Should you Change yourself or Change your Job?

Recently, I have a wave of eerily similar conversations with clients and potential clients.  I’ve discussed the issue with people both during and after training classes.  I’ve spoken with at least two potential clients about it during their initial assessment calls.


They’ve all said something like: “I’m wondering if I need to quit this job…”


Universally, these folks have told me that they feel overworked and overwhelmed.  Stress is high and job satisfaction is mediocre or low.  Typically, they are concerned that company leaders have unrealistic expectations of their performance.


It’s not like I have never heard these sentiments before.  In fact, I wrote about this issue at the end of my eBook Corral Your To-Dos…and don’t rely on your brain – at all.


Here’s an excerpt:


Throughout this book, an unstated hypothesis is made that if you consistently use a to-do system, then you will be able to be productive in a crazy work environment.  And in the majority of cases, this assertion is accurate.  However, it is important to note that there are some job situations that are not sustainable.  You may be held to standards you are unable to meet, work hour expectations that are incongruent with your life priorities, and/or job task requirements that you believe are almost impossible to perform, even with proper training. 


Only you can decide when too much is in fact too much.  Getting organized and managing your to-do items well is an excellent step toward handling workloads that you may have previously thought undoable.  But from time to time, it may not be enough.  Be efficient, be focused, but also be realistic.


…and then I offer four questions to help a person assess the sustainability of their current job situation.


Several years ago, I had a virtual coaching client who was an in-house attorney at a large company.  In our first conversation, she expressed concerns that she may not be able to continue working at her current company for much longer.  Her work hours were excessive, and she still felt like she was disappointing everyone, including herself.


I’ll say to you the same thing I said to her:


There is one thing that will be 100% in common between your current job and your future one:  you.  You will take the same skill sets to your next employer.


I had already reviewed this attorney’s time and task management systems, and she acknowledged that they were lacking.


We could not rule out that the problem was her productivity skills rather than her boss’s unrealistic expectations.  So, we embarked on a coaching project together.


The ending to this story is funny, or at least I think so.


She ended up improving her productivity systems profoundly.  She found that she could handle the workload in much less time and did not need to seek employment elsewhere.


However, she became such a high performer that she was recruited away from the company by one of their vendors a year after we concluded coaching.



Are you doomed to a career of job hopping?


Of course not.  What a silly question for me to ask.


Being systematic, organized, and effective is easier for some personality types than others.




Productivity is a learned skill. Your personality can dictate your preferences, but not necessarily your capacity, for action.


Don’t disrupt your career, your team, and your company unnecessarily.  Avoid quitting your job when there’s a reasonable chance you are going to be in a similarly overwhelming situation in your next position.


Get help.  Read books.  Grow.  Develop.


And, maybe hire a productivity coach.




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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.



  1. allan wight

    Melissa is was a great article. To often people are locked into the thought that it is the job not themselves. As soon as they learn there are no bars on the doors and the company will get along fine without them, only then I think they will change they approach their jobs.
    Change is so very hard for most employees/people. I think the best thing that ever happened to me was the ability to coach young kids while I was still working. Coaching provided the avenue to understand the importance of change. If you can not adapt while coaching a game you will surely loose.
    I can tell you 20 years of coaching I had only 2 poor seasons. Changing mid game or mid season made me very successful.

    thanks for the time.

  2. Janet Barclay

    This is such a great reminder to make sure the problem isn’t within us before we make big changes in our outer world. I once said to someone, “Do you really think you’ll be happier somewhere else?”


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