Are You Joining the Great Resignation?

How do you know if it’s a good time for a career change?

As we inch closer to the two-year mark since the beginning of COVID-19, we might be experiencing different feelings about our work. The shock effect of the pandemic got many of us reevaluating our job satisfaction and questioning our priorities. The familiar office setting where we got to socialize with our colleagues, walk to lunch, and commute daily, is now replaced by home offices and the need to navigate blurred work/home boundaries. If you’ve determined that you still enjoy your job – great! If not, could you be ready to join the “Great Resignation”? Google it and you’ll see numerous surveys showing that up to 60% of employees are looking for a new job. How do you know if it’s a good time for a career change?

Ask yourself if you really dislike your job

We’ve noticed that burnout, especially pandemic burnout, that hasn’t manifested into clinical depression is sneaky. One minute, you’re humming along fine thinking you’re managing the stress okay. The next day, you suddenly have no interest in your job. You think you love your job, but you don’t feel like doing it right now. You still have some energy, but you don’t want to sit down to do your job. This is a sure sign that you need a break. If possible, get away from your surroundings and immerse yourself in a new experience for as long as you can. Once you’ve had time to rest and recharge, then come back and ask yourself if you were burned out or if you really don’t like your job. And please, if you feel that you are depressed or have suicidal thoughts, reach out to a healthcare professional.

If you’re having issues in your current job that you haven’t fully addressed with your manager, then now is your chance. We often assume something like, “Shouldn’t my manager know that it’s not right to send me emails at 11pm?” We wish we could say that every manager possesses amazing leadership skills. Unfortunately, many managers are not equipped to be great leaders. Fortunately though, most are capable of growing their leadership skills, but not if their blind spots remain blind spots. We encourage you to give your manager feedback (see the ABCs of feedback in our previous article). You may be pleasantly surprised that change can occur.

Make a list of likes and dislikes

Okay, let’s say you’ve given your manager feedback, but nothing changes. Now you’re not sure whether you should begin looking for another job. A good way to begin exploring is to start with your current role. You list of likes and dislikes could be things like:

  • Skills needed to do your job
  • Company mission, vision, and values
  • Work environment, and culture
  • Relationship with your manager and co-workers
  • Manager’s leadership style
  • Career development and your future in the company

First, what do you see in the likes column? What on the list would you also want in your next job? Second, look at the dislikes column. Have you addressed any of the dislikes with your manager and/or company to see if these can be changed to a “like” or at least removed from the dislike column? Third, look for overall themes – maybe you’ll see that you like the work you’re doing, e.g. chemistry, but you’d rather do it in a startup and not in a large public company. Or perhaps you love programming, but don’t want to lead a team. Once you’ve completed this exercise for your current role, do a similar exercise for all the roles you’ve had, including volunteer work, jobs you hated, and even high school jobs. You may rediscover old passions, wonder whether you can get paid for work you thought was only volunteering, or examine skillsets you’d like to further acquire.

Look over your lists and ask yourself what your must-haves and nice-to-haves are that would be necessary to change jobs, and then stick to them. For instance, say you really like a short commute. Don’t take a job with a 3 hr round trip commute unless you’re really willing to commit to it. We’ve seen too many examples where people take a job with a long commute, only to resign within 6 months because they hated the commute!

This begs the question, if they knew they wanted a short commute, why did they take the job in the first place? Too often, people let fear rule the day. What might the fears be? Maybe it’s the fear of getting stuck in a dead-end job, fear of the “right” job not coming along, or fear of missing out. The list of fears can be endless. Take some time to identify what your fears may be.

Try these exercises

If you complete the exercises above and still find yourself on the fence about making a move, grab a journal and ponder some of these questions:

  • What would happen if you did nothing?
  • What will it mean for your life/career if you do/don’t change jobs?
  • If you haven’t already, name the fear(s) that is preventing you from changing.
  • What ideal solution would make that fear decrease or disappear?
  • How can you make that ideal solution become reality?
  • Pretend it’s 5 years in the future and you’re in your dream job. How would future you describe the steps it took to get there?

Change can be scary, especially so if you can’t figure out what you want to do. Or maybe you have so many ideas that it paralyzes you. Try Lori’s Personal Board of Advisors exercise that will provide hope and direction in a fun and collaborative way. The bonus? You’ll end up with a bunch of folks who’ll be your built-in recruiting team and cheerleading squad, because they’ll be equipped to point you in the right direction and may even help you land your next role. If you’re wanting a more contemplative exercise, try Kate’s recommendation of the book Designing Your Life.

Still stuck? That’s okay. This is a big decision. We have detailed Dream Job Characteristics and Questions to Consider worksheets for you. DM us or leave a review if you’d like more guidance on this topic.

Next topic: You’re an introvert and a highly sensitive person. As a C-suite executive or manager, how can you lead well if you’re not as aggressive as your boss, or fit the stereotypes of what a boss should act? How can you still get people to do what you need them to do?

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