As much work as it is to find a job, it can be even tougher to leave one. For starters, it can take people months, if not years, to make the decision to leave. (Apparently we're creatures of habit and comfort.) And, regardless of whether you're excited about your next endeavor or have just been let go, career changes yield feelings of uncertainty and stress. Fortunately, you're not the first person to be in your position, whatever it may be; there are good and not-so-good ways to handle the whole transition. From deciding whether it's time to jump to landing safely on the other side, here are our best tips for navigating the change with ease.
7 SIGNS IT'S TIME TO QUIT YOUR JOB
- You're already thinking about a new job or working on a business idea. If you've started to mentally check out, it's probably time to physically do so, as well. You're not doing anyone - yourself included - any favors by sticking around. You're likely not as productive as you once were, which your employer will eventually notice. And you're not giving your new venture 100%, either. You're just delaying the inevitable. Seize the day and move on!
- Your recap of your workday is filled with complaints and negativity. When your spouse asks you "how was work?" and you automatically launch into what so-and-so did that drove you nuts or the latest frustration with your boss, it might be time to quit. (Or at least deal with so-and-so head on so you can focus your energy on your job.)
- You're losing sleep or exhibiting other symptoms of extreme stress. If your work is affecting your health negatively (beyond the point of which you can counterbalance it with stress-relieving measures), it's not worth it. Simple as that.
- You have a "Case of the Mondays" everyday. If you can't get out of bed in the morning, dread starting a new week every week, and/or call in sick without a real and/or worthwhile reason, it's time to reevaluate.
- You're bored. If you're bored, you're likely not learning, growing or being adequately challenged in your job. Find another opportunity that will engage your mind! The world needs your brainpower.
- You don't like who you work with or for. Here, it's important to differentiate between sentiments of "I don't like my boss" and "I wouldn't like any boss." If you're experiencing the former and can't see yourself moving past your differences, you need to work for someone else (even if it's a move within your company). If it's the latter, you either need to either a) check your attitude and get on board, or b) go to work for yourself. And if you're not sure which scenario you're dealing with, talk to a friend (outside of work) to get second opinion.
- You don't like the company's culture. If you're not comfortable in your work environment, you may have a hard time feeling connected, and an even harder time feeling committed. If your company's culture is all about free lunch and foosball but all you want to do is get in and get out, it's time to find a better fit.
If you're still not sure, pickup Seth Godin's book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). It'll do the trick.
HOW TO QUIT GRACEFULLY
Tell your boss first, in person. Yes, even before Human Resources. If your boss is the "last one to know," it'll look like she isn't in tune with her team. Help her save face - even if you don't like her - by scheduling a meeting with her before news spreads.
Give ample notice but don't stick around too long. Two weeks notice is the recommended minimum for a reason. It gives you time to tie up loose ends and allows your employer to start finding and training your replacement. Heads up: your boss may ask for more time, especially if you're a valuable employee and they didn't know you were planning to leave. Even if a delayed departure is an option (i.e. you aren't starting your new job immediately), proceed with caution. Employers often feel a longer transition is helpful, but you'll inevitably start to mentally check out and your replacement may want to start moving forward in her new role without you looking over her shoulder.
Facilitate a smooth transition. Wrap up your projects, notify your business contacts of the change, and help with training. Undoubtably, your replacement will not know everything she needs to before you leave. Let her know you're only an email or call away... odds are, she'll never bother you (she'll ask her new boss instead) but you'll look kind.
Keep it professional. Even if you can't wait to leave, smolder your burning desire to shout "sayonara suckers!" and flip everyone off on the way out. It's a small world - your current boss may run into your new one at an industry function. Or you may need a reference in the future. If you're asked for feedback in an exit interview, be honest. But only share criticism if its constructive.
Say thank you. Send a handwritten note to your boss. It's a little thing that goes a long way.
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