People Are Quitting Their Jobs In the Name of Self-Care


It would seem that 2021 is the year of the over-correct. While we were housebound for much of last year waiting out the strict lockdowns, we’re now seizing every opportunity for domestic travel and waiting eagerly for the moment borders open.

While we previously spent hours, days, weeks perfecting the art of at-home cocktail making, we’re now letting our shakers gather dust as we head out to all the bars we couldn’t visit in 2020.

And while we did our best to work from home, answering Zoom calls and tuning into digital Friday night drinks (thank God that’s over), we’re now ready to quit our jobs entirely. You might even be asking yourself the question ‘should I quit my job?’. Why else would you be here?

According to new data from SEEK, 40% of Australians are considering a job or career change in 2021, citing the past year as a catalyst for reflection and re-evaluation for what they want for their future.

The data shows 37% of us have intention to change jobs specifically due to COVID and its impacts, but while some are willing to stick it out and consider what they want from their next roles, others are embracing a new trend of quitting for self-care. And the reason why someone would do so? Burnout.

“There are many signs of burnout — lack of focus, cynicism towards your job, decrease in productivity and being less able to cope with professional or personal challenges,” Sabina Read, SEEK Resident Psychologist tells The Latch. “Burnout can take its toll physically as well — including exhaustion, changes in sleeping patterns and increased illness.”

“Career burnout usually creeps in quite insidiously; slowly but surely over time. While navigating burnout can be a matter of breaking things down into manageable steps, if you find yourself thinking that it’s time for a change, embrace the call to action, and start planning out your next steps.”

Read says that while it’s good practice to have something lined up before quitting a job, sometimes, taking the plunge could just be what kicks you into gear to find the next great step.

“If your work environment is causing more angst than fulfilment and you’ve done all you can to help improve your situation over a period of time, then leaving your current role may be an appropriate and useful action to reflect on next steps and improve your wellbeing. 

“However, while it’s easy to imagine yourself in a non-working halcyon bubble, do not underestimate the uncertainties of unemployment and the toll that job hunting can also take on your mental health, emotional wellbeing and financial security.”

She warns against the risks and unpredictabilities that come with unemployment and recommends anyone considering the ‘self-care quit’ to save up a bit of a buffer beforehand.

Before you resign, to set yourself up for the uncertain journey, commit to saving three to six months’ worth of money and develop an action plan to ensure you get the most out of your career break,” she says.

“Once you clarify what you are aiming to achieve from this time off, and have mentally and financially prepared yourself for the experience of being out of the workforce, quitting may be a useful and productive next step and a supportive self-care path for you.”

Elyssia Clark, SEEK’s Head of Customer Insights and Strategy agrees, adds that sometimes there is a need to break the bonds that tie us to our current roles. She says quitting can actually help us see what’s important to us and our futures.

Reasons to embrace the self-care quit

“There are many great reasons for how and why quitting your job can assist with kicking off your new career journey.” According to Clarke, and in her own words, these include:

Reassess your career direction

Many people are aware they want to change careers however are unsure which path to take. If you can afford to, quitting your job allows you to take time to think about and explore new opportunities that may help you discover what to pursue in a long-term capacity. Volunteering, travelling (domestically!) and studying allow you to gain new skills and experiences in your career break that will help set you apart from other candidates when you interview for your next role.

Network and meet new people

No longer being bound to a 9-5, you’ll have more time to put yourself out there and engage with industry groups, meet recruiters, interview for new roles and network with your contacts.

Apply yourself to applying for jobs

Often searching for a job can feel like a job in itself. With more time on your hands, you’ll be able to dedicate yourself to focusing on your job search, creating tailored applications, as well as preparing for and attending interviews.

“Often searching for a job can feel like a job in itself.”

How to resign the ‘right’ way

As for how you should quit? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. According to Clark, “Resigning with professionalism will make your transition into a new role smoother and will also help you avoid awkward situations in the future”. Here are her tips for quitting the ‘right’ way.

Be sure

Before you work out how to resign, you should ask yourself if you really want to? Is quitting your best option? If you’re having issues with your current job, assessing what the issues are and whether or not they can be resolved or aided through a conversation with a manager or colleague is important. If you are unable to see a resolution that will ease your work life, then it may be worth considering leaving.

Be prepared

To approach a resignation professionally, it’s essential to be prepared. Writing an official letter of resignation that outlines your notice period is often required by businesses. You can use SEEK’s resignation letter template to help you nail this. You should also be prepared to resign verbally, as it is common practice for businesses to discuss your resignation with you and understand the reasons why.

Be aware

Be sure that you are aware of any obligations you might have in terms of notice periods, training a replacement, contractual and confidentiality agreements etc. These are important factors to consider if you are looking to move directly to a new job as well. 

Don’t burn any bridges

As tempting as it may be to leave in a dramatic fashion, being polite and gracious when you resign is incredibly important. In the future, you may be required to have a reference from a previous workplace or encounter your employer later on in your career journey. 

To savour this relationship despite you leaving, thank your employer for the time you have spent there, wish them luck for the future and keep a cool head. On top of this, make sure you finish any tasks you are working on as if you were staying on. You are paid until you leave, so you should work until you leave. 

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