By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
There is such intense pressure in the job market today that just about anyone with a job is truly holding on for dear life. Some sectors remain resilient — technology, telecom, and healthcare — but many worry their job is one phone call away from disappearing.
Even if you are fairly confident in your current job and your industry, do you know what would make you actually quit your job?
Despite the tendency of Latinas to be some of the most tenacious and persistent workers on the planet, quitting a job is not so much about you but the job, the company, the boss, or the work environment. If you are happy with your job, congratulations! But regardless of how satisfied you are now, create your “walk away list” with the key factors that would make your leave a job.
Here are some important considerations:
The company is acting in unethical, unlawful ways. Even if you are not the CEO of a company, once a company’s reputation is tainted in a scandal your future employers will look to see when you were there and whether it coincides with the dates that involved the scandal. Don’t take the chance that you will inevitably get asked how your job was impacted or how you could have done something or whether you noticed anything was off track.
The job you have is no longer encouraging you to learn new skills, new technologies or new business strategies. If you’re not doing at least a couple of things that absolutely challenge you each year, then your job is making you irrelevant in the job market.
There are plenty of jobs today that did not exist 20 years ago — web designer, social media strategist, corporate blogger, etc. Take a look at your job and ask if you think it will remain relevant in the future. Even if your boss does not care about new strategies for your work, you can make it more challenging in some way. If not, you can certainly stay but keep in mind how vulnerable you are to a sudden change in the job market by letting your skills become less relevant.
Your boss has actively thwarted your opportunity for advancement. Sometimes you begin to notice that everyone except your boss really thinks you do an outstanding job. For some reason, he or she keeps making your annual evaluations less positive than what you expect — even after meeting all the performance objectives set the year before.
While you can sit there and analyze the situation ad nauseam — “maybe he’s insecure, maybe she doesn’t notice my work,” — stop! It is not your role to be a therapist to your boss! He or she should be your best advocate because if you look good, he or she looks good. Period. If they are not eager to see you get promoted, your career will likely stall and you’ll find it more awkward each year to keep explaining your lack of advancement.
You have hit the glass ceiling because of institutionalized racism or sexism or both. If you find that there are no other Latinas in your work environment above a certain level or if you notice they don’t stick around for very long, you may be discovering that your employer still hasn’t addressed institutionalized prejudice that will make it tough to advance.
You may want to take on the hard battle of breaking through the glass ceiling and by all means it is worth trying. The reality, however, is that it may be much easier to change the organization from the outside through advocacy groups and community awareness than from your job inside the organization.
Even in tough times there are reasons to quit your job — especially if you can plan your exit carefully.
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™.