Frustrated With Your Job? Know Your Bottom Line

Think about what trade-offs you are and aren’t willing to make, and what you value the most.


When you're coming home from work frustrated or angry every day, thinking about quitting, there's something that's essential to figure out before making any big decisions:

Figure out your bottom line.

[See 21 Things Hiring Managers Wish You Knew.]

That means you need to get really clear on what things matter most to you, what trade-offs you are and aren’t willing to make, and what you value the most.

For instance, maybe you can’t stand your manager but love having a short commute, and you’d rather keep that commute even if your manager is part of the deal. Or maybe you’ll decide that you’re willing to triple your commute if it means getting a new boss.

[See 6 Questions to Ask Your New Boss.]

Or maybe you find your work boring and unsatisfying, but you're allowed to work from home several days a week and you love that flexibility more than you dislike the work. Or maybe you'd give up that flexibility in a heartbeat if you were doing work that you loved.

There are no right answers here--it’s just about getting really clear in your own mind about what matters most to you.

Often, simply determining what you value the most can mitigate your frustration and make the situation a lot more tolerable.

And if you determine that your bottom line isn't being met after all, that's when you can make a clear-headed and rational decision to look for ways to move on. But you'll have done it deliberately and thoughtfully rather than acting rashly and regretting it later.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development. She now teaches other managers how to manage for results.


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