Fish Or Cut Bait – When To Stay And When To Go

Every meeting with your long-winded boss feels like nails on a chalkboard. You’ve started fantasizing about working in a drive-thru, and had to physically pinch your mouth closed this morning to stop the words “Ugh, I quit.” from just tumbling out.

Honestly, don’t bother. You’re already saying it…your shoddy performance, slack attendance, and general carelessness as of late speaks loud and clear (if not to you, to EVERYONE at work) that your heart simply isn’t in it. They get it – you are unhappy at your job. But passive aggressiveness will get you nowhere. Whether the answer is to find another job or simply work with the one you have, here are three clues it’s time for you to make a change:

It’s obvious you no longer care.
Unlike the amazing work that got you gold stars at the beginning, anything you have turned in lately is full of careless errors. Um, sorry. You aren’t fooling anyone but yourself. Blatantly careless work a clear sign to your manager that you are either looking for a new job or riding it out as long as you can. You think you are hiding how much you hate your job by doing the bare minimum, right? Think again. Dry clean your interview suits and get your resume together…if you don’t take charge of this situation, I promise your manager will do it for you shortly.

You’ve taken 38 sick days this year.
If you have used so many sick and vacation days that it has become an issue, you are quite literally telling your boss “I don’t want to be here.” Of course, life happens. People do have circumstances that justify significant absences from work. But generally, if your month long “mental health break” doesn’t qualify for short term disability leave, you should probably just quit and get your head on straight. Everyone needs vacations and breaks – it is why they exist in the first place – but at the end of the day, you must at VERY LEAST be present and do the job you were hired to do. I mean, what do you think they are paying you for?

You’ve gotten a bad evaluation, or worse, a formal warning.
If you have gotten a really bad evaluation or a formal warning, take the points they’ve raised about your performance seriously. Whether or not you decide to stay at this job, fix these issues now or I PROMISE you they will come back to haunt you at every job ever after. An important thing to keep in mind: to your employer, a bad evaluation or formal warning means two crucial things: 1. They have given you due notice that they have good reason to fire you, and 2. Their impression is that you are currently a problem employee.

Can you work hard to turn it around? Sure – this may be just the wake up call you needed. Just know that now you not only have to fix your issues, but also perceptions developed through watching your poor past performance. With dedication and focus, you could become your manager’s favorite success story. At worst, you start giving it your all TODAY and are able to leave with your head held high and a recommendation. Next time, hopefully, you’ll be smart enough not to make the same mistakes.

It’s not about staying somewhere just to stay. If your love affair with this “hot” job has fizzled flat, it won’t do anyone any good to stay in it just for the paycheck. You might find adjusting your attitude and quitting bad habits will make THIS job a better place. On the other hand, if you are so over it you can’t function, do yourself and your employer a favor and exit gracefully. You (and they) will be happy you did. 

Getting Divorced? Making It (Or Faking It) At Work

You are exhausted. Heartbroken. Angry and terrified. You are regularly taking calls from your lawyer and dodging death threats from your ex. You look like you slept in your car (oh right, that’s because you did.) And it’s the beginning of a new week…off to work!

It’s a fact: More than half of marriages in the U.S. end in nasty divorces. If you have never been divorced, let me explain it for you. The experience ranks somewhere between being mauled by a tiger and getting run over by a truck. I know, the last thing on your mind right now is your career. But are you really going to let that lying, cheating loser take that away from you too? Screw him.

If you manage the three most common ways divorce can cause issues at work, you can make sure you still have a career when this is all over with. Here is a guide to how divorce can mess up your work life, and what you need to do about it.

Sorry, but go ahead and cancel that getaway with your 22 year old rebound guy. You’ll need every sick and vacation day to cover planned absences and unexpected events.
Divorce invites a brand new set of unwelcome guests on to your calendar. There are the meetings with your lawyer , appointments at court or with a mediator, time to sign and notarize papers, and countless phone calls. (More about that later.)

Trust me, start saving days up now. And if you are a workaholic who thinks vacations are for the lazy and pampered…great. You’ll have plenty of time to obsess about work when you are waiting around in courts and lawyer’s waiting rooms. Bring your laptop.

Your Professional Reputation
Emotional Vomit
Warning: I promise at some point you will feel compelled to blab all the gory divorce drama to anyone who will listen. “How COULD he? Can you believe that jerk?”
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Sure, they all know something is wrong, but why turn yourself into an emotional mess and lose their respect? Think about it this way, if there were a PR crisis at your company, would you handle it by telling some insane story then bursting into tears? No, you would spin the details of the event to succinctly explain it, address it, and move forward. This same principle works really well for managing your personal PR as well. When someone hints around the topic of your divorce, try something like this:
[Address and explain] “Awww…thanks for your concern, Cindy McGossip. Yes, my spouse and I are getting divorced, but we agree it is for the best and are working through the details. [Moving forward]
Thank God I throw myself into my work when I am stressed. Speaking of…are you ready to present your goals for next quarter?” [Smile, exit stage left]

If you need to vent, talk to friends, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or hire a therapist. But when you are at the office, zip it.

Personal Phone Calls
Surprise! It’s a call from your soon-to-be-ex mother-in-law giving her opinion on what your child custody arrangement should look like…You will get plenty of random calls in coming months. Make sure you take them outside or postpone them until you can talk privately. That “quick” call from your ex is almost guaranteed to end in tears or screaming (or both) and iPhone pics of you blubbering through your smeared mascara will be posted on Facebook within seconds.

Your Workday
The Get To Work Routine
I hate to break it to you, but your usual groove will be completely off for a while. You probably can’t sleep, which means once you finally do dose off, the alarm comes like a cruel joke. If you have children, you (and they) will be adjusting to a lot of brand new changes. Visitation, split custody arrangements, a different daycare or after school programs…
You may be late to work or need to leave early more than usual and while “zipping it” is the #1 rule with most people at work, it might be a good idea tell your immediate boss what’s up with you. He or she will likely cut you some slack regarding scheduling issues and time off. At very least it will explain why your eyes are glazing over in meetings and appear to have suddenly gone insane.

Actually Getting Work Done
Your life sucks right now but you still need to get your work done if you want to keep your job. To combat your less then stellar attention, your work routine may temporarily need adjusting too. Use tools and develop processes to make sure you on top of deadlines and can delegate to keep things moving. Let’s be honest, you are kind of a disaster at the moment – there are plenty of tools that can almost think for you so you continue to perform (at least on paper) in your role at work.

Hey, Don’t Forget This Is Temporary
Divorce may be kicking your ass like a bad hangover, but it won’t last forever. Once all the chaos subsides, you will awake one morning to realize your loser ex has been dragging you down all along. Now that you are finally free of the dead weight, your career will take off like it never could when you spent all your free time arguing about how much he hated your mother. Let him keep the cheap bimbo he cheated with, the coffee table, and that bad attitude…you will soon be earning the VP spot at your company and be too busy and too happy to care.