Is it time for you to leave?

Change can be hard. Even as someone who consistently challenges the status quo and works to optimize the situation for your team and for those you serve, you can run into burnout when resistance from others is consistently in your path. How do you know when it's time for you to tough it out, versus when it is time for you to go? While far from comprehensive, here are some questions you can ask yourself when considering a change in work or affiliation.

1) Do you feel like you routinely have to hide what actually matters to you?  Living in a land of cognitive dissonance is a set up for burnout. In real estate, I felt constantly tempted to construct an image of myself that felt inauthentic, like I had to play a role that didn't fit my character. As a youth pastor, there were hot-button issues I had to keep close to my chest lest the church leadership react. Every time I said something remotely controversial, it meant conversations with parents and my pastor. Interactions with the kids were fun and I saw growth and shifting paradigms, but there was the felt pressure to not let TOO much of myself show through. If your team doesn't have your back to let you be you and say what matters (in a constructive way), it's probably time to look into alternatives. 

2) Is there safe space for questions? Every team or group has guiding beliefs and principles. Some of these may be up for reconsideration, some may be set. Yet I've never known any questions too dangerous to talk about. If you are unable to even gently ask questions and voice concerns without backlash, it might be time to go. Be aware of how you contribute to the atmosphere of your team, however, as we are often communicating things unintentionally. If you truly want what is best for those around you, your questions matter. See what you can do to create safe space for questions and take stock of your team's ability to wrestle through questions. 

3) How are you talking about your experiences?  Complaining often sneaks in through a side door. We don't have control over others, but we can shift our perspective. Is your attitude toward your work or life in the dumps? Regardless of what you do, it will be time for an attitude adjustment. Following this, you can choose to remain where you are with a renewed perspective, or you can choose to move on. Take stock on whether the issues you face will remain in your life after your departure, what you are moving towards and what you are completing. How you talk about your work or circumstances isn't always a sign you need to move on, but like all symptoms show there is an issue beneath the surface needing to be addressed. Look in the mirror and trust yourself to clearly make the right choice. 

There may come a time where you need to relocate and change your scene. The key is knowing the answer to the question: Is it time for me to leave?