If you don’t like blah blah blah, leave.

Some pretty tough talk from the You The User blog basically states that if your job isn’t making you happy, excited, engaged, challenged, etc., then it’s time to walk out the door.

Most reactions were along the lines of “you must not have kids”, or “that’s fine if your job is a plaything”.

The thing is, Matt (Matthew hates being called Matt, apparently) is in large part correct. So while it does tend to engage the automatic-eye-rolling mechanism in my brain, there’s something valuable here to investigate.

Imagine one semantic tweak to his list. Instead of

If you aren’t being challenged in your job – leave.

I read it as

If you aren’t being challenged in your job – What are you still doing there?

And rather than

If you think you are successful – leave and find something or somewhere where you aren’t. When you become successful again – leave again.

I see

If you think you are successful – why aren’t you looking for somewhere you aren’t?

Then, rather than the “15 commandments of walking out in a huff”, we have some serious points to consider.

This way, if the answer is “I can’t get another job” or “I need this paycheck”, you at least have a graceful way to beg out of the discussion. However, you’re most likely wrong. I don’t meet many people these days who leave a job, never to find another source of income.

This idea of being a free agent was impressed on me by a dear friend. And the idea is career- (and life-) changing, because instead of a wage slave, you’re free to be the absolute best. If you’re undervalued, underused, or underappreciated, you can be confident that it you can go be the best somewhere else. Why settle for less if you don’t have to?

The trick is realizing you don’t have to. Let me share one piece of wisdom that this friend gave to me in my darkest hour:

If you feel like you are trapped in your job, you’re not, and it really is probably time to leave.

Life is too short to not soak up every challenge. And as I’ve come to learn, it’s also too short to spend in a job you hate but fear to lose.

And unless you work for the government, if you hate your job, you’re going to lose it sooner than you think.

So yes, the post may sound like it’s being dictated from an ivory tower, but there’s a solid foundation beneath that tower. My advice is that if you find yourself disagreeing violently, you may want to give some thought to your current situation.