When to Flee
There are times when it makes no sense to stay in an organization. I've met people who've spent years trying to change the unchangeable when their best option would have been to move to a better environment. These are some indicators that it might be wise to plan an escape:
- Your personality does not resemble that of the folks who get promoted. (This assumes, of course, that you want a promotion.) There are places that favor the gregarious and an introvert's chances are remote. Is it impossible that they will ever promote the latter? No, but it is unlikely.
- The organization has questionable ethics. Unless the misbehavior was an aberration in an otherwise admirable group, you'll want to leave while your reputation and character are still intact.
- It is apparent that you will be excluded because of your race, sex, national origin, color, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. This is a very difficult call. After all, they hired you so you don't want to rush to conclude that they won't promote you. In most circumstances, there are also internal as well as governmental offices that can help to provide redress if you are a victim. There are times, however, when it is better to put your energy into an escape than into a lengthy determination of whether the organization is bigoted.
- You are a victim of burn-out, boredom or extreme frustration and a new challenge would be welcome. Before concluding that leaving is the only option, see if such an opportunity exists or could exist - some opportunities can be created - within your current organization.
- There is a genuinely attractive position elsewhere. This can be the toughest scenario of all because you are forced to leave your comfort zone. My current situation may not be perfect, you reason, but at least I know the routines and who's a friend and who's a devil. My suggestion is to dedicate a renewed passion to either choice. If you decide to stay, then devote more energy and creativity to your job. You should certainly do so if you secure a new position. And if you cannot possibly conceive of doing so in your current job, that in itself is a sign that it is time to flee.