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Some Teams Just Aren’t Worth It

February 18, 2015

It was a mistake. I realized it about $120,000 and 2,000 miles too late.

And I was stuck. If this were grade school, I’d be on the kickball team with the asthmatic kid and the girl who was afraid of the ball. I’d been warned too. It wasn’t like I was tricked. Well, I sort of was, but I’d still been warned.

I moved my family from Utah to Wisconsin on borrowed money. Bought a house nearly sight unseen on the recommendation of my new boss. And took a job that promised me a salary below what I needed and delivered even less.

I thought I knew what I was getting into. I was wrong. I’ve told the tale elsewhere. (Following Your Bliss. . .Right Off A Cliff) Bad as it was, I tried to make it work. I knew that I was drowning but I kept swimming. I didn’t know what else to do.

The decision was made for me when my “partner” fired me after three weeks. But, in hindsight, it was the right thing. It’s was the hard thing. But, like a refiner’s fire it was important.

The team in Wisconsin had some good people, but the leader was a liar and a crook. He was conducting business illegally. All of his employees knew it. They saw me as a chance for the team to do the right thing.

I couldn’t have done it. I know that in hindsight. At the time I thought if I just worked hard enough I could find a way to make it work. I’d like to think that next time I would walk away on my own, or better yet, not that that job in the first place.

So, how do you know if you should walk away from a team? A few things to consider.

1. The team goals are not your goals

We all need goals. But, if your employers goals include illegal activity and taking advantage of employees and customers, you should probably try finding a job that matches them.

2. You don’t trust the people you work with

Even the “good” guys didn’t really help me. One of them saddled me with his house. He was a good guy, but hey, he got out from under a house that wouldn’t have otherwise sold. I know, a month later we walked away from it.

3. The job doesn’t pay enough and any raises are dependent on the people you work with. (See #2.)

4. The job is in an area you have no experience in.

I thought I knew the owner, but I really didn’t know the rafting industry. I ended up completely dependent on my “partner” to teach me the industry. (See #1)

5. It’s in a part of the country you really don’t want to live in

Wisconsin is lovely. But, it’s not what you would call my neck of the woods. My family went through Wisconsin in the 19th Century. I was the first one that I know of to go back. Given my experience, my descendants may want to wait another couple hundred years to go back.

Teams are important, but there are times when leaving a team is the best possible choice. Remember that your most important team should be your family. And if you are single, your most important team is you. No team is better than a bad team.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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From → Team Building

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