The decision to quit your job should be made with a lot of careful consideration. Popular culture has very much glamorized the idea of quitting one’s job. Triumphantly marching into your boss’s office, presenting him with your carefully crafted resignation letter, and finally being able to vent your frustrations and move on to greener pastures.
While that makes for a great movie scene, in reality we’ve got to realize that making a career change is not about “sticking it to the man”. It’s about strategically guiding our careers in a direction that will move us closer to our life’s purpose.
I recently quit my job and moved on to a new company. And although I was extremely excited about the new opportunity ahead of me, I was also unsure of exactly what the future held.
Did I make the right decision? Maybe my promotion was right around the corner if I had just stayed a little longer. Will I be able to adjust to a new city? What if the new company is nothing like what they described during the interview process?
However, after a couple months on my new job I am sure I made the right decision.
I’ve got a feeling there are many others standing at the same crossroads I was just a few months ago:
“This job is familiar to me, I’m good at it, Although it’s not perfect, I’m comfortable.”
“I feel like there’s something more I should be doing. I’m curious about what’s outside these four walls.”
“What would it be like to work at XYZ company (or strike out on my own).”
“I believe my skills are worth more in the marketplace than I am being paid in this current job.”
If any of the above statements have been rattling around in your head, then hopefully this article will help you. I’m by no means saying everyone should leave their job. But if you’re thinking about doing so, here are some things to consider:
1) Run TOWARDS an opportunity, not AWAY from a situation.
We often hear about people leaving their jobs because they have become dissatisfied their employer, their boss, or their work environment. May employees find that the workplace just isn’t the same anymore after a few years.
However, I believe that you should not leave your job because you are dissatisfied with something at that job. Rather, you should leave your job because you have identified an opportunity that will serve your needs better. Then, and only then, should you make a move.
If you simply run away from uncomfortable situations without being strategic about your moves, you will quickly find yourself right back in the same situations you were trying to avoid.
What personal and professional needs are not being met in your current position?
What growth opportunities have you identified elsewhere in the marketplace?
How will your life be improved by making a move? (better hours, flexible work arrangements, improved benefits, more responsibilities, etc).
If you approach your job search with this thought process, you’re more likely to land in a place that will be a win for you, not just another J-O-B. We have little control over our work environment, the people, or our bosses. Make sure that your job change takes you closer to your professional goals, regardless of how these uncontrollable factors play out.
2) Take your time.
I searched for jobs off and on for about a year before I actually made a move. I did not want to make a hasty decision, especially if that meant uprooting my life and moving to a new city. I wanted to be purposeful and thoughtful about the next career move. There’s no use in making a move quickly, only to find out that there were better opportunities available that I had overlooked.
Do not let any situations at your current job make you feel desperate to get out. If your personal safety is not at risk, and if they are still providing you a steady paycheck, then it is very unlikely that you absolutely must move at this very moment. I understand you may feel unfulfilled, unchallenged, unenthusiastic, or just plain bored in your current job. But rushing into a new situation blindly is certainly not the answer. You are going to spend 40 hours a week at this new job. Make sure you take the time to do some due diligence.
By giving yourself more time for your job search, you can examine not only job similar to your current job, but you could explore options outside of your current field. While you may have developed expertise in one particular job function, you no doubt have picked up some skills that can be applied in other jobs.
Take some time to consider whether you simply want to do the same job at another company, or whether you would like to change functions altogether. I ended up doing a similar job at a new company, but I certainly applied for some jobs in different fields as well just to see what was out there.
Taking your time will also allow you to wait for the right offer. You need to make sure that the environment at your new job is going to be suitable for your personality. You need a job with good growth prospects. You need to make sure that your skills will be utilized adequately in your new position.
Of course, you do not want to disregard the financial component. If you’re in a rush, you may be more likely to accept an offer paying less money then you’re really worth. This could impact the speed at which you hit certain financial goals like debt freedom, home ownership, or financing a graduate degree. By giving yourself plenty of time to search, you will be able to better gauge your value in the marketplace and compare the pros/cons of different companies.
3) Take The Plunge and Don’t Look Back
Once you actually find a great position you are willing to take and land an offer, focus all of your energy towards that new position. Ignore any doubt or second guessing that shows up in your mind. You’ve got a new mission now.
When I accepted my new job and turned in my notice, part of me was looking back wondering if I’d made the right decision.
Maybe my promotion was actually right around the corner if I had stayed a little longer…?
What about the unfinished projects? Who’s going to see those to completion?
I do not know anyone in this new city, I wonder if I will make any friends there…?
What if my new boss is a micromanager?
Have I just jumped from the frying pan into the fire?
The truth is, no matter what decision you make there are always unknowns when you deviate from the status quo. Whenever you make a change, whenever you step out of your comfort zone, you are stepping into uncharted territory. That’s okay. Look at it as an adventure!
Honestly, some of the questions I had when I first left my job are still unanswered. And I am completely OK with that. After a conversation with one of my good friends, I was encouraged to just focus on the path ahead. After all, once I turned in my 2 week notice, there was no turning back from there.
4) Realize that You Can Change Your Mind!
One of the biggest things by which I live my life is this: everything is negotiable.
That means that you are never really stuck in any situation. You can create new plans for you life whenever you feel the need to do so.
You can start a new job tomorrow, and then go find yet another job in six months if you’re not happy. You can even decide to stay at your current job for now, and then continue your job search next week. It’s up to you!
That’s not to say there are no consequences for job hopping or staying in an uncomfortable work environment for too long. So take that into consideration. But the point here is, the choice is YOURS. When you are ready to make a change, don’t get nervous thinking that your next move is a permanent move. If could be, but you reserve the right to pursue something new whenever you want.
Knowing that I always have the right to change my mind made me more at ease with my decision to try out this new job. Worst case scenerio, if I hate EVERYTHING about the new job, I know I can power through for a few months then I can get right back on the job search and find a new position. Fortunately, at this point, I have no plans of leaving my new job anytime soon. Hopefully, this will be the case for you when you find your new job too!
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