Should I stay or should I go?


Respondents to our on-going job satisfaction survey come from many different industries. About 90% of the respondents are currently employed. Their titles range from C-level officer to SVP, VP, GM, and on down the organizational hierarchy. A fair amount of respondents are involved in sales, finance, and legal professions.

On balance, they are surprisingly satisfied with their jobs and can give specific reasons why, But they can also imagine how their professional lives could be better.

This ability to imagine that things could be better is actually hardwired into much of life on earth and certainly into homo sapiens. Daniel Goleman (“Emotional Intelligence”) describes the workings of the limbic brain that allegedly only has three basic urges: safety, dominance and adventure.

In other words, in any situation requiring a choice we will generally operate from one of those nodes of motivation. Safety, for example, might require us to freeze and stay where we are even if we are uncomfortable. Or, it might require that we run for our lives, depending on the situation.

Dominance may require that we rise to the challenge and fight back. Adventure might dictate that we try something new because we are bored.

All of these motivations can be seen in the workplace, of course. But the question is how conscious are we of why we do what we do? Self-awareness is supposedly what sets humans apart but it is not always switched on.

Dan Resendes is Chief Consulting Officer at the Barrett Group. Resendes tells us that often career changers are fleeing a negative situation with the boss.

Interestingly, our on-going job satisfaction survey indicates that this is one of the most negative aspects respondents cited. The statement “I admire the executive management’s ethical and commercial values” attracted more disagreement than agreement.

At the Barrett Group we help career changers reflect on whether they are running away from something or running toward something better.

Part of our Clarity Program includes a Personal Strategic Plan that helps clients define in some detail the situation they would like to be in professionally in two to five years. This clarity of vision is critical to achieving success professionally as well as in life in general.

Asked about what they would change, respondents to our on-going job satisfaction survey gave an interesting mix of answers that can be qualified as negative or positive as well as more emotional or rational in character.

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