Despite the satisfaction we may get watching it on TV, quitting your job in a fit of frustration or with a big mic-drop moment isn’t the wisest real-life move.
Quitting for the wrong reasons or in the wrong way can really only harm yourself: there could be opportunities you’re leaving on the table, or a challenging situation you’re walking into blindly.
Elgan O’Donnell from our Dunedin crew is here to help. He’s put together a checklist of things to ask before you quit, and run us through why you should and shouldn’t look for the door, to make sure you’re making the right decision for your career.
Why you shouldn’t quit your job
“We had someone in last week, who was wanting to leave simply for more money,” explains Elgan, “I stopped him there and asked if he’d spoken to his manager about this, and he said no. So I said ‘Okay, go talk to your manager. If he can’t help you then call me back’. He called back the next day and said ‘Thanks for that advice, I spoke to my manager and got a pay rise and I’m staying’. Just being open and asking the question saved us all a lot of time – and him a lot of effort.”
When the cost of living is so high it’s easy to think of money as the be-all and end-all of career motivations, but in reality it’s one of the lesser reasons why someone should quit their job. Team culture, professional development, and satisfaction in your role are all far more important factors for happiness. What would happen if you accepted a higher offer from elsewhere, only to find that the projects aren’t as stimulating as your old job, or the team culture isn’t all that they promised it would be?
Before you let dollar signs get to your head, if there are no other red flags at your current work the best thing to do is speak to your manager. Let them know where you’re at and what you need, and see if there’s an in-house solution first.
Two good reasons to quit
“There are a number of things that make people rethink their jobs, at the top being stress and overwork, which has increased a lot over the last couple of years as working environments have changed,” says Elgan. “One key source of this is an increased workload, where another team member resigns or is moved to a different role and not replaced, and their work is simply redistributed around the other team members. That can add a lot of stress and some resentment too.”
At the other end of the scale, boredom is another common reason workers will look for an exit. If you’re not challenged in your role or have skills that aren’t being utilised, it’s easy to become disengaged. Opportunities to grow and develop within a team are major contributors to workplace happiness, and one of the first things we recommend managers look at when building retention strategies to hold onto their team.
However, these two things – stress and boredom – are still not a reason to quit in and of themselves. Your first step, just like with money, should be to speak to your manager to see if they can be solved in-house.
The point at which quitting comes in is when you’ve communicated these issues to your manager and your feedback hasn’t been taken on board or you’ve been fobbed off. If you’ve raised your concerns openly and honestly, and allowed time for those concerns to be considered and actioned, but nothing has been done, that’s when we’d consider walking away the best way forward.
Your checklist before you quit your job
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of speaking to your manager before you quit, but that’s only one step to ensuring you’re making the right choice for your future career goals.
Here’s what to ask yourself before you quit:
How long have I been feeling this way?
Try to identify if this is a long-term or short-term feeling, i.e. have you just come back from leave and have the post-holiday blues, or has this been building and getting worse over time?
If I was to move, what would I be giving up and what would I gain?
A good old pros and cons list never hurt anyone, and is a clear way to nut out both sides of the equation.
Does this align with my long-term career goals?
Can you progress and reach your goals at your current place of employment, with some tweaks? Or would you ultimately have to move elsewhere anyway? What step would help get you closer to your long-term career goals?
Have I given my current manager a chance to make it work for me?
We’ve spoken about this already, but there’s every possibility your current manager could help build a pathway to get you where you want to be if you just let them know and give them a chance. Give them as much notice as possible, and be open to working with them over a period of time to get what you need. Negotiating with a manager who already knows your work and the value you bring can be easier than one where you’re starting fresh.
What can managers do?
If you get the sense that one of your team is about to quit, it’s essential to act as quickly as you can. If they won’t come to you, it’s up to you to be proactive and approach them to encourage an open discussion about their future.
Once you’ve got that picture of what they’re lacking and what they need, it’s about implementing a plan to address those issues wherever possible. Check in with them regularly, so they can see the effort you’re making and follow up on proposed actions.
How Crew can help
Everyone is different and will make the move from one job to another for different reasons. Our job as a recruiter is to understand those motivations, and question and challenge them to make sure these decisions are made for the right reasons.
We’ll work with you to make sure your decisions align with your career goals – even if that means simply suggesting you speak to your manager first! When you’re ready to make the leap and quit, we’ll be there to help you find the right path forward.