I was talking to a colleague one day who was unhappy with some elements of his job, or, more specifically, some elements of the environment. The conversation went about like you’d expect, with some thoughts about what was wrong and how it should be. These conversations are important to have because it helps me understand what makes people tick, what they like about their job, and what they don’t. It helps define what changes, if any, need to be made organizationally.

At some point in the conversation this colleague made an exasperated statement about realizing that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. Basically he was saying that he just needed to accept it because it was better than he would find elsewhere. That got me thinking. Is that really how we should think about it?

The statement is often true; things at another place of employment are often no better than they are where you are now. But choosing to stay at a place of employment shouldn’t be based just upon how things are compared to other places. There is a much more important element to consider.

What really matters is how willing your current place of employment is to make changes. Do they listen to the frustrations of their employees and try to adjust? No one gets it right all the time, and we should expect no more from our employers, but effort matters.

So no, the grass may not be greener on the other side of the fence, but the real question is not whose grass is greener, it’s who is going to change how they treat the grass to get it to grow. Think of it this way. Would you rather have grass that’s beautifully green but being stomped on and not watered or cared for, or do you want the grass that needs some love but is getting attention? Sure, the greener grass looks better today, but how will it look in a few months?

Now, before you hear this and think it’s time to leave your job, you need to reflect internally a bit. What have you done to help? Have you tried to move the company forward, or have you just talked about how they are not doing it for you? Before you look to make a change by changing your employer first look to see what change you can make right where you are. Make your own grass greener. If you can’t, it may be time to leave, but not before making a real effort.

Written on August 8, 2018