How can I work out if I am following the right path?

How can I tell whether I have made the decision for the right reason, my confidence is in pieces and I am worried that implication will be that I left because I couldn't cope with the demands of the job.

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I am wondering if I have made a bad decision in my career. I am working for prestigious employer in a basic secretarial role but have wanted to progress for a while as my skills are not utilised at present. I had hoped that a change in boss would improve the situation but I have not settled with him and the workload has rapidly increased, well beyond the pay grade I am currently at. I have repeatedly raised the issue of the workload as I have felt my health/life has been affected by difficulty sleeping, anxiety and a loss of confidence in my abilities. It was agreed 6 weeks ago to hire a temp to take the load off for a while but this has not been forthcoming and no structure has been given for the work I would be undertaking whilst the temp was in place. I went to HR to discuss my frustrations as I have no current job description and have never had an appraisal to be able to raise any issues (been here over 2 years) and was told that the employer will never change and if I had an opportunity to get out then I should take it!

Consequently, I have looked elsewhere and was immediately offered a job with a local company who, many people tell me, really value their staff. They stressed at the interview that they always encourage their staff to stretch themselves and progress and the job on offer is a mixture of the secretarial role that I already do and some marketing/design work.

Upon handing my notice in, my current employer wanted me to stay and pushed forward the recruitment of a temp, however, again no discussion was had regarding the long term possibilities other than they could make no promises and after the six months was up I could be back in the same position I was in before. After much thought I have stuck with my decision to leave but am worried about giving up such a secure role for something that pays slightly less. How can I tell whether I have made the decision for the right reason, my confidence is in pieces and I am worried that implication will be that I left because I couldn't cope with the demands of the job.

How can I work out if I am following the right path?

Hi Jessica

Sounds like you have made a tough but constructive decision. For a long time you stayed in a job you didn’t like because it is ‘the devil you know’. So many people do this – and many stay in a job they hate for most of their working lives. So well done for taking a risk.

And of course it is a risk. Any change is a risk. But it is also a risk to stay in a job you hate – that will drop your confidence, drain your energy and make your life unbearably dull.

It makes sense that your old employer would want to keep you. You have been a hard worker, doing the day to day work with only minimal complaint. They can promise a temp, but why would they bother if you will do the job and save them the money? My guess is nothing will change there. If they really wanted to help you move ahead they would have done something by now.

And please don’t worry that people might think you left because you can’t do the job. You know how hard you worked and so does your employer – otherwise why would they want you to stay? This sounds like something you’ve been told in an attempt to undermine your decision, so let it go now and stay with what you want. It’s your life and you know the truth.

Your new employer, on the other hand, has already stretched you and opened up new possibilities by giving you some marketing work to do. It’s also promising that people talk about them as having a good reputation - Friday night chat in the pub is a good measure of what a workplace is really like. And they will want to keep that reputation since it brings them good people – just like you!

In reality life is all about choices and we can never know at the time if we did the right thing. We just have to keep going. Some will work out well, some less well, but all will move us forward one way or another. I can look back at my own life and see that some of the toughest moments have had the most positive effect. So this may be your job for life or it may be a stepping stone. Either way it will have a positive impact if you decide to use it that way.

You can read more about this on my recent blog

So whatever happens with the new job, choose to make it good. Take them at their word - do your best work now and show them you are keen for opportunity. Offer help, take on challenges, share your good ideas for how to improve the business and they will soon see you are worth developing. And if it ends up not being what you want, then go looking again.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Post your questions in the comments section below, ask us on the Psychologies Facebook and Twitter page or email I’ll be posting regularly, answering your questions.

Judith Leary Joyce

Great Companies Consulting

In 1996 I made the shift into business, taking my knowledge of Gestalt Psychology into the realm of Executive Coaching, Facilitation and Leadership/ Management Development. In 2001 I worked on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list, then went on to write my first book Becoming an Employer of Choice which was followed by Inspirational Manager and The Psychology of Success. Since then I have worked with organisations across the sectors from large corporates through to young start ups, public sector and charities. Now it’s time to help you have a love affair with your work and get exactly what you want from your career. To find out more about my work and coaching go to


Go to the profile of lorna Sugden
over 4 years ago
I want to leave my job so badly but I cant find anywhere else to go and cannot afford to just stop work. where on earth do you find jobs these days?