Are you unhappy in your job and thinking about quitting? Last year 50 million people quit their jobs in the US. This is less surprising when you consider that only a third of workers are truly engaged in their work (only 21% globally), according to Gallup’s 2022 “State of the Global Workplace” report. But quitting is risky and can be counterproductive – not something to do impulsively. So how do you decide what’s right for you? Which factors should you weigh in your considerations?
Some issues are clearly key. If you don’t have the savings or other income to cover expenses while you look for a new job, you’ll need to find a new one before you quit. On the other hand, if your mental health is suffering badly, you might need to make a change before you’re entirely ready. Consider also that you might be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which might allow you to take unpaid leave for a period of time.
Whether you imagine quitting first and then finding another job, or finding another job and then quitting, one question that’s important to ask yourself is, “Have you squeezed all the experience you can out of the job you already have?” Even a job you’re not enjoying can be a valuable base for experimentation and learning. For instance, have you tried to really understand your manager’s perspective and what they’re responsible for delivering? Have you tried being very direct with them to ask for what you need? Have you tried to seek other assignments or spoken with another leader to let them know what you’re looking for? If you’re fed up with your job to the point where you might be willing to risk losing it, can you use that attitude to be braver in how you speak to management? Don’t be rude or reckless, just be more honest and direct, while also listening to learn from any feedback you receive. You’ll want to do some self reflection first, so you’re clear about what you want and what you’re asking for. A coach can be very helpful in doing that preparation.
If you don’t succeed in making meaningful changes this way, you may still gain valuable experience for the future, and you’ll know you gave it your best shot before quitting. If you do succeed in making changes that allow you to stay with that employer, you’ll reduce the churn in your life and end up with a job that suits you better than before.