Top reasons to leave the job – My story of how I went from career hell to career happiness through changing career
It was another Monday morning, lying in bed and counting the seconds until I knew I had to get up. I had that terrible feeling of dread. Feeling exhausted when thinking of the long drive to work, of the constant meetings, of the impossible deadlines, of the office politics and pressures to meet the changing deadlines. Of having a difficult boss, and the impossibly long working hours whilst trying to run a house, garden and feed my relationships at the same time. I thought of the week ahead and indeed the years ahead …but I knew there was no escaping having to get up!
As the seconds ticked away, I had a thought that would change my life – perhaps if I had a car crash and broke my legs, then I wouldn’t have to go to work! It was that completely irrational thought that gave me clarity. Was I thinking that I should risk my life in a car crash to avoid going into work? Or… would a change of career be a better option?
This was years ago, but that profound thought gave rise to a career with meaning and purpose and one that I love.
At that time, I worked in head-office for a large retail company. I was a Buying Manager and hated the role. It just wasn’t me. Negotiating with suppliers and doing complex range reviews just didn’t interest me. I got on that career path by accidentally falling into logistics and supply chain after university. Realising that wasn’t the right career path for me, I moved into purchasing which I thought would be more enjoyable. I loved the people there but had found myself in roles that were completely unsuitable for my natural abilities. The roles didn’t suit my values of autonomy and fairness and the long drive to and from work and long hours meant I was heading for complete burnout.
I felt trapped and miserable. Was this it? Was this how work had to be? I still had years before I could retire! Why would I want to leave my job when I had a good salary and the prestige of working for a big brand? Also, what would I do for my work, for my career? I wasn’t interested in supply chain or buying so what else was there? I felt lost. But I knew something had to change. So, I handed in my notice to leave the job.
What I know now
What I didn’t know at that time but makes sense now, is this time at work gave me an understanding about what doesn’t work for me at work. Later on, (after trying out other career paths such as estate agency, recruitment, interior design) I realised that time gave me a real sense of meaning and purpose to what I do now – to help others not be as miserable as I was at work and to leave the job they hate and do something else so they can have career happiness. I learnt when it’s a must to leave your job and change jobs or careers.
Top reasons to leave the job and do something else
1. Your job is making you ill
If you feel exhausted all the time and find it hard to get going, even on the weekend or days off. Or you may feel emotional or weepy for no apparent reason and find it hard to control this. It may be a case of finding it hard to get to sleep or indeed to stay awake during the day. Or you may have had prolonged periods of over-work or been in situations you find stressful such as having atoxic boss and stress is down to the job rather than any other reason. This is a reason to leave the job.
2. You Dread going to work
Do you go to sleep every night dreading the next day of work? You have a Miserable Monday every Monday? You stay awake late Sundays so the weekend is longer? Everyone has ups and downs in their work but if you truly, deeply dread those eight or so hours at the office, it is time to make plans to change what you do for work.
3. Your work feels meaningless
If you are counting the hours until the end of the day and you are bored and feeling you are wasting your life with pointless and meaningless work that you don’t enjoy, its time to find something else. One of the keys to workplace happiness and work engagement is having a sense of meaning and purpose to what you do. If you really can’t find it in your work, you might want to think about what would give you that sense of purpose.
4. Your work doesn’t match your values
If what you do clashes with your values or if you work in a culture that doesn’t fit with who you are, that is a reason to leave the job. Values are so important to how we feel about work and it is vital to feeling your values match to that of the organisation. Think about what is matters to you at work. For example, if you have values such as autonomy or work/life balance and the company expects you to be available 24/7 – that’s not going to be a job that works for you.
5. Your negativity outweighs your positivity
Think about your conversations with friends and family members. Are you constantly complaining about your boss, co-workers, about your workplace, or about your job itself? Your job should bring positive energy into your life. Apart from anything else, it is exhausting for others too, if you constantly complain. If you find yourself constantly complaining about work, that’s a sign that you either need to think differently about your work, or it is a reason to leave the job.
6. Your workplace is constantly negative
Emotions are contagious! Having a negative boss or colleagues can be catching! A negative organisational culture can mean that complaining, negativity and a victim mentality is rife through the company. It is not conducive to a healthy work-life and it’s a reason to leave the job.
7. You are being unfairly paid or treated
If you feel overqualified for your job or underpaid for what you, that can affect career satisfaction. Sometimes we do have a sense of unfairness around pay that is not necessarily founded, so do your research around the going rates for pay. When an organisation is not doing well people can be paid below the going rate. But if the company is doing well and your pay doesn’t match up with your level of expertise, with no changes to this happening on the horizon, that is a reason to leave the job.
8. Your confidence is eroded by work
If you have a manager who does not bring out the best of you or give you feedback, if you are in an oppressive environment where you can not express yourself or speak up, you may feel your confidence is being eroded. Your confidence can also be affected by the work itself if there is no room for growth or you feel you are not using the skills you have, you may feel you are being “deskilled” and your confidence is going downhill. It is a reason to leave the job and find work where you can grow and flourish.
Before you hand in your notice….
Everyone had good days and bad days at work. How do you know its really time for a change? Here is my checklist before you write your
Checklist before you hand in your notice
- You have tried to think differently about what you do – we can get into a negative spiral of negativity. Try making a concerted effort to think positively and be grateful for the work you have
- This feeling of dissatisfaction has been going on for a while – months rather than days
- You have a plan – this might mean study to change direction or you may have another role lined up. If you leave a job without something else lined up there are financial implications
- You have spoken to your manager to explore other options in the organisation or you have looked for roles that might appeal to you more or thought about a secondment if possible
- You have explored other options such as a sabbatical (if available) to take time out to think about what you want to do next