As a millenial, it’s drilled into us that we go to university to get a good degree, to get a great job and to earn a great salary. But in some cases, life doesn’t always pan out how we had carefully mapped it. My worries when considering moving on, weren’t ‘what would my friends say?’ rather, ‘what would my parents’ friends say or my grandparents’ think?’
The generational shift in thinking was my greatest fear. But I had to rationalise with these and ask myself, ‘what would they say if I was hospitalised due to stress and mental-ill health?’
As the UK was recently ranked fifth out of 32 countries as the most-stressed country for workers, it’s time to reconsider what’s important in your journey and what you wish to gain from your chosen career path. If you’re thinking of leaving your job, whatever the reason, try to consider these five thoughts before handing in your resignation.
- What is driving your urge to quit?
When considering that urge to quit your job, you have to ask yourself what really is driving your desire to leave? Why will it be different at another company? What are you looking to gain from your role? Do the bad days outweigh the good days? With over 20% of your year spent in the workplace, finding a career that delivers on job satisfaction and happiness is key. Ask yourself some particularly honest questions, write down your answers and come back to them tomorrow. If you have a clear idea of what is driving your need to get out, it will help you make educated career choices when you move on to your next role.
- The impact on your future career moves
Say you just up sticks and go – you’re ready to take on a new challenge in the field that you’re truly passionate about. But how do you convey this to your next potential employer? Regardless of your age, field, personality or passion, your employer will want to know why you chose to leave without having your next move lined up. You should be honest and have clear and relevant reasons why the role you are applying for is more suitable to your career goals.
It’s highly likely your next employer will request a reference from your previous place of work, so it’s important to leave on good, professional terms, where possible. It’s perfectly acceptable to give feedback to your previous employer as to your reasons for leaving, but preferably be conducted in a professional, constructive and polite matter. Your previous employer is only human and when called upon to provide a reference, leaving on negative ground could make this tricky for you as an employee.
- Back to basics – can you afford to quit?
I’m sure you will have heard this before and although it can be idealistic to just quit your job and follow your childhood dreams, you do have to reality check yourself – can you afford to pay the bills, mortgage, food shopping? Do you have dependants that need taking care of? Do you have a support network in case future employment offers don’t flourish immediately?
It’s so important to achieve job satisfaction in the workplace, but when considering a career shift we also have to be realistic in what’s achievable. Whilst I was lucky to live with my parents rent-free, I had to consider what the future looked like – I was desperate to own my own house again but this required a well-paid job and job security. On the other hand, I was also keen to have a career that aligned with my passions, values and industry interests and the latter was more important at the time and I had the choice to not pay a high monthly living cost. For many, this isn’t the case and careful consideration of finances is key.
If you’re leaving your job without another to go to, consider the impact on your mind and mental health. Jobs can offer a purpose, a goal for each day, an identity and a sense of need. When this is given up, it’s only natural that motivation can be hard to come by and doubts of self-worth and low self-esteem can creep in.
At its worst, people with long term unemployment are vulnerable to depression and other mental-ill health complications. If you’re leaving with time on your hands, ensure you have a project, a daily task or temporary work in the interim to fulfil your needs and to keep the mind active and engaged. This also gives you stead when interviewing for new roles, reassuring your potential employer that you’ve been proactive and productive in your time out of work.
- What’s your next move?
You’ve decided to leave, you’ve handed in your notice and the weeks are counting down. So what’s next? With your next job lined up, feelings of excitement, relief and forward-thinking are likely to flourish. But when you’ve taken the bold move into the unrecgonised land of unemployment, feelings of unrest, apprehension and fear can often loom. My top tips include:
- Decide what you actually like doing and investigate the possibilities of turning this into a career, or what current career opportunities are available in this field.
- Set aside a few hours a week were you’re dedicated to the task at hand and stick to these times, ensuring you’re as productive as possible.
- Try volunteering in the field you’re interested in. This will give you a great insight into a potential career path plus experience to help you enter into that career space.
- Ask for help. If you still don’t know what you’re looking for, working with a Life Coach could be just what you need to get you on the right track.
Choosing a new job or taking on a career change can be intimidating so try and think through all avenues and stay confident.