At one time or another in through the course of a career, everyone wants to up sticks and leave their job. There are many, many reasons for feeling like this and you will not be alone if your thoughts have given way to this recently, especially during the current and difficult economic/work climate. Your feelings may have a one of a variety of triggers – maybe a reaction to a certain situation or problem at work, the feeling that you need a new challenge, a dislike of your colleagues or having hit the ceiling in your current role and feeling you have nowhere else to go. Sometimes it’s just a feeling that has been lingering for a long time and you cannot put your finger on the reasons.
Of course, there will be people, family and friends who will mutter ‘helpful’ comments in your direction such as how lucky you are to have a job at all or how hard it is to find another job and while these may be valid points, they will do little to resolve the way you are feeling. So before you write your letter of resignation and hand it over with a flourish, there are a few things you should stop and consider. Quitting your job is a major decision and not one to be made lightly or in a rush. You owe it to yourself to work this one out carefully.
Research consistently illustrates the importance of job satisfaction is ranked way ahead of the salary you earn or perks you receive. Whether this boils down to the tasks you do on a daily basis and how much or little control you have over them, if you are not satisfied with your job and cannot change it, then finding another role which will fulfil this criteria is likely to increase your personal happiness substantially.
This can be a tricky balancing act and one which we all strive to achieve as it is doubtful as to if there is anyone out there who died wishing they had worked more! Yes, your job represents a large proportion of your life but the feeling of it taking over can be overwhelming. Whether you have family and friends to spend time with or other pursuits; there are a number of ways in which this may be addressed without leaving your job. Ask your employer if they offer flexible working arrangements or if there is the chance to work from home? Is there an opportunity to job share? If you work for a larger company, can the role be undertaken from a different office nearer to home? Are there similar jobs closer to home that you could apply for in a similar field (if you like your role) that are closer to home to lessen that daily commute?
Most people have goals or aspirations of some sort but getting stuck in a career rut is one of the most commonly cited reasons for not reaching them. In some cases, your current role may be related in some way to your goals, and with some further professional training and development you may be able to reach this via a pathway found within your current role and career structure. With this in mind, it is worth asking your employer what training is available.
On the flip side, if you jumped into a job straight after school or university with little idea what or where you wanted to be further down the line, it is likely that your more mature self will have realised that the job you’re currently do is poles apart from your ideal role. If this is the case, self motivation is the key, as is (probably) staying in your job while you reach those goals. Look into the training courses you need to undertake as these are likely to be away from the field you are currently in and not available through your employers. It is also worth looking out for internships (paid or unpaid, if you can afford it) and trainee programmes which you may be eligible for.
Whether you work in a large or small team or in an office or not, a combination of a toxic work colleague, inevitable personality clashes and outdated working practices can make for a miserable working environment. Sometimes however, more serious issues such as bullying or harassment can make your dream job a living nightmare.
In cases such as these, you need to pinpoint what it is about the environment that is making you feel like leaving as they be dealt with, especially if you like the job itself.
Serious matters such as bullying or harassment in the workplace, while difficult to face, can be dealt with. Remember that all employers (large or small), have a duty of care to their employees and behaviours such as this should not be tolerated. If it cannot be resolved informally, then there are formal channels you can take to help resolve issues such as these. If you are finding the work environment poisonous for other reasons such as petty squabbles amongst colleagues or other people taking credit for your work/ideas, is it something you can ‘rise above’ or talk about and resolve? If it is not, you need to evaluate if staying put will do you a disservice in the long run.
Financial (security and salary)
Naturally the thorny question of money will be one of the points to consider when deciding to quit your job or not; it is likely to be at the forefront of your mind, especially if you have a family or dependents to support and debts and bills to pay.
Everyone wants security at the end of the month, but how important is this compared to your job satisfaction? Ask yourself what financial commitments you must meet each month? Are you being paid a reasonable salary for the role you are doing? Sticking with a comfortable job simply because you receive a good salary and benefits can prevent you from reaching out and grasping your career goals. On the other hand, if you have a well paid job with reasonable benefits but it is not your ideal position, but you have financial commitments that must be met each month then maybe financial security should be your priority (of course this does not prevent you looking for another role which offers the career progression you are looking for with all the benefits and pay of the job you want to leave).
If you make the decision to leave, make sure you are prepared to enable you to search for a new job from a solid position. Make sure you have an up to date CV (click here for a quick guide), reliable people to act as references and all the skills and training you need if you are changing your career direction.