Letting Go

Six Degrees Growing Group: Know when to hold and when to fold

Know when to fold
                    Know when to fold

There are so many times in life where we read advice such as: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not worthy!” or “Stand up for yourself at work!” These are all very nice tropes but when put into real-world applications, they can and do often lead us astray. We all know that there are times at work when you are mad as hell and can’t do anything about it! We simply have to grin and bear it.

But where is the point where we need to simply say, “This is it-I’ve had enough!” Well, there are times in the past where that person has been me! I can attest to the real-world application of knowing when it is expedient to simply grin and bear it and when it’s time to move on. Recently, I did experience a job upheaval where I found myself at the point where there was no compromise in my position.

I had been working for lower pay in a rewarding job, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. The hope was that I could continue to stay until the small church where I worked was going to move and I would simply leave or renegotiate terms at some point. There were many areas where I did simply offer my writing and marketing service to the organization for no extra charge.

However, when the board appointed someone in a new position, there came a time when I simply took the already completed letter of resignation from my file and pushed SEND. I had found there is a certain set of criteria that should be met when facing an important career move.

Criteria to meet: 

  • Document your work! Back up with proof that there is more than just bluster to the words that you brandish about regarding your services.
  • Keep your core principles intact. You do not need to comprise your integrity through bowing and scraping to someone who has obviously targeted you or your position. In my case, the charge was something regarding my work hours, which was ludicrous. It was an obvious and cheap power play by someone who was trying to score points.

Another factor in my decision was that the job did not pay enough to warrant making a stand when my own dignity and integrity came into question. My satisfaction came in knowing that to replace my position, they required at least two or three people to immediately step in and function as replacements.

The Bogey Principle applies

There is a certain point in life where we have to know our own value. Such was the case with one of my favorite movie stars, Humphrey Bogart. Bogey once wrote that he had something called “F You” Money. When the studio boss would harass him, he was able to simply walk away. I realize not all of us have that luxury of keeping a stash of “FU” Money available.

However, when we realize there is no going back, it’s best to plan accordingly. Keep these factors in mind when making the decision-should I stay or should I go?

Factors for making the decision: Stay or Go? 

  • Your ethics and moral values, your sense of decency and honesty are something that you own and that no employer can alter.
  • Know when to walk, and when to negotiate terms. In my case, there was an attempt to undermine my own sense of ethical values, as well as to apply pressure regarding the work I had done. This new employee simply did not understand what I did, couldn’t comprehend the value of my contributions; and was not only ignorant but bragged about their power over me. That gave me a clear choice to just say “No” and walk away.
  • Work with Compromise in mind. When it’s clear someone is working to undermine your integrity or simply ‘playing games’ with your work ethics; know that it’s time to fold up the tent and move on.
  • When faced with challenges- document everything. Then talk to some trusted friends, preferably not connected with the office or organization, to make sure that you are not looking at a situation that can be rectified or one where you may be taking offense too easily.
  • If you do see that there is difficulty, write it down and have a resignation ready to go…that doesn’t mean you should send it! I held a resignation letter for over a year at one job until I knew the time was right to go. Keep the letter in a private folder or email file until you need it. If and when you need it fast, you can simply press SEND.
  • Work with the Bogey principle in mind. Bogart had his “F You Money” ready, so that when the Big Studio bosses began to pressure him, he could simply walk away. This is always a good plan!

When you realize that you have left a job that has been giving you too much grief in your personal life, or is simply making you miserable, nine times out of ten you will be able to look back and realize that you did the right thing. Leaving a job where you go after assessing the situation rationally, and not in a fit of anger or after one incident, will let you know that there are better things in store for you if you plan it out.  You need to keep in mind that the best things in your life may not mean working in a place that is compromising your values and jeopardizing your health. In the end, planning and knowing your core values will guide you in the right direction every time.

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