27 September 2023

How to know when it’s time to leave your job

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The decision to leave a job is rarely easy, Amalia Chilianis* points out the tell-tale signs that it’s time to move on and discusses how to make the decision easier.

Does the thought of another week at work fill you with dread or excitement?

Have you found yourself ruminating about leaving your job, but unable to do anything about it for a range of very logical, sensible and energy depleting reasons.

Perhaps you’ve been striving towards a long-held career goal only to find that once achieved it still seems lacking.

You’re not alone in being unhappy and dissatisfied with your job, many people are and find it just as difficult to come to a decision about making a change.

Most of us are also pretty realistic and our aspiration is to like what we do and how we do it most of the time.

There are some tell-tale signs to know when it’s time to leave your job and things you can do to help you make your decision.

Day dreaming of your resignation speech

A common sign that it is time to leave your job is regular day dreams of your resignation speech.

And you know it’s getting more serious when you have two versions, one that keeps your dignity intact and burns no bridges and the other version where you win tattslotto.

The lottery win frees you from holding back what you really think and doesn’t it feel good to unburden every frustration and injustice.

Fantasising about any other job

While you commute to work do you find yourself longingly looking at the jobs other people are doing as you pass by and wonder what that might be like?

Are you fantasising about jobs that are completely unsuitable or likely unsatisfying but you suspect they’d be better than what you are currently doing in many ways.

Dog-walker, window cleaner, shelf stacker, council worker cleaning the park BBQs.

While these are jobs that all serve a purpose and provide for meaning for some, they likely won’t pay the mortgage or the rent that you are currently committed to.

Even you are sick of hearing yourself complain

It’s become routine that your end of day download is full of complaints and frustrations about your work, your boss, the people you work with and even customers.

What once gave you joy, irritates and frustrates you and is all you can talk about.

So much so that you are sick of hearing yourself complain, let alone your loved ones and close friends.

So what can you do about it?

You need to process all your thoughts or feelings in a way that moves you from contemplation into making a decision and then into preparing to act.

One helpful way is to think about your job or career as a relationship, how would you describe it?

Would it be a relationship you would introduce to your family or best friend?

Would they say they treat you well? What are the qualities you value the most?

What frustrates or upsets you about your relationship?

Distancing yourself by using an analogy like a relationship can provide you with new insights that help you with your decision to stay or go.

Small steps

Should you decide to leave your job but the change seems overwhelming or daunting, focus on small incremental steps.

Start with choosing one or two close relationships who will support you through the change.

Choose people who will respond actively and in a supportive way, and who will also be honest with you when you need it.

Make sure they know something about changing jobs.

Your partner or parent may have the best intentions, but if they have no real experience in changing jobs successfully, choose someone who has.

Making a change is not easy, but can deliver great rewards.

If you have already spent too much time agonising over this decision, making one, whatever it may be, will be a huge relief.

Humans prove time and time again, that once they make a decision, they can achieve great things even in the face of adversity.

You will have options, support and the skills and capabilities you need to make a change to a much brighter future and it all starts with a decision to do something about it.

*Amalia Chilianis, author of Work-a-holistic: A practical guide to changing your career is a career and capability development expert. She can be contacted at amaliachilianis.com.

This article first appeared at amaliachilianis.com.

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