Your job is to demonstrate appropriate behavior, positive interactions and attitudes, and be supportive - whether through change or staticity. It’s super easy to vent. But BEWARE. Your attitude, disengagement, frustration and anger are felt by those around you. They’re little seeds that you’re planting. Your garden will grow accordingly. The seeds you plant affect others’ ability to work and engage in their respective roles. Negativity breeds negativity. Toxicity breed toxicity. Don’t be a part of that cycle.
I’ve seen people so angry and frustrated with their manager or company that they throw gigantic fits. They tell people off. They purposefully try to sabotage the work of others, or possibly destroy documents or their own work product because they don’t want the company to have it, or the manager to take credit for it. I don’t understand this whatsoever.
Several years ago, I worked for an organization that was wrought with toxicity. People were horrible to each other. Leadership was secretive, immoral and unethical. Rumor-milling, bitching and drama were the norm. I found myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of accountability and the lack of alignment between the values posted on our walls and accepted behavior and performance. Why was this even allowed? One of the senior leaders said it best: “We all have choices.”
Yes, we do.
If you choose to stay in your current role with your current company, with all of the things that you disagree with, stop complaining. Stop the drama. Stop fault finding. Stop blaming others. Look at yourself. Be disciplined enough to be self-aware, self-reflective, and accountable. Your fits of rage and the words you spew ultimately reflect more poorly on you. Sure, you could get in the last word and hurt others in your revenge. What does this accomplish? I’ll tell you: Nothing. Nothing except a sad tale that others tell. (Remember the "Who's coming with me?" scene from Jerry Maguire? Yeah…. Don’t do that.)
If you choose to stay, accept what it is, and continue to put in your best effort in influencing the positive change you believe is right for the employees and the business. And do so with joy in your heart. You are not a victim of your work circumstances. You can, in fact, choose to engage with a positive attitude and encourage others to do the same.
And if you choose to leave your current position – for whatever reason – leave well. Don’t burn bridges. (After all, it’s a small world. Word gets around if you’re a pill.) Don’t make it your duty to write a long dissertation about everything that’s wrong with the company, the boss, your supervisor, your team, other employees, etc. The words you choose are a reflection of YOU and your character. Take what you have learned, and use it to help refine who you are as an HR professional and as a person.
People, there is enough negativity in the world right now. We each have the ability to choose the thoughts we indulge, our behaviors and our response to others and our circumstances. No one can make you do anything. It is your choice. If you are indulging negative thoughts, which lead to negative behaviors, stop it. Please. Stop.
Your choices are a reflection of your character.
Think about that.
Your choices are a reflection of your character.
Who are you? How do you want others to perceive you? How do you want others to feel after interacting with you? What legacy are you leaving? What do you want to be remembered by?
Whatever your answers are to those questions, leave in a manner that agrees with them.