1 out of 5 people are considering leaving their jobs this year. Of course we have the cost of living crisis on top of this work recalibration and quitting today might not feel possible, but how do you tell if you really want to throw in the towel? Here are 5 things to help you make that decision.
Drop the idea of the perfect job
Newsflash! There is no such thing as the perfect job. The thing is social media forgot to tell us that. When you see your peers having a jolly good time at work, it’s easy to believe that they’ve landed the perfect job whilst you’re wallowing in mediocrity.
Remember that all jobs have their ups and downs. There are periods when work feels intense, stressful, and hopefully times when it’s dialled down and brings more joy. It’s likely that there will always be people that get on your nerves. Ask yourself ‘is this job okay for now and what can I do to improve things?’
Write it all out and get rid of the work angst
I’m a big fan of using writing techniques to clear the brain junk out of the system. If you find that you’re trapped in a bad bout of ruminating about work, your role, your relationship with your boss, a particular colleague, a project that’s driving you bonkers, it’s useful to do a brain dump on paper.
See if you can identify any key themes. Our brain tends to follow familiar patterns – what’s the narrative? Then ask yourself which factors are permanent and which are transitory.
Many of us become less tolerant as we age (or we tell ourselves we are less tolerant). We’ve seen the shit kick off at work. We jump to the easiest conclusion. This might mean that we drag up an unhelpful story around our own abilities i.e. I can’t do this or we judge someone we work with and slot them into a narrative that doesn’t serve us.
This rigidity is not helpful. When you get feedback try and re-frame it. Think about how it can make you grow and learn rather than how it can hold you back. Try and remove the self-judgement. It is not personal and if it feels personal then ask for more information i.e a specific example of your skills gap. Move on. Many of us get into fight or flight mode when we feel we are under attack. Question whether it’s your job that is the real problem or the fact that the feedback makes you uncomfortable.
Ask for support
If you’re in menopause then it’s likely that you will have days when anxiety and overwhelm come out of nowhere. This makes it hard in terms of decision making. Is it your hormones? Or is it actually just a really awful job?
Be mindful of doing anything rash. Recently I had a particularly hard bout of menopausal mood shifting going on and it made work hard to navigate. I wanted to just run away but my employer was supportive and I realised with hindsight that it wasn’t the job, it was me and I needed more support in place to help me.
Find a trusted mentor
When you’re having a career crisis and can’t work out what to do next then it’s helpful to have a friend or an ex-colleague, someone you admire to help you sort out what to do next. This person can help you clarify what to do next as so much of our emotional life gets tied up with work and we can’t separate our feelings from what’s happening. Mentors can be younger than you too and these are often the most inspiring relationships. A younger mentor has a different perspective, maybe carries less baggage when it comes to work and can even help you identify your weaknesses (for me it’s sometimes tech or that’s what I tell myself).
Finally, be bold. We will be working for a long time, so if you still feel like your role sucks it’s time to get on Linkedin and brush up your CV. Power up your support team i.e. friends and family and start plotting what you want to do next. Don’t let the ‘Sunday night scaries’ dominate your life.
By Anniki Sommerville
For more tips read: The Big Quit: How to ditch the job you hate and find work you love by Anniki Sommerville
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