The dilemma is fairly common – especially in the first 5 years of working when you are still discovering yourself and your world. The reactions you get from people around you are pretty predictable too. It either a variation of “Hey, nobody’s life is perfect. Just stick it up and stay put.” Or its an exuberant, “Yeah, right, just follow your heart. You are young, do what feels right.”
Okay, so it probably more the former than the latter. And its good advice, of course, as many who have followed it can tell you. But so is the other side, the “go-find-your-thing” side. Plenty have followed the not-so-beaten track and been more successful that they were before. So how would you know what is the right choice for you?
5 indicators to check before you decide to quit
1. You don’t like the people
This could be your boss, your team mates, or others with a large influence on your work every day.
While this is often quoted as the primary reason why people quit (https://hbr.org/2016/09/why-people-quit-their-jobs), it also forces a person into a somewhat unfair choice – to quit a company or role that is really great just because of a few *#@s.
My Advice: Hang in there!
Find solutions, connect with the people you hate – the worst type of lion can be tamed and everyone has a fun side. Share your troubles with others who may have faced similar situations and explore solutions – online as well as through friends. Remember, you don’t need to love or like someone to work with them. Only be able to work with them.
And if nothing works, remember, people do leave organisations, teams and offices. Hang in there!
2. You don’t like the culture
This is a tougher one since culture resides with more than one person or team. It could be the culture to work long hours and on weekends, or it could be the culture of raging blame-games, or it could be the culture of too much bureaucracy or process.
My Advice: Depends on your seniority. Its time to start looking if …
…you’re a fairly small fish in a big pond and its tough for you to influence the culture. But if you’ve been around for a while, this is a critical time to display leadership and impact the people you work with. Learn the skills and go for it – it’s something you have to do sooner rather than later as you grow.
But if you decide that moving is the best option, make your move with care. If culture matters so much to you, perhaps you want to find out about the companies you are applying to before you make the jump. Talk to employees (and ex-employees), read company reviews on the internet, even go so far as to ask about the company’s culture in the interview. The last thing you want is to jump from the frying pan into the fire!
3. You want to do some other work
You feel like the work doesn’t engage you. Or perhaps you downright hate it. Your mind is always on something else and you find it tough to focus on your work. Mondays are a chore and the you can hear the countdown towards Friday even on Wednesday morning.
My Advice: Depends on how long you’ve been doing this work.
Anything less than six months indicates that you are still to “settle into” your work. Once you get over the initial hump of learning how it’s done, you may find the stress levels falling and you may start enjoying stuff you hated before. It’s been known to happen!
Even if you’ve been around for a year or more, it’s a good idea to see the bigger picture. Find some successful people in this field and read their life stories. You may find inspiration and even discover an approach to work in the same field that really gets you going and leverages all your experience in the field.
If you’re serious about exploring new options though, check out our Online Career Test – you’ll find career fields that suit you, courses and learning resources to get you started and even jobs to explore!
4. You are not happy with your compensation
This is a double-edged sword and if you’ve been agonizing over this for a while, you probably already know this. People have been known to trade off compensation against work culture and even the comfort of staying in a familiar organization before. But hey, that’s your personal story.
My Advice: Do something about it.
Quitting may not be your only option. A frank conversation about your aspirations and opportunity cost – aimed at generating options rather than pointing a gun at your manager’s head – may help you find growth paths you had previously not considered. It would help to reiterate your commitment to find a solution rather than to leave. If nothing works, though, approach finding greener pastures with care – you don’t want to making a trade-off that you’ll regret before the year is out!
5. You are simply unhappy at work, don’t know why
Maybe you find the hours too long, or perhaps the continuous pressure of targets wears you down. Perhaps it’s the people or perhaps it’s the culture – it’s tough to put your finger on it.
My Advice: Seek help to understand the situation before you decide.
Focus on yourself for a bit – talk to family and friends. Meet a counselor or therapist. Connect with Mentors. Start a spiritual practice! Consider that you may be emotionally strained due to any reason – personal or professional – and that is putting a bad taste in your mouth for everything. Give yourself three to six months of guided introspection before taking a decision.
Have we missed the reason you are considering quitting? Want to discuss things with a mentor? Write into us at email@example.com
About the author: Richa leads Stoodnt in India. An IIM Ahmedabad and St Stephens College alumnus, Richa has been working with students and working professional in Career Guidance and WorkLife Skills Training for over a decade now. Richa is the author or The Ultimate Guide to 21st Century Careers published in 2017.