On average, workers leave a job every once every four and a half years. But how many jobs have you been truly happy to devote half a decade of your life to?
The problem isn’t just that quitting a job is tough. It’s tough to even know that it is time to quit. There are so many variables, and we get ourselves into such habits, that we tend to end up stuck in the wrong job for way longer than we intended.
In fact, just 51% of American workers say they feel satisfied with their job. The same survey discovered that employees are happier about their wage and job security than they were a few years back – but that they feel overworked and, crucially, starved of professional development opportunities. Of course, wages and job security are important, but work should be about realizing your true potential, improving yourself and the world around you, and feeling happy and satisfied with your place in the professional community.
So how can you balance these factors together? How do you make the decision to quit? Well, the folks at resume.io have created a new guide to help you find your way through the decision-making process.
In the first place, they point out that making the decision to quit should not be taken lightly. Don’t quit unless you have a good reason to do so. But what makes for a good reason?
Start by narrowing down the main cause of your dissatisfaction. Is it the work itself, the people you work with and for, or the conditions? Let’s take the ‘work itself’ for example. Very often, young people especially find themselves doing jobs where they don’t like the work itself. You may have studied hard with big ambitions only to find yourself doing something unrelated just to pay the bills. Or you may have to start at the bottom of the industry, running errands and doing admin just to get the foot in the door. Should you stick it out?
If this is your chosen industry and you hope to stay on this career path, don’t quit just yet – speak to your boss. Tell them you are ambitious and frustrated and ask about professional development opportunities. Maybe there are promotions coming up, or you can take on extra responsibilities, or take a course while you study. Your employer might even pay for it.
If the work challenges you enough but you feel you’re being exploited, again don’t jump immediately. See if there is a union you can join or a rep you can speak to. If not, try talking with the HR manager or your boss to resolve the issue. Being proactive about finding mutually beneficial ways to work better together can mark you out as somebody who cares about the job and is particularly worthy of support and development.
If the work bores you because it is nothing to do with your interests and ambitions (e.g. if you took it just to make ends to meet) then you might think more proactively about quitting – but don’t do so suddenly in a fit of resentment! If you jump without a safety net, you’re more likely to find yourself working an even worse job to make up for the losses in just a few months. First ensure you have a Plan B, some money to tide you over, and a job lined up for when you leave.
And remember, however much you dislike your job, try to leave on positive terms. The instant satisfaction of a snarky resignation letter or a dramatic walk-out may feel good but may come back to haunt you later in your career.
For more ideas on how to decide if it’s time to quit your job, try working through the flowchart below.
About the author: John Cole writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.