If the events of the past couple of years have inspired you to reevaluate your priorities and what you want out of life, you’re not alone! I’ve written about the Big Quit – also known as the Big Resignation or the Turnover Tsunami – a number of times over the last year. The pandemic has caused many people to think more deeply than ever before about work, values, purpose, and a deeper search for meaning outside one’s 9 to 5 existence. I also think that this reflection has parallels to making improvements within our homes. When the kitchen is fully renovated, suddenly the rest of the house feels shabby in comparison. Changes in one area often compel us to make changes in other areas.
While I really believe that people should be proactive about their career development and build a fulfilling, resilient career, I also fear that making an impulsive decision by jumping in on the “Big Quitting” trend may amount to taking a reckless gamble that could have serious consequences.
Quitting your job can be a scary prospect. It’s a big decision to make, and it can feel like you’re taking a leap into the unknown – because you are. But if you’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled in your current job, then it might truly be time to consider making a change.
It’s always OK to “consider” making a change, as it doesn’t mean you ultimately have to take the leap.
Step One: Evaluate Your Current Situation
Before you make an irreversible decision, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your current situation with clear eyes. Are you unhappy with your job for valid reasons (e.g., a toxic workplace culture, discrimination and feeling unwelcome, a lack of opportunity for development or promotion), or are you just feeling restless and bored?
It has been a long two years since we first heard the word “pandemic” in March 2020. The pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Often, it seems that we start to see some progress and cautiously breathe a sigh of relief that things will soon get better, then we suffer another collective setback. It’s certainly taken a toll on mental health and is inspiring people to shake up their lives.
Instead of rushing into quitting your job, make sure you really examine where these feelings are coming from. Is it really your job or career, or are there other factors to consider?
Step Two: Figure Out What Is Within Your Control
Have you explored options or discussed with someone what aspects of the job that you dislike, and whether there are any ways to resolve those issues first? So many people feel stuck in a job they hate but also know it affords so many privileges that would be hard to give up. These “golden handcuffs” situations may not offer the career fulfillment they’re looking for, but financial realities need to be factored into any decision.
Is there anything that you can do to improve the situation? We all go through ups and downs, and sometimes we need to take a good honest look at ourselves first to see if there’s anything we’re doing—or not doing—to help our situation.
There are situations where people feel pigeon-holed in a role that is far below their capabilities, their career development has stalled and their earnings have plateaued. They may see no way forward in their current organization. It’s important to figure out if it’s a bad fit and whether to start considering alternative roles.
There may be other roles in the organization that could be an option. Plus, having a discussion like this could help prevent any hard feelings if and when you decide to leave later on.
If talking to your boss doesn’t seem like an option — if your boss is the source of your unhappiness — or if it’s a toxic situation that just can’t be resolved, then it’s time to start thinking about your next steps.
If you’re sure that it’s the right thing for you, don’t go through it alone. Do you have colleagues or people in your network that you can discuss your concerns with first? What about a mentor, coach or counsellor? If you’re not sure what to do, they may be able to offer different viewpoints or help you see alternatives you haven’t considered.
Whatever you do, avoid letting frustration get the better of you by making an emotional, spur-of-the-moment decision. If you want to quit a job and really don’t care what the boss thinks about you, really take the time to think again. The consequences of an abrupt departure could come back to haunt you in our internet and social media-connected world.
Please note that this blog is not a substitute for a professional consultation whereby a full discussion of pros and cons and any associated risks is explored. Consequently, this blog article does not constitute an official consultation.
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