Volume 95: The Grass is Not Always Greener

Everyone gets frustrated at work at times. Everyone has days where the job is more difficult than it needs to be. It doesn’t matter if the job you’re working is your lifelong passion, or just the job or career you landed in, every single person out there has had days like this.RO2

Sometimes, it’s one of your coworkers/employees/managers that’s done something to ruffle your feathers.

Sometimes, it’s a challenge or roadblock in front of you that you just can’t seem to get past on that day.

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with work, you’re just not having a good day, and everything is wrong.

And when these days come, it’s natural to daydream about what life would be like at another company, in another city, or in another industry. I own my own small business, and there are days that I wonder why I put up with the aggravation and headache involved, when I could leave the headache to someone else at a bigger company, and focus on the thing I’m really good at: recruiting.

And then I always come back to earth. Owning my own business allows me an incredible amount of security, and, well, ownership. I control the effort I put in, and therefore, what I take home to provide for my family. If I wanted to take a month off and ride my bike to Alaska, I could do so. There would be consequences, in the form of not billing with clients while I was out, but I can make that choice because I’ve chosen to go into business for myself. I would certainly not have that flexibility and security elsewhere.


For those in the industry, sometimes the daydream is longer-lasting. You’ve worked for a company for a long time, and there’s some issue, or maybe a few issues, that hasn’t/haven’t been resolved, no matter how many times you’ve talked to the people above you.

So, you begin to wonder what else might be out there. You might even call someone here at Oberg and Associates to ask what options might exist. Being curious about what’s out there is natural.

However, and it’s not in my best interest to say so, but the reality is: The Grass is Not Always Greener on the Other Side.

For one thing, many companies give priority and honor to the people that have built up long careers with them. More vacation time and other perks can exist for long-standing employees. (Admitting that these are a dwindling prospect for some, as the nature of big business in the US continues to evolve and unions become more scarce.)

Moving to a new company will reset you to zero. Sure, some hiring managers have some discretion when it comes to things like vacation time, but a lot of companies have pretty firm protocols on this for new people. If there’s a union contract in place, well, you’re definitely taking a cut as the new guy in.

In addition, familiarity has its own value. If you’ve been at a facility for any length of time, you know the facility well. The equipment, the people, and what to expect from the facility and corporate leadership. You know your coworkers intimately, even if you don’t socialize outside of work. You know who you can count on for different projects, and who needs a little extra help.

Moving to a new company will reset you to zero. Sure, you’ll get a good feel for people during the interview process, and if you’ve been around the industry long enough, you can probably get your sea legs in a new environment fairly quickly, but it takes time to build up the kind of familiarity you had in your old home.

And finally, there’s no guarantee that the things that drove you from your old company won’t crop up in a new one.

Even if you address the topics specifically during the interview process, you never truly know how a new company will handle a situation until you’re on board and see it first-hand. And that doesn’t account for leadership changes. A lot of the big companies in our industry have had huge shifts and reorganizations in the past few years, as mergers and acquisitions happen, or just to try to stir the pot to become more profitable.

As these shifts come, you might find that some of those same weeds crop up and take away from how green the grass looked from the other side.


All of that said, I’ve made a long career now, and have successfully run my own firm for almost a quarter century, in helping people find the instance where the grass was greener. It happens every day, and the change you make might be the right one that gets you everything you were looking for.

But, as with most things in life, there’s no guarantee. So, before making a big life change, like changing jobs, I always encourage you to take a moment. Think about whether you might be where you belong, but you’re having a bad day, week, or month, or if the grass might really be greener on the other side.

Bounce the ideas off a spouse or friend, and do your research into a company, city, and industry in advance, and then make the most informed decision that you can. And, as always…

Stay Strong. 

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