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7 Things To Consider Before Quitting a Job

People sometimes tell me they don’t need to think about the next steps in their career because they are “really happy where they are.” It’s not uncommon to bump into those same people 8 months later, complaining that they’re ready to find something new. It should be shocking how quickly we can go from “happy” to “get me the hell out of here!”

And yet it’s actually not that shocking at all. Finding a new position can feel like the easiest option in a sea of bad options when our jobs get difficult.

Often, we’re so content that we forget to nurture our career. Relationships of all types need attention to stay healthy. When things go bad, they often go VERY bad. At that point, it can seem easier to start over than stay put.

Then again, sometimes it’s time to go. But not before you exhaust all options.

Before you quit your job, go through this checklist. Instead of quitting right away or taking the first opportunity that comes your way, take some time to pause, reflect and prepare for next steps.

  1. Consider taking a vacation. Maybe you’re feeling a bit burned out. This might impact your performance and will definitely impact your attitude. If you don’t have the funds, do a staycation. If you don’t have the available holiday, take a long weekend. Do whatever you can to clear your head.
  2. Consider setting a new goal in your current job. For example, a goal that relates to taking on new responsibility, getting a promotion or simply learning a new skill.
  3. Consider asking for feedback. You’re wanting to leave for some reason. Maybe it’s lack of money, lack of opportunity, lack of mentorship or some other challenge. These can often be solved if you tie yourself in and try to find a way. Start by asking your manager for positive and critical feedback. How did they like your performance on the last project you submitted? What could you have done better? Then ask your co-workers for feedback. Do they enjoy working with you? How could you work more effectively together? Encourage them to be open and honest. Instead of getting defensive, force yourself to ask polite questions that will help you learn even more. It’s important to get this feedback from all types of coworkers (even the ones you may not completely respect — it may help you see them in a new light).
  4. Consider building stronger relationships internally. Spend a month getting to know your teammates and members of other teams. When you build strong relationships, it’s easier to get through the tough times. If you do decide to leave in the end, at least you’ll have great relationships with your co-workers. These can last a lifetime.
  5. Consider finding a solution to your unhappiness that lets you stay in your company. When we are ready to jump ship, we often make every excuse under the sun for why we can’t stay. If it’s because you don’t like your manager, maybe there is an option for a transfer. If you don’t feel respected, maybe there’s something more you can do to earn that respect. There are ALWAYS more options than you realize. Make sure you’ve exhausted all of them before you decide to leave.
  6. Consider exploring your network. Before you quit, you should have a clear idea of where you want to go. Why not spend as much energy as possible exploring all options? Get lunch every day with someone in your network. Figure out what’s out there so you can acquire the skills you need for your next job before you quit this job. By the time you’re ready to start applying, the process will be easy and smooth.
  7. Consider your future. You can quit. No one will stop you (and don’t expect them to). But before you go, make sure you have a general idea of what you want out of the next step. It’s important to set a long-term goal (even if you decide to change it later) an then set three or four shorter-term goals that help you accomplish the long-term goal. It’s often the case that people leave jobs at one company because another company offered them more money or responsibility. This is great — if they did their homework and know what they’re giving up to move to a new company. If you don’t have a clear long-term goal, you’ll end up making some progress in a lot of different directions….rather than significant progress in one clear direction.
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