If you're no longer challenged in your position and have tried communicating with your boss to no avail, it may be time to leave. Before you walk, however, ask yourself some key questions before making this potentially life-altering decision.
First, some overall issues to consider and steps to take:
- Write down the pros and cons of quitting to mitigate emotional factors. It’s only fair to examine what's right with your current position, not just wrong.
- Ensure you’ve confronted problems directly and uncovered every possible miscommunication glitch with all those involved.
- Prepare a “solutions” document to explore all the actions that could be game changers if you stay.
If you’re unsure about your decision, consider these 10 reasons to leave:
1. Going to work is a challenge. You just aren’t passionate about your job. You’re constantly hitting the snooze button each morning. Work has become a grind that saps your energy – even as you practically have a caffeine drip in your veins. When people ask, “How’s work?” – you groan or skip the subject. If you're not doing what you love, you're putting off tapping into your true potential.
2. Your skills are underutilized. Management doesn't acknowledge that your skills have progressed significantly. Attempts you’ve made to assume a more challenging role or take on new assignments have been dismissed. Or you've been passed over for a promotion that you’re well qualified to handle.
3. You feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. At the end of the day, you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. It seems like a modern-day version of the classic film, “Groundhog’s Day,” except with no improvement. It feels as if management has turned a blind eye to your interests.
4. You’re not learning anything new. You feel you’ve outgrown your job and there’s no room for advancement or growth. You’re easily distracted by social media, news headlines, people and just about anything that will keep you from your routine work.
5. You have little sense of trust. You don't trust your boss or employer. Never feel pressured to comply with activities that could hurt your career. If you don't trust your boss due to anything from lying to making false promises, or your company due to unethical activities (or worse, they expect you to partake), then you have legitimate reasons to look elsewhere.
6. You aren’t fairly compensated. Over time, you’ve taken on more responsibilities or learned new skills that have benefited the company, but your paycheck is stagnant and doesn’t reflect your added value. It also hasn't kept up with market salaries.
7. Your job or boss is making you emotionally or physically ill. A boss’s poor management skills or challenging attitude doesn't just affect your time at work; it can impact your personal life. If you've tried everything to make it work and life is untenable mentally or physically, it's time to visit your favorite job board.
8. You have little work-life balance. Are your personal relationships suffering as a result? If you’ve already addressed this with your boss, you must look at your own needs. Being connected to work is a sign of the times, but if a 24/7 leash is endless, it can take it's toll.
9. You're simply unhappy. It could be for many reasons, but if you’re miserable, don’t know why you’re there or what you like about your job, then dig deep into what you’re really passionate about. It’s worth taking the time to examine this before you leave, or you may jump from one job to the next in search of something elusive.
10. Downsizing is on its way. If the boat is sinking, get ready to look for calmer waters. Make sure you have all your facts first, but it might be a good time to at least upgrade your resume and gather references, if not grab a life raft toward shore.
A Few Last Reminders
Most managers are shocked to learn their best talent is resigning. It’s surprising how often this is the case – and how rarely people approach their bosses diplomatically with their individual needs. Be sure that you’ve communicated your issues clearly with your boss before giving up. And try to avoid quitting without a job offer at all costs. Managing up is an invaluable tool, but too elusive in the workplace. An added benefit is that it’s a transferable career skill, wherever you go.
Inertia can be stressful, so look at this as a semi-scientific process that may need your close attention. If the topic is weighing heavily on you, then consider what the philosopher Maimonides said: "The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision."
If the “pros” of leaving far outweigh the cons, or vice versa, look at the facts, but also listen intently to your heart.