Is It Time to Quit Your Job? Proceed with Caution


Do you ever have those days where you don’t feel like getting up and going to work? It seems like no matter what you do, you struggle to find the motivation you once had. And with that, you start questioning if this job is really right for you. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Whatever the circumstances, in most cases, resigning without a firm offer of another job is a risky proposition. There are many reasons why human resource professionals and recruiters counsel clients against this. So how do you get over this hump? And how do you determine if you’re really ready for your next job opportunity? Here are a few tips to help you figure it out:

1. Ask yourself the hard questions

Make sure you aren’t just running away from a difficult situation because you are afraid to confront it. Is your job really unbearable or are you unhappy because you don’t feel accomplished, aren’t getting enough positive feedback, feel overwhelmed or have stagnated? Are there things you can do to remedy the situation? Consider having a serious talk with your boss to see what can be done to address your concerns.

As scientist Jon Kabat Zinn famously said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Are you truly convinced you will be happier at your next job? These questions are hard to answer, but in the long run, they are crucial considerations.

2. Make a plan of action

Still not satisfied? Come up with some career goals — ideas about what you would want to do at work and what you are missing — and decide what is most important to you. How are you going to reach these goals? Once you’ve come up with a game plan, it’s time to start considering all of your options.

3. Is it time to start looking?

Be prudent about your job searching activities. Surfing the Internet for job postings during work hours can be grounds for dismissal at some organizations. Don’t post about your job search or your dissatisfaction with your current job on Facebook or other social media sites.

Maintain an active presence on sites such as LinkedIn, but don’t let everyone in your network (which probably includes colleagues from your current job) know you are planning to leave your job. You may hear from recruiters based only on your profile, and you can message promising job contacts on LinkedIn privately.

Don’t tell colleagues, even those you trust, about your plans to leave. Word may reach your employer, and your plans are bound to have a negative impact on staff morale.

4. Keep up the good work!

Sure, maybe you’re ready for change, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off on the (current) job. Being a model employee is more important than ever. You’ll need great references when you find your next job.

5. Don't burn bridges

Regardless of how you may feel about your employer, do your best to leave your job on a positive note. Write a respectful letter of resignation, giving at least two weeks notice. Frame your reasons for leaving tactfully, and acknowledge anything you appreciated about your experience with the organization. Resist the urge to badmouth colleagues and managers. Though it may seem unlikely now, you truly never know when you may cross paths in the future.