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2023: to stay or go

Posted on January 4, 2023
Image of two illustrated feet with three arrows in front, indicating a decision is needed to determine which direction to take.

Each new year, plenty of people set professional goals and aspirations. Similar to personal resolutions, some will follow through on those – many will not. A common goal is to get a new job. Before you add this to your list in permanent ink, let’s talk about it.

Let’s look at reasons you may have considered for leaving:

  • It’s a dead-end position with no room for growth
  • Your boss or manager is unsupportive or worse puts up barriers to growth
  • You don’t like your position any longer, you do not feel challenged, or the position has changed and many responsibilities or tasks do not align with your career goals
  • The company is not doing well financially
  • The company is engaging in practices that do not align with your values
  • There has been a lot of turnover
  • You have too many responsibilities and not enough time to complete your work, i.e., you are exhausted
  • You’re not paid enough

These are all good reasons to consider making a change. But before you commit to looking elsewhere, have you scheduled a meeting with your manager to discuss how you feel? Your manager may be able to shift some things to enhance your situation. This could even include a salary bump. However, before you do that, take some time to think about reasons you should stay, which might include:

  • You like your manager and/or the people you work with
  • You are making good money
  • With some training, there could be opportunities for growth, or you might be up for a promotion in six months
  • The company has a good tuition reimbursement plan
  • You need additional time to build your resume before you can seek out other opportunities
  • There are potential changes at the company that might benefit you

Once you have a list of the reasons to leave and the reasons to stay, think about your career trajectory. What should be your next step? Use the Career Matrix I developed to identify skill gaps. You may need to speak with your mentor, and if you do not have one, then find one. A mentor is a great resource, especially when it comes to helping you plot out your career trajectory. They can even help you develop talking points to speak with your manager.

Now that you have gone through this exercise, you will be able to speak about the positives of staying, while also exploring reasons to consider leaving. Remember, this conversation should be one designed to deliver a positive outcome. You do not want to go into such a meeting pointing fingers or to play the blame game. You never want to burn any bridges!

Ultimately, you want to position yourself for success – today – and a year from now. You can achieve this by thinking strategically and utilizing your network to gather all the information you need, further build connections to either remain where you are or move on to another company. However, do not shoot yourself in the foot by reacting to your current situation impetuously. Always keep the long game in sight. When you react, you typically reduce your opportunities versus opening the door to a wider array of possibilities.

Best of luck!


Anne Converse Willkomm
Associate Dean, Graduate College
Associate Teaching Professor, Dept. of Communication, College of Arts & Sciences
Posted in professional-development-career-tips