Yeap you read that right. I still can’t even believe that it happened.

It wasn’t until I was completing my tax returns the next year that I realized I had 3 W2s for 2014.

And I sure as heck didn’t plan on doing it, but that year I learned a whole lot about myself and wanted to share it so it can help others in their current jobs or job quests.

1.       Our Physical Work Environment Matters

I didn’t think that the environment (lighting, chairs, etc.) mattered. After all, it’s just a job. We’re in, we do our work and we’re out that’s it right. We don’t sleep there, or spend any extended time there so it shouldn’t matter right? Wrong.

Access to natural light, view or some greenery, etc can have a significant impact on the productivity of the workers. Being in the basement, engrossed in the buzzing of cooling servers and under a fluorescent light that reflected from a white table was okay at first. But after 3 months, I literally hated coming to work. I would walk in at 6 am and immediately couldn’t wait for it to be 5 pm so I could leave.

2.       If it doesn’t feel right don’t try to talk yourself into it (Trust your instincts)

I interviewed with a few of my possible coworkers when I was going for one of the jobs, but something about their responses to my questions didn’t jive well. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it but I knew that I wouldn’t get along with 2 of the folks I interviewed with. But in true ‘I can do anything and excel anywhere despite the conditions’ attitude, I ignored the feelings.

Big mistake.

From the first moment they showed me to my desk on the first day, before I even sat down, I knew I had messed up. Everything I thought would have happened did (to some extent). And the two interviewers I knew I wouldn’t enjoy working with? Yep, that happened too.

I had an annoying/strange but cordial, relationship with them. Score 1 for instincts, zip for my brain.

3.       At some point, they can’t pay you enough to die slowly

we might like the money and can imagine all the things we can do with more, but there is a point (you may not know what exactly it is yet) when they can’t pay you enough to stay there and slowly die. I found my point, where no amount of money, flex hours or savings accounts could entice me to stay one more minute after accepting a new offer.

4. Reorgs happen and you might not get to stay with who you like (Don’t take a job because you love your would-be boss).

It’s great if you and your manager are friends and have a great relationship. But don’t nonchalantly dismiss if another company or team gives you an offer you can’t refuse out of loyalty. Re-orgs happen all the time and your favorite manager could get shipped off to another team.

I know because two days after I started one of the jobs they had a massive reorg and my favorite manager (at least who I was looking forward to working with) that brought me to the company was booted out. And then I was stranded.

5.       If you aren’t watching, you can stagnate

At one of the jobs that year, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t learning anything new at this job until I went to update my resume and linked in and had nothing to add. Nada. Zip.

Even now I can’t find anything to say that was particularly beneficial. I was well paid, but underutilized which did nothing for my marketability, just months wasted of my youth. Bottom line: if you aren’t paying attention and challenging yourself, you can ruin your career by becoming stagnant. Luckily, even if you do, you can fix it.

6.       The one year rule doesn’t exist. If you have to leave do it.

People will want to know why you left, but they won’t care much.

Everyone tries to follow the unwritten rule of staying at least 1 year, but I’m proof you don’t have to silently suffer to get to that imaginary number.

After I left the job I had for 9 months I thought no one would hire me with that big ole blemish on my resume. But even though every single person who interviewed me afterward asked why I left, after I told them they agreed they would have done the same.

Bottom line: People understand that things happen and we must do what works for ourselves and family and that doesn’t always follow a timeline.

7. If you’re unhappy, you can try to hide but your company can probably feel it too

We like to think that we can keep our poker face on at all times, but the side-eyes, the long sighs, and lack of engagement are all signs to the boss that you have checked out of the job. People can tell so make your move quick.

If you are ready to go, then no harm no foul, but if you are still looking, then fight the urge to get into the ‘senioritis’ mode while you keep looking. You don’t want to get kicked out before you are ready to leave.

8. Corporate burnout can happen before you finish your 90 day grace period

If you have to fight with teammates for everything, you’ll burn out and stop caring altogether. The fire and passion for doing good work can consume you if your work conditions try to stifle it.
Years after leaving one organization that had a particularly acrimonious environment, I am still carrying around the battle wounds of trying effect change in an organization that didn’t want to be better.

My energy and exuberance for working hard, long into the night, and on my personal time has also left the building, and now while I’m willing to work hard, I have learned when to know my boundaries.

No job is worth me getting stressed or sick over. No job is worth me coming home and being a jerk to my kids and husband. At the end of the day, I’m paid to do what my manager requests.

Underlying lesson

There is so much more to work than just the job (especially working in corporate America). But fear of losing a job, or succumbing to the ‘need’ of a new one can cloud our judgment and make us end up in situations that are contrary to our personality and mental well being.

So what are your pain points where if you took a job for those reasons may land you right back to job hunting?

Is it your environment? The people you work with? Are the opportunities available? Now’s the time to think about it. Otherwise, you could end up walking into a new job with despair rather than excitement.

Ask me how I know lol.

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