Real talk, according to this recent report, 40% of employees are thinking of leaving their employers. It’s what some are calling The Great Resignation. Employers are left wondering “why is everyone quitting their jobs?” One major reason is that employees are finally evaluating and realizing how they spend too much time focused on work, from the commute to the off-hours stress.
We’re not here to tell anyone how to quit their jobs. Instead, we want to encourage thoughtful planning and a strategy toward achieving your own personal goals. To do that, though, you have to really investigate yourself and your career at this specific moment. Hard questions can be really scary, especially when they center around your bread and butter. But the sooner you get real about what you want and what needs to happen right now, the easier it will be for you to take action toward improving your situation.
1. What do I still love about this job?
Start with the positives and make a list. Maybe it’s your coworkers, your salary, or the fact that you love working remotely. Once you’re done making this list, put stars around the items that are great qualities tied to this specific job (ie. compassionate coworkers, a healthy culture). Circle the items that are independent variables you could potentially find elsewhere (ie. this remote working situation, my salary). Who knows? A list like this might be enough to help you fall back in love with your job. Notice if you have more stars than circles or vice versa. Keep this in mind as you move to the next question...
2. What specifically isn’t working for me anymore?
Now, make a list of the soul-crushing qualities of your job. Once you’re done making this list, put stars around the items that are specific to your needs (ie. experiencing total burnout, need better healthcare benefits). Circle the items that are external negatives you might still have to contend with elsewhere (Difficult workload, awful workplace culture). It’s important to take note of anything you might be projecting onto the situation versus the many qualities you don’t have any ability to change. There are some things you can improve with an honest chat. Other things are just inherent to the way the company operates, for example, resistance to change is a sad truth about too many companies. Hopefully, you can get a little clarity here on your situation.
3. What can I change right now to make my life better?
Ok, now it's time to evaluate your lists. If you have more starred items that are inherent to this job and specific to your needs, maybe there are things you can change while keeping your job. For example, everything may feel great but you’re simply not being challenged anymore. There may be room for growth in this company you still love. However, if there are just too many of your needs not being met and the company is completely toxic, these are signs you should quit. We’re not saying quit on the spot— take baby steps to the door so you can leave on good terms. Right now, decide what improvements you can make on your own. Beyond updating your resume, portfolio, and cleaning up your socials, we also suggest prioritizing your mental health to gain clarity and reduce stress. One of the reasons it’s so hard to hire right now is because health, wage, and care needs aren’t being met. These are basic essentials we all need, so consider how to find a balance of all three in your next step...
Make a plan: ask yourself what you truly want for your future and write down your goals. If you want to work in another industry, factor in research and networking into your next steps. If you want to take a sabbatical, work on outlining a budget and savings to allow yourself to take a long break. If you want a completely different career, plot out the steps to make your big switch. Unfortunately, larger changes like these might include getting new training or taking a pay cut. Think critically about how long it will take and outline your plan over the course of the next three months, then six months, etc. When the time is right, plan your resignation, complete with a meeting and your traditional two weeks’ notice. Working remotely isn’t an excuse to ghost an employer or be a jerk, after all. This plan is, not just your exit strategy, it will also keep you focused and moving through this difficult time so you can set up a better situation for yourself in the long run.
5. What can I give to myself in this moment to feel better?
Find a way to reward yourself. No, we’re not joking. You came here to evaluate and make a plan to take a big leap, whether it’s now or in the near future. Now that you’re going to act on it, rewarding yourself is the cherry on top—it solidifies how you trust yourself and your decisions. What might come up next for you is fear, so you’re gonna need something that makes you smile. Do it! Treat yourself...and then embark on your new path, ice cream in hand.
After that self-assessment, made the decision it's time to start applying? Check out some of our top job search tips:
- Ways to Refresh Your Portfolio (Without Going Crazy)
- How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market
- How to Convince a Hiring Manager You're the Right Person for the Job