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There are plenty of potential pitfalls when it comes to the realm of work. Many folks have jobs solely for the salary or stock options. Others feel stymied when it comes to promotions and raises. Again, the variables are all over the place. For example, what do you do when you want to move on but your employer is pressuring you to stay? Or your stock options make it so you would take a huge financial hit if you leave your job.

This may sound like an uncommon scenario but it happens far more often than people imagine. You feel it’s time to move on. You may have even gotten an offer from another employer. But your current boss is adamant about convincing you to stay or your stock options make it impossible for the next company to come close to your total compensation. Now what?

Scenario #1: You Feel Certain About Leaving

In some cases, you might feel disrespected. Perhaps the commute is too long. Maybe your co-workers are not for you. You’re bored out of your mind and know you can do something more meaningful or impactful.  In other words, you’ve already made up your mind. For your overall well-being, you must move on. In the interest of not burning bridges, it makes sense to take a meeting with your employer. Thank them for their continued interest, explain your perspective, and leave the job without acrimony (if possible). Pledge to make the transition smooth and friendly.

Scenario #2: You Might Be Interested in Staying 

Take some solo quiet time to contemplate. Get your mind clear on why you wanted to leave in the first place. Ask yourself if you could be happy staying if some of these reasons are promptly addressed. Can you create a new role for yourself in the current company? Then, meet your employer. Your meeting goals would differ from #1 above. Firstly, give your boss time and space to make their pitch. If they want to work things out with you, well… hear them out.

Take notes and formulate follow-up questions. Agree on a follow-up deadline and then use that time to make a decision that feels best for you. It’s important that you have a good relationship with your employer, you may need them as a reference down the road. But remember, the top priority is your own well-being.

Scenario #3: You Want to Stay 

Your reasons for leaving could be about everything except preference. You like your job, your co-workers, and the commute. But something else is a deal-breaker. It could be the salary, the commute, or the lack of paid time off. Maybe you would like a higher salary and/or the option to work from home flexibility. By informing your employer that you’re looking elsewhere or perhaps have gotten an offer, they are faced with the reality of losing you.

In this scenario, it’s more negotiation than bribery but the spirit is sort of the same. You are valuable. Your time and energy are valuable. Sometimes, it requires an unusual form of motivation for others to see this more clearly.

How To Still Enjoy Your Job — Regardless of Which Scenario Plays Out

The key is personal integrity. It should go without saying that the working life is profit-based and thus, can be cutthroat. Even so, you are still in charge of your own responses, choices, and actions. Whether you’re moving on, thinking about it, or open to staying, focus on what is within your control. But still to the basics. Show up on time. Give your best. Treat others with respect. It’s the right thing to do and in your self-interest as you never know if one of your co-workers may be able to connect you to an opportunity in the future.  If it’s clear to them that you’re disinterested, not motivated and not performing to your capability that will make them reluctant to refer you to an opportunity in the future.  From there, no matter how long you stay at this particular job, you can feel confident that you’ve done your part to succeed — on all levels.

Needless to say, all of the above is easier said than done. Many emotions get stirred up around the topic of work. To help you manage those emotions while succeeding in your career, it can be very helpful to work with a therapist. Please get in touch with me if you’d like more support as you navigate this phase of your life.

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Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret which offers counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the Bay Area and online across California.