Whether you call it “The Great WorkQuake,” “The Great Resignation,” or “The Great Reset”, up to 41% of employees are thinking about changing their career right now. There are a lot of reasons for them to consider leaving. A strong labour market is pushing up wages and benefits, and companies are offering additional perks to attract new talent. Some workers may be fed up with their existing company’s toxic or unappreciative culture, inflexible work arrangements, or pay inequity. Some may be suffering from burnout or general work/life dissatisfaction. Some are leaving their jobs simply because they can afford to — U.S. personal savings hit a record high of 33% this year. Add in the opportunities to “work from anywhere,” and you can understand why we’re seeing employees quitting in record numbers in 2021.
But before drafting your resignation letter, take a hard look at whether quitting is the best way to achieve your long-term career goals. So how do you know whether staying at your current company might be the better decision for you? Here are a few key factors to consider:
1. You have no idea what you want next – only that you don’t want what you have now
Too many aspiring career changers get so worked up resenting a job that isn’t ideal, yet they don’t have a viable alternative. By alternative, I don’t mean a new job in hand, but just a prototype for a job – roles that match what you want and companies that interest you. It’s critical that you are moving towards something you want and not just away from something you don’t.
I call this the pull-over-push reason for wanting a career change. You want to be pulled by the a glorious future – excitement for the role or industry, enthusiasm for what you can accomplish, eagerness to make a contribution in the new field. The pull is attractive to employers, and it’s a powerful guide to help you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of a career change. If you are just pushed out of your current situation – literally pushed out because your apathy caused your performance to drop or you quit out of feeling bored and undervalued – then quitting isn’t going to give you any more clarity. It’s just going to make you more anxious as your savings run down.
2. Your company may have unforeseen opportunities.
As key employees are departing companies, they’re triggering an organisational shuffle. Their departures could mean opportunities for you to take on new responsibilities, build new relationships, and be seen with fresh eyes by management.
If you’ve been building the right relationships, you can take advantage of this moment to both develop your skill set and add value to the organisation. You could end up with a new role — either a great lateral move or a promotion — or an opportunity to lead or participate in a strategic initiative that offers you increased visibility. The pandemic has led many companies to revisit their strategic goals and initiatives. As in poker, sometimes it’s best to just hold ‘em until you see everyone’s cards and can make an educated decision around your future.
3. You can’t name at least three professional connections who you could call right now to jumpstart your job search
Your network is so important to your job search and not just because it helps to have referrals. Even if you don’t get an introduction to a job, your network can provide information. For example, information about the people you’ll be interviewing with – what their personalities are like, what their work priorities are. Industry experts can give you nuance about the trends and challenges facing your dream employers so you can impress them with how much you already know. It’s so much more effective to tend to your network when you don’t need anything. Otherwise, getting back in touch feels contrived or even manipulative. Don’t be the person who only gets in touch when they need something. Before you quit your job, invest several weeks, if not months, on rekindling your professional connections. You want to flex your dormant networking muscles when you can take your time. Otherwise you risk rushing the process and overstepping your ask, a networking mistake even the smartest professionals make.
4. The best time to stretch your capabilities is in a job you hate
You can practice negotiating hard because if they fire you, that just means you get severance instead of quitting with nothing. You can practice pushing back on unreasonable requests or pitching ideas without fear of rejection because you have nothing to lose. You can finally set boundaries with your needy colleagues because you won’t see them soon enough. The best time to expand the negotiation, communication and relationship skills that you know you’re going to need in every job is in the job you have right now. At the very least, you were leaving anyway so if things get awkward, you’re out of there. But at its best, you might find that you greatly improve your environment, your relationships, even your stature. You might feel better enough about your job that you no longer want to quit.
5. It’s a great time to negotiate
Not completely happy with your current situation? Employees have unprecedented leverage at this time to reasonably discuss pay, working conditions, growth opportunities, workplace flexibility, and career-development benefits such as executive education and coaching support. Use this moment to approach your manager and have an open and professional dialogue around what’s possible and what will help you do your job even better. Keep it friendly and conversational — and come armed with data about your performance to make it easy for them to go to bat for you. Savvy companies are focused on retention and acutely aware of the risk and cost of losing great employees like you.
If you’re evaluating your work situation and not quite sure whether to stay or go, reflect on these questions:
- How satisfied am I in my job now? Consider everything from equitable pay, meaningful work, acceptable working conditions, benefits, job stability, healthy workplace culture, and opportunities for continued growth.
- What is likely to change (both positive and negative) at my company over the next six to 12 months? How could those changes benefit my career journey? Remember that a bad situation can still be an opportunity to grow given the right conditions.
- What actions can I take to increase the likelihood of moving into a more fulfilling within my company? Don’t hesitate to ask this question of your manager or other trusted advisors.
If you believe you have the ingredients you need to make the most of staying put, speak with your boss, sponsor, HR, and other people who support you. Demonstrate a powerful case for what you bring to the company, and express your commitment to being flexible and achieving company objectives. Stay connected with others, creating informal information networks, and don’t stop building your industry connections. Know your organisation and manager’s goals and volunteer strategically to contribute where you can make a positive impact. Staying put and doubling down is often the most effective strategy to get you the role and work life you’ve been dreaming about.
Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?
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