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Pushmi-pullyu or Are You Ready to Leave Your Current Job?

In the Story of Doctor Dolittle, there is a fictitious character called a pushmi-pullyu (pronounced push-me-pull-you) who’s skill was never having to talk with its mouth full as one head would talk while the other ate.  The other thing that a pushmi-pullyu reminds me of is the advice that I have given to various employees, mentees and colleagues regarding when is the right time to change roles.  At the top of my list of advice is: -

Is the push of the old in balance with the pull of the new?

In other words, is the attraction of the new role in balance with your desire to leave the old? As employees, we go through various stages in our career and the level of excitement regarding our current position and employer.  And sometimes we hate the work we are doing, and we don’t like our boss.  When someone is in this “unhappy” phase, there is a great desire to start looking for another role.  And, depending on how much you don’t like your current boss, and we do know that people are more likely to be leaving their bosses then the company itself, (and Quartz did a nice article on this recently - Half of US workers have left a job because they hated their boss)  the attractiveness of a new role can be greater or less.

It is in these times that the pushmi-pullyu principles need to come into focus – and a good mentor or coach should be getting the individual to focus on the push and pull.  With questions like:-

  1. What are the things I don’t like in my current role and will the new role have less of them?
  2. Will your new boss be better than your old boss?  If yes why?
  3. What would have to change in your current role/employer for you to stay?  And if it is money make sure you have a clear view of what you gain and loose – from bonus to timing of when the next pay increase would be.
  4. Have you considered the full "ecosystem" – from colleagues to the social network to after work activities?
  5. What is the change level in your life overall?  Are you looking at changing roles at the time as other major life events?
  6. What would you do if your current boss or employer counter offers?  Another good article to read regarding counter-offers.  From the Savvy Intern - Giving Notice? 5 Things to Consider Before Accepting a Counter Offer

In my experience, the grass can be greener on the other side of the fence but it is not 20 shades greener, and making sure that your decision to move has the right balance of push and pull will help you ensure you make the right decision.

And to the individuals I have coached over the years, my suggestion to them is that these questions are best thought through with a big sheet of paper and a glass of nice red wine.  And if you want to set this to music Meghan Biro published this in Forbes 5 Songs to Sing When You are Considering Leaving your Job.  Cheers 

Article by Mary Sue Rogers

Picture from Dr. Dolittle Movie 1967


Posted On : 22-03-16

Commented by:  Mary Sue

Cynthia - thanks and please sign up for the newsletter if you would like to get future articles.. appreciate your comments

Posted On : 04-04-16

Commented by:  Cynthia

Very sage advice in this article. Particularly liked the 5 songs to sing... Have forwarded this on to others that I know will benefit.

Posted On : 03-04-16

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