Career Libby

Time to Move On

My brother is a commercial diver by trade (helmets not tanks). He has been diving for almost twenty years and working for the same company for the past seven. Last week he just up and quit. He was reluctant to tell my parents and me and my husband about it, feeling it was an irresponsible move, but he did finally tell us. Here’s our collective take on things:

  1. Always do your best. This is something instilled in both my brother and me from birth and the message is usually delivered as, “Don’t do a half-assed job.” When whatever your co-workers or company is doing impedes your ability to do your best, it’s time to move on.
  2. You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and how you receive other people’s interactions with you. If you’ve done all you can to adapt to the inane behavior of others and they continue to encroach on your sanity, it’s time to move on.
  3. Safety is no accident. This is true no matter what, but when you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean responsible for the lives of a five man crew, it transforms from catch phrase to survival tactic. My brother would never be considered lackadaisical, whimsical or frivolous. If he asks you to do something on his boat, you do it or risk an injury to yourself or others. If you’re working with people who do not value your health and well-being, it’s time to move on.
  4. Loyalty is a tricky thing. Loyalty is something you want in a business environment – some level of trust and comfort allows people to settle in and do their best work. It is helpful when building a team and growing an enterprise. But it must also be paired with buckling down, looking out for the company interests and a subordinated ego. If your boss chooses a slacker crony over your hard work and productivity, it’s time to move on.
  5. Your reputation will proceed you. If you work hard, do your best, act in the best interests of the company, and behave like a brand ambassador at all times, people notice you. And if you’re one of the few people behaving this way in your organization, they will notice you even more. If your principles are being compromised, it’s time to move on.

When you have a tried and true work ethic, when you have spent years gaining experience and expertise, when you have treated all your co-workers – those both above and below you in the organization chart – with respect, you can move on. Something else will come along. It would be ideal to have something planned before making a move, but life doesn’t always work like that. Though if you behave in such a way that people want to be associated with you, you won’t have any worries when you finally say, “Enough is enough. It’s time to move on.”

(P.S. Within a week of quitting his job, my brother got a new full-time job, a part-time job AND an offer for a seasonal job. He’s fine and we’re all very proud.)

– Libby Bingham

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