While traveling from Charlotte NC to Rochester NY, I met a woman in the seat next to me and we talked about her career. It turns out she has been working for the same organization for 35 years, most of that in the same job. She has six more years until she wants to retire. The question she is pondering is “Is it time to leave my job? Do I stay even though something is missing?”

She has not gotten a raise in years because she is at the top of her range or pay scale. With the economy, many organizations have had little to no movement in their salary ranges for jobs in years.

It is clear she is torn about what to do. The lack of financial rewards (pay increases) in her job troubles her. A few years back she contemplated leaving the organization to do something else, but decided the economy was too shaky to take such a bold step. Now she believes she should ride it out – every additional dollar she makes will help boost her pension.

She shared that she could take a promotional job opportunity in the organization at one of the other locations – one that is closer to home. She currently commutes 40 minutes to work. I asked her why she had not done that. She said:

  1. The person who would be her boss at the other location was someone she did not want to work for because they often disagreed with one another. The boss she currently has is easier to work for even though he has not stepped up to support her efforts to be recognized and rewarded for her work.
  2. She did not want to leave her co-workers because there was a family camaraderie and that was important to her.

I commended her for looking at the situation from all angles. The reasons people leave jobs are most often because of a poor relationship with their manager and a bad fit culturally. The company either lets them go or a little voice inside them asks – “Is it time leave?” – and they do so on their own.

Money is not the key motivator for leaving a job, which is why she is still there. While she may want more compensation/pay, ultimately the reason people stay is because of their relationship with their boss and positive work environment work environment.

If either of these too factors are not working well for you, think about how you can either improve them or perhaps it is time to leave your job and find a place for your remaining work life and make it enjoyable.