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How to Know if it’s Time to Quit

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If the pandemic and potential furlough left you questioning whether or not you are really happy and satisfied in your job, then you’re not alone. In fact, a study by Microsoft and shared on LinkedIn states that around 40% feel exactly the same and are considering leaving their jobs to start afresh.

But what does that look like? Is it really that easy to simply quit one job and try something new - or is it better to have a plan in place before you hand in your notice?

In this piece we will be uncovering some of the red flags to look out for if you’re considering quitting your job, and what you should have in place before making the big move.

The Pandemic Effect

It has been reported that people who are happy at work are 12% more productive; they produce 37% greater sales, and they take 10x fewer sick days than those who are unhappy at work.

Now, this isn’t new information. There have always been - and there always will be - people who are dissatisfied in the workplace and who have landed in a career or a job role that doesn’t make them happy. But the pandemic has served to make this dissatisfaction more obvious by giving many workers a taste of what it’s like to work from home, to try new things, and even to live under the furlough umbrella for a period of time.

As such, people are quitting their jobs and starting afresh - and its got LinkedIn all riled up in its dissection of the business world and why so many people have suddenly had a change of heart around their working situation and how they want to spend their time.

Is there ever a good time to quit?

First thing’s first, quitting your job is a big life change - not only impacting your income levels but also your daily routine and motivation to get up and about every day. Lots of people hand in their notice and quit because they think it will be better for their life balance, but soon find that the lack of a routine makes everyday tasks more challenging and removes a sense of belonging.

Some of the other challenges and red flags that are associated with quitting your job - and should be carefully thought out before making such a drastic move - include:

  • Future opportunities. If you are quitting with no new job lined up, how will the absence of employment look on your CV
  • It may seem like a change in job will give you the satisfaction you need, but far too often we fall into the “grass is always greener” trap and believe that a change will be what we need - when sometimes it’s not
  • The problems you experienced in your old job might be industry wide rather than limited to that company. Moving or quitting may leave you worse off than you were before.
  • If you quit, the problems you faced will still be there for the next person who joins the company. However, if you stay to discuss and help iron out those challenges, you could help the company to become better both for you and future employees.
What other options are there?

An obvious suggestion is to only quit when you have something else lined up - whether it be a new job or a new life challenge that is going to continue to motivate and keep you active on a daily basis. For some this could be travelling, for others it could be a complete shift in lifestyle or a move to somewhere new and exciting. Whatever it is, quitting once you have a future plan in place in one way to ensure that you are making a decision which will have a positive impact rather than leading to more challenges.

Another suggestion is to work on building your existing job into something that makes you happy - rather than quitting altogether. This could mean a shift in your responsibilities or moving into a different department or area of focus - but whatever it is, small changes can often have a much bigger impact and can enable you to feel more comfortable and satisfied without losing any consistency in your income or routine.

And then there’s the most obvious solution - if there’s something you don’t like, change it. There are instances where this may not be possible and they garner their own individual conversations and decisions, however for the most part companies are now more flexible and amenable than ever before to hybrid working and remote working and are likely to do what they can to retain existing employees. Airing your concerns is often the best course of action for genuine and positive change. 

The Takeaway

The fact is that work takes up a large chunk of our lives, and so feeling satisfied in the workplace is key to overall wellbeing and happiness. We have already shown how productivity and effectiveness is impacted by happiness, and so it follows that if you feel dissatisfied in your job you might well feel like quitting and moving on is the only thing to do.

However, quitting with no clear action plan can in fact lead to more challenges than you might expect - not only in finding a new job but in facing and overcoming difficulties which could follow you into a new role. Instead of quitting, consider some of the other options available to you, including changing the role you are in, the way you interact and work within that role, or simply lining up something new before you hand in your notice.