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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Jul 28

This is HR’s go-to advice for employees who put in their two-week notice, especially if that employee is heading to a competitor:

“Just remember! The grass isn’t always greener!” 

HR is mostly right. I’d say here’s the actual breakdown of ‘greenest’:

  • 50% is actually about the same shade of green. You’re moving to just move. You’ll find the job, the people, the money, everything is almost the same. The only change is the name and maybe the location by a bit.
  • 30% is going to be a nice shade of light brown, meaning the grass isn’t green at all, it’s dead! HR wants to believe this number is higher but it’s not, but it’s high enough to give some folks some pause before making such a big decision.
  • 10% is way greener! Like green M&M green. Dream job green! Everything is better and you’re so happy you made the move. You found your dream job!
  • 10% isn’t grass at all. Someone replaced the grass with some other material, like in Phoenix where grass can’t grow so they pave the front yard and paint it green, or just put in rock and cactus. This is completely something you didn’t expect. You were hoping for a better job, and you got something that isn’t better but not worse, it’s not even the job you expected, so you can’t really compare.

So, you have about a 10% chance of getting what you think you’re getting. Not good odds, but like I said, most employees way overthink their odds on this and probably believe they have a 70-90% of bettering themselves when they move. Most will just stay the same or get slightly worse.

Why do we believe moving is better?

1. You’re being sold. Sold by a recruiter and a hiring manager that you’ll be moving from a trailer park to Disney World. You really, really want to believe that’s true, so you buy!

2. You over-value that what we don’t know, over what we already have. This happens in so many areas of our life. Relationships. Jobs. Table at a restaurant.

3. You over-value what others have, over what you have. Think about this for a minute. You’re so eager to get out of this job, yet others are so eager to get this job. What does that say? You’re brilliant and everyone else is an idiot? Probably not. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

Everyone keeps telling me all these ‘new’ young workers just want to jump from job to job. They don’t have loyalty, etc. The reality is much less about their desire to move, and more about them being more naive to the realities of changing jobs.  We all loved changing jobs until it backfires and you leave something good, for something crappy.

Once that happens, you’re less likely to change jobs the rest of your career, even if you’re in a bad job! Don’t underestimate what you currently have. It’s probably way better than you’re making it out to be, and the new gig isn’t as good as it sounds. That’s not sexy, that’s just reality.

 

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