Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

Last blog from Bangkok. Getting ready to get out of here. I always love visiting good friends in new areas of the world, and have had a great time with a lifelong friend here. And it always makes me realize something. No matter how different things are, people are quite similar. And the same joys and sorrows affect people around the world.

So what does this have to do with a wine job blog? The answer is, it doesn't matter where you are, you still have to deal with the same things. Many times I work with people who have gotten their dream job and later find out that they are miserable at the company. And they ask me, should they stay in their position or leave to find a better situation.

This is a very difficult question. My biggest goal wherever I am is that I'm happy. But I may not always be immediately happy, or I may have been very happy and something has changed. I've been fortunate to work for great supervisors and with great colleagues. I've also been in situations where I knew from the get go that it wasn't the right environment for me.

If you are in a job that has many qualities that you want, but lacks a true need of yours, it's time to figure out if you should go. And timing is everything. The wine industry is an agricultural one. The business cycle closely follows the growth and harvest of the grapes, and in turn the making and shipping out of the finished wine. For production positions, the timing of starting and ending a position is critical. This time of year is when wineries have a lull, where management looks at positions and when employees look for other opportunities. Up until July things are in flux and people leave for new jobs. Once harvest hits, it is almost unthinkable to leave until harvest is over. For administrative positions, the hiring cycle is less tied to the wine harvest. So those positions are tied closer to the fiscal year of the winery and with the health of the company.

So, as long as the timing is okay, should you leave? With the industry now being made up of both small boutique wineries and large corporations, there are more opportunities to change the management style that you work for. If you are unhappy, decide your exit strategy. This could be training a subordinate to take on your responsibilities. It could also be talking with your supervisor about career growth opportunities, and discussing future opportunities within the company. It could also be setting a "drop dead" date, of which you must have found a new position or you are prepared to stick with your current job until the timing is right again.

But what if you are completely miserable. If you can't face going to work in the morning, you need to do anything you can to find a new position. You need to get that resume written and be searching job boards daily. Your own happiness is much more important than anything else, so do what you need to do to help yourself.

But if you are not happy, but can stick it out, sometimes that is the best approach. Often time has a way of working things out. The cause of your unhappiness may suddenly be removed--a cranky coworker leaves, a corporate initiative is redefined, or you are finally recognized for your contributions. Having lived through all of these scenarios in the past, and finding better opportunities within the same company--I can say it was worth sticking it out.

But then I hit a brick wall at that company, and knew I had to leave. And now once again I'm happy with work--and my company is everything I had wanted.

Being half-way around the world the problems people face are the same as yours, and we're all trying to make the best decisions. Weigh the options, look at the timing, and then decide the path forward.

Next up when back in the US: Keeping things completely confidential when you are job hunting.

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