Watching the nation agonise over this question in the recent referendum made me realise that such decisions are never straightforward in any context.

Most of us will face our own professional “Brexit” at some stage in our working life where we wonder if our current job is worth it and start asking ourselves “Should I stay or should I go?”. Maybe you have been in that situation? Maybe you are in that situation now?

I work with many clients as they navigate these decisions, and the inner debate in their heads is no less painful than what we have witnessed on the national stage.

Their “Inner Leave Camp” is fed up and just wants to get out of their current job. It has no idea where it wants to go but can no longer face staying. It convinces them life would be rosier outside and tempts them to think of all the opportunities they could be missing out on!

Meanwhile their “Inner Remain Camp” tries to reason with them – think of the benefits of staying – the salary, the certainty, maybe it will get better?

However the client resolves the dilemma, there are two decisions that generally fail to pay off in the longer term:

  1. Leaving as a protest – to simply get away from something rather than moving towards something better.
  2. Remaining through inertia or fear – thinking that it is safer to stay rather than consciously choosing that as your best alternative.

What both the above decisions do is move the client to act without their own higher interests at heart. They come from anger or fear rather than a positive desire to move forward, develop and contribute… And I have never yet seen that be a recipe for a fulfilling or successful career.

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