The inspiration for today’s article is brought to you by The Clash. 🙂

You’re unhappy at work. You’re not getting paid enough. You’re missing out on family time. Your boss is… Bothersome and encumbering. Issues people face all the time, but with no real grip on a way out of that tasteless pickle.

So to advise and elaborate further on this topic, I’m going to follow the structure from their hit song “Should I stay or should I go“?


It’s always tease, tease, tease

Hints of pay raises, insinuations of exciting projects to come, and promises of promotion. There’s always a gimmick for the employers to keep you hooked and hopeful, while unfortunately sometimes doing it with malicious intent.

  1. First things first, bring forth your value. That means making explicit and clear how much value you’re adding to the company, your skillset and talent, and your own worth as an individual and professional. This is an important basis.
  2. Second you must clarify your intent. If your manager doesn’t know what your desires, objectives, and priorities are, then you won’t be able to say to him, or yourself, that they’re not respecting, appreciating or supporting you.
  3. After setting solid grounds, then it’s a negotiation. They would clearly know what they’re losing and why they’re losing it, if you resign. Now the conversation is clearer, and you have more power and can start discussing more concrete results.


You’re happy when I’m on my knees

As per the previous section, power is critical in a negotiation, and as such it’s in your employer’s best interest that you don’t have much of it.

Unfortunately again, some organizations actively try to bring down their employees’ status and confidence, to keep them within their self-made illusionary jail.

You have to sift through the smoke and mirrors and go back to objectively assessing the situation, calmly and diplomatically reasserting your strength and value, and understanding your next step options (whether within the company or without).


One day is fine and next is black

After the tech layoffs we’ve seen this year, I guess there’s no more black or white, but rather shades of grey *wink wink*. Companies are sometimes not what they appear, markets fluctuate in an instant, and executive decisions are made suddenly and with immediate effect. We now live in a predominantly VUCA world.

And in addition to the above, your employer may try to tip the scale towards darker shades with excuses and stories, to help justify some of their selfish and unfair decisions.

Study VUCA, be flexible and malleable, and take decisions based on best and most recent knowledge.


Conclusion: Should I stay or should I go?

Given the large number of variables involved in such a decision, no article can provide a direct answer. But rather a framework:

  1. Who: What is your value and identity as an individual contributor and leader in the organization?
  2. What: What are you asking for?
  3. When: What is the deadline, or at least timeline, by which a decision should be made, by either or both parties?
  4. Where: Any specifics of where you want to land the what?
  5. Why: Which at that point in the negotiation should be quite obvious; they’ll loose X! (i.e. revenue, accounts, reputation, etc.)

However, if there’s no or little gain for you from starting a negotiation, and the risk of being let go is too high and inconvenient for you, then bide your time and live to fight another day.

And always remember:

“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way, without making them feel like they have lost.” – Sumner Welles