Before You Quit Your Job After the Holidays, Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

For many professionals, the period around Christmas and New Year’s is a chance to stop and reflect on the past year and to think about the changes you want to make in your life next year. They might also realise the ways they are stressed and unhappy, particularly if the time off results in positive changes to their health and wellbeing.

It’s no wonder then that to avoid poor physical and mental health in the future, many New Year’s resolutions are to either change jobs or, more drastically, to change careers.

But, if that’s what you’re choosing to do, how do you know that you’re making the right decision? What should you really stop and consider before pulling the trigger? Ahead, Leah Lambart, career and interview coach at Relaunch Me, shares seven things to think about to make your job-quitting decision-making more thorough.

Get Clear on Your Core Values and See If Your Work Aligns

“Before throwing in the towel, I would recommend hitting ‘pause’ to really think about what you want from your work in the future. Start by getting clear on what is most important to you when it comes to work based on your core values. Another way of describing this would be to find your ‘work purpose’.

“‘Work purpose’ will be different for everyone and the most important factors will often change over time depending on a number of factors. For one person, their work purpose might simply be about earning enough money to pay for rent and food for their family, for another person it might be about contributing to society in a positive way and making a difference, while for another person, it might be about career progression, status and earning a really high income.

“Everyone has a different purpose, so before changing a job or career, it’s important to understand your own work purpose and what is most important to you.”

Check That the Burnout You’re Associating With Work Isn’t Coming from Elsewhere

“Many people do experience burnout from their workplace, however, often someone who is burnt out at work is also overdoing things in their personal life. Certain personalities will put others’ needs before their own in all parts of their life, often those people who are very service-oriented and like to please plus have a tendency to want to be in control and not ask for help when they need it.

“If you are someone who is feeling burnt out, take a step back and consider whether it is really your workplace causing it, or whether it is actually just you. Can you be a little more assertive when it comes to managing your workflow? Can you delegate more (at work and at home)? Can you set some boundaries in the new year when it comes to working after hours and/or responding to emails all night or day?

“Sometimes we can make some small changes that will make a big difference in the long run and might allow you to enjoy working again.”

Think About What Would Make You Stay

“Every job has its pros and cons, so before handing in your resignation letter, consider the positives in your current role. Writing down a list of reasons to ‘stay’ or ‘go’ can help you put things in perspective. It will also help you identify exactly what it is that is making you want to leave your current role.

“Once you’ve done this, consider whether you can make any changes to counteract these negative parts of your role. For example, if you have no work-life balance, can you speak to your manager about working less overtime or set some boundaries about when you will be available for calls or emails?

“Or, if you are feeling stale in your role and feel as if you aren’t developing your skills anymore, can you speak to your manager about getting exposure to some new projects, completing a short course or taking on some additional tasks outside your current role?”

See If You Can Create More of What You Like Before Leaving

“In a candidate short market, employers definitely do not want to lose their staff as it is much harder to replace them. Recruitment itself is expensive, not to mention the time required to train new staff to get them up to speed.

“If you still enjoy working for your organisation but just need a change to your role, then try speaking with your manager to see if you can craft your role a little to make some positive changes.

“Your manager may actually be very willing to work with you to make some small changes to keep you in the company for longer. This is particularly the case for employees who are highly regarded in the organisation and have many years of experience that they will not want to lose.”

Don’t Just Quit Because You Aren’t Getting Along With Someone

Workplaces often bring people from all walks of life together to work in a very small space. As a result, not everyone is going to see things the same way, nor are they going to go about their work or how they communicate in the same way.

“Understanding different personality types can make a huge difference in the workplace as people better understand why they don’t get along with another person and/or why they get frustrated when working with them. You don’t necessarily have to be best friends with that person, but you do need to be able to work collaboratively with someone even if you are very different.

“For example, one employee may be extremely organised and prefer a very scheduled work environment with plenty of notice about work tasks and deadlines whilst another employee might be very ‘last minute’, they prefer to be spontaneous and thrive on that last-minute rush. These two people working together may result in great frustration on both sides, however, by understanding how the other person prefers to work, they can hopefully come up with a compromise that will work for both.”

Explore Your Options Before You Quit

“I would never recommend rushing into a resignation without exploring alternative options. Also, remember that a job change may not solve all your problems, and the grass isn’t always greener. I would recommend applying for a few roles to see what else is available before resigning. There will always be pros and cons in every job so take the time to really evaluate your options rather than resigning on a whim.

“And if it’s a career change you’re considering, then know that this will take some time if you want it to be successful. It’s more like a journey than an event.

“In addition, I would recommend doing a budget before resigning in case it takes longer than you expect to get your next role. By doing a budget you can see how long you can afford to be unemployed before finding it difficult to cover your outgoing expenses.”

Exit With Grace

“Be professional when it comes to resigning, and don’t burn your bridges. You will most likely need a reference in the future from your most recent employer so you definitely don’t want to jeopardise this in the future. Not having references for future job applications can become a huge problem for employees.

“I would recommend still writing a formal resignation letter and scheduling a time with your manager. You don’t need to go into a huge amount of detail about why you are resigning. I would recommend keeping it brief and focusing on the positives from the role rather than focusing on the negatives.

“Finally, honour your work commitments to the end and do your best to ensure an effective handover with whoever is taking over your workload (if relevant). Put the effort in up until your last day so that you leave on good terms as much as possible.”

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