Career Clash – “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Written by Amy Farr

Amy is the founder of Loft, a nifty little Auckland based agency. Embarrassingly excitable, and with a real passion for the recruitment industry, Amy brings energy and warmth to the recruitment process. Lover of 80's power ballads, coffee, and days at the beach, and fancies herself as a bit of a gypsy.
This indecision’s buggin’ me…


6 weeks ago I made the announcement that I was leaving.

Yesterday, I packed up the last of my things, handed over my keys, and walked out of the door for the last time.

The decision to leave was a painful one. I had the family to think about (the team), the mutual friends I might not be able to see anymore (my clients), not to mention the financial implications.

And then there is the attachment, and the fear of the unknown.

Will I be OK on my own? What if no one else will want me? And it’s not like things were awful between us. It’s just… the passion is gone.


If I go there will be trouble…


The lead up to this has seen me going back and forth in my mind more than Uncle Dave at the all you can eat buffet. One minute I’m decided – ‘Yes, I’m 100% leaving’. Nek minute, ‘No! I made a commitment; I will be here until I retire’. There have been moments where this decision making process has proven me to be flakier then a 99.

Eventually though, with some encouragement from a few loved ones, and after listening to a particularly inspirational podcast (I’m a person that makes important life decision off the back of movies, books, podcasts etc – I got rid of my house and moved my family into a housebus after watching Captain Fantastic), I threw myself all in to the ‘eff this I’m off’ camp.

As hard as it was going to be to leave, and as much as I felt like a treacherous, ungrateful and potentially delusional self-saboteur, I had to acknowledge that The Clash lyric absolutely applied to my situation here.. ‘if I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double’. The thought of leaving made me literally sick in my mouth, but the thought of staying was far worse.

Now we’ve all quit jobs before. This was by no means my first Dear John. I left my old boss from the job at the garden centre café without as much as a backward glance. But quitting a job that you hate, or resigning because you’re moving out of town, or your boss is a knob like Jan at the cafe and sends your naive self out for a glass hammer and a long stand, is not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about leaving a team that you have come to think of as family, a role that you have been 100% invested in, that you saw yourself being in for many years, but that you know in your heart isn’t going to force you to challenge your limits. It felt a little like I was asking for a divorce.


And if I stay it will be double…


Leaving your comfort zone is hard, and it’s one of the major reasons people stay in situations they are unhappy in for so long. As a recruiter, it can be particularly hard to leave a desk that you have worked for years to build. You’ve developed exclusive client relationships, you’ve become an expert in your niche area and you’ve got a back-catalogue of sales stories to share bigger than the entire works of Elton John.

You are billing consistently and perhaps easing back a bit on the BD as you reap the rewards of all that leg work you did in years 1 and 2. You have done exactly what every successful recruiter needs to do, and built yourself a thriving business within a business. Walking away from that is going to be really, really hard. Starting a new desk elsewhere, perhaps from scratch, that’s going to be a lot of work! And maybe, at least initially, a hit to the old piggy bank too.

I meet so many people who are desperately unhappy in their jobs, but aren’t doing anything about it. They know they want more, but for whatever reason they are too afraid to make the changes they need to make. I know first hand how easy it is for self doubt and fear of the unknown to take over and leave you feeling trapped right where you are.

Being beige.

The truth is, if you don’t push out of your comfort zone, take risks and embrace things that are going to be hard, ultimately all you will ever get is some version of average. I want to coin a very relevant cliché here and suggest that life is just too short, and you spend far too much of it at work, to be unhappy in what you do.

I think the scariest thing of all should be the idea that by staying in your comfort zone and not pushing through to that point of serious discomfort, you might be missing out on a multitude of alternate realities where you live the life of your dreams. Anyone that you admire for being super successful , whether it be in work, sport, just life in general – has gotten there by making themselves really uncomfortable at some point. More likely they do that multiple times per day.


Should I cool it or should I blow?


Some tips for if you are ready to leave the job that is comfortable and good, for something that might be really hard and scary, but GREAT are:

  • Identify what it is that you really want to do. Be bold, don’t be the one holding yourself back. We often set the ceiling of what we are aiming for far too low.
  • Take action. Don’t put it off. The time will never be right. Identify what steps you need to take to get the role you really want and then take those steps. Do you need to take a course, or meet with a rec2rec? Get a career coach? Build a website?
  • Handing in your resignation is the hardest part. And it’s not as bad as you think it will be.
  • Not all agencies will march you out on your ear. I expected I would probably be put on garden leave since I was starting my own business, but instead worked out 6 weeks notice and sourced my replacement.
  • It’s going to be emotional. There will be times when you doubt your decision but remind yourself of the end game in these moments. Have a quick look at that website you are building and your doubts will be replaced with excitement.
  • Block out any negativity. Try to avoid speaking to people who you know will express worry, fear or doubt over what you are doing. Remember most people prefer to stay comfortable so they aren’t going to ‘get it’.
  • You will feel like an effing powerhouse. Taking that leap, backing yourself and refusing to settle for anything less then awesome is really empowering. You are going to feel like such a boss when you leave your old self behind, and as Sensei Wu teaches, begin to realise your true potential.

In summary don’t stay in something that doesn’t force you to be your absolute best, just because it’s stable or secure, or because you love the team, or because you might not get paid as well following your passion, or even because you are afraid of putting yourself out there.

I saw a nice little quote (thank you Google) that said:

‘when you step out of your comfort zone you are stepping in to your greatness’.

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