Do you find yourself daydreaming about quitting your job? Have you written one too many “per my last email” phrases lately? Filling out yet another TPS report? As you may have inferred from the previous EMERGE blog post, you’re not alone. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees are quitting their jobs in record numbers (according to SHRM, nearly 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021).
But before you let your apartment lease lapse and gas up the car to live a nomadic life as a colored pencil blogger, consider whether a job change is going to bring you the relief you’re seeking or if you’re seeing the other side with a “greener grass” filter.
The first thing to do if you’re considering whether you’re ready for a new position is ask yourself a few questions:
What is prompting my desire to move on?
Are your work responsibilities a great fit for you? Do you look forward to the next work task, seeing your projects come to fruition, excited to learn the next skill to level up? Or do you dread the thought of sending the next email? Your work responsibilities might not be a great match for your skills or personality. And even if you have the skills to rock your current job, if it clashes with your values, personality, or work style, it may be a good time to start doing some personal introspection to discover new avenues to creating a daily experience that makes you excited to get to work.
Do you love your colleagues and enjoy working with them? Or do you seem to frequently be clashing with others at the office? It might be time to take a look at your conflict resolution style, but if you aren’t in sync with your coworkers and you sense it is related to a difference in values rather than work styles, it may be time to look for a new team to contribute to.
What is My Definition of Success? Let’s say you’ve decided to make the leap. Before you sweep your computer off your desk and exit the building dramatically, grab a coffee and spend some time thinking about your definition of success. Success means different things to different people, but people tend to feel successful when they are living an optimized daily existence according to their standards. For just a minute, forget what your boss outlined as a desired career progression in your industry and think about what an awesome life looks like for YOU. This is different for everyone, and you’ll feel most successful in life if you calibrate your work to align with your definition of success. For instance, some people feel most successful when each element of an individual day is optimized to contribute to a great day for them. Conversely, others feel most successful when the short term is optimized to create a fantastic result for them in the future, even if that means that each individual day is less enjoyable (or not enjoyable at all). There is no wrong answer, but it’s important to know which pathway speaks to you, because no matter what other people see, you will not feel an inner sense of success if you are on the wrong path for you. Additionally, if you find that your current employment isn’t structured to support your preferred style, consider talking to your supervisor—perhaps there’s some flexibility in how the framework of your current position is structured.
Have I installed a Safety Net? Save 6-12 months of living expenses before you make a leap if you don’t know what your next step is. Job searches can take some time, and you want to be sure that you have enough resources to see you through. It’s wise to save this amount no matter what your life situation is, because you never know what could come your way that would spark a job change.
Have I assembled My Safety Kit?
A safety net should be accompanied by a “safety kit” of resources that are going to help support you during this transition. Think of adding the following things to your safety kit:
Encouraging friends and mentors—you’re going to need extra encouragement to weather the difficulties of a transition, so time to let a few (trustworthy) friends in on your plan to transition.
Healthy habits—don’t let your healthy disciplines go down the tubes during this transition. Try to keep as much of a routine as possible to support the healthy mental and physical habits you currently employ.
Learning Cap—All the skills you’ve built so far are going to coalesce to benefit your next venture, but in order to stretch ourselves, we also need to be willing to learn—a lot and quickly. Stay humble and be ready to learn everything new and then some.
Professional coaches—now is the time to hire someone to help you freshen up your resume, get a new headshot, and update your social media profiles.
Career Investment—what do you need to invest in yourself to take you where you want to go? Do you need to meet certain people? Polish up your conflict resolution skills? Learn a new language?
Whether or not you decide to quit your job, taking these steps will drive your career progression, rather than passively hoping a sub-optimal situation will improve. When the next chapter of your career begins to unfold, you’ll be ready to take the reins, or at least the next step.
About the author
Throughout many years in the realms of Human Resources and Higher Education, Christina guided countless people through the process of job and career shifts, and found it highly rewarding to see people shine in their careers. Recently, Christina launched Nitoris Vox, a fashion travel company that hosts shopping and women’s travel experiences in the US and globally.