January 18, 2008

Questions to ask yourself when deciding to leave your job

Okay, first things first. I apologize for the huge gap between this post and the last one. I’ve been getting quite a few e-mails from readers wanting some help – and now that the summer job search season is upon us, my friends are asking for any assistance. My goal is to get two postings done a week, and now that I’ve got some great ideas and more time, it shouldn’t be too hard.

Anyways, on to this week’s posting.

I’ve always been someone who loves ringing in the New Year – just not in an overpriced, extremely loud party environment!

I like it because the New Year gives me the best chance for some much-needed, in-depth personal assessments. Usually it starts with two questions – Where am I going? What do I want to do? And if you’re like me, then these inward reflections end up manifesting themselves as resolutions and changes.

One topic that I find always comes up is that of jobs. I often hear people say that they want to look for a job that truly offers what they want – be it a higher salary, more responsibility, or fewer hours.

But don’t just think these are the thoughts running through the minds of 20-something professionals. No, they are for everyone.

In fact, I recommend taking the chance in the beginning of the New Year to take a critical look at your job situation. Could something be improved? Is now the right time to get a job? What about leaving a job?

These are all really good questions to ask yourself.

Yet I often find that most people use the New Year as a chance to look at their job situation and make a promise that they will find a better job. I’ve done that before. Suddenly I find myself wondering if my current job is something I can see myself doing in the next 6 months.

And so for this week, I thought I’d talk about some of the questions s youth and students should ask themselves before they decide to resign from their job. And be warned, I’m about to go all Dr. Phil on you!

1) Do you really want to change jobs?

I find that some students say they’d like to work elsewhere, but the source of their stress is due to something else (e.g. school, personal relationships, etc.). Changing jobs, while being a band-aid solution to your stress right now, might in the long run just add to your stress levels.

2) Can you afford to change jobs?

The current reality is that many students need to work in order to continue with their studies. Even for those in high school, they feel the pressure to work so they can amass some savings before they enter into the often expensive world of post-secondary education.

3) Do you have another job lined up?

This might seem pretty basic, but it is surprising how many students leave their current job and have no offers from other companies. And the reality is, having gaps on your resume and hurt you. It’s much better to leave when you have something in place.

4) If you are leaving over a particular issue, has it been addressed?

Sometimes, I find that students and youth leave their jobs without properly addressing the issues as to why they are leaving. We all do it – I didn’t bring any issues to the attention of my boss while I working at my first job.

5) Can you manage with things the way they are?

If the issue has to do with employment standards or health and safety, then you should definitely leave. But let’s say you don’t get along with one of your supervisors, can you still work there but and just deal with this person by remembering that you only have to deal with them for a few hours a day.

6) Will you regret the decision?

Can you see yourself second-guessing your decision in a few weeks? If you are likely to have second thoughts, take some more time in making your initial decision to resign. After all, it’s really hard, if not impossible, to rescind an application.

In the end, making the decision to leave a job can really be a tough one to make. I’ve had to make these decisions before, and trust me, it doesn’t get easier.

The only piece of advice I can give you is to make sure the decision you make is based on the factors important to you. In the end, it’s your decision and you have to live with the end results.

Whatever you do, it really is only you that has to be okay with the path you have chosen. It’s your life and you’ve got to make decisions that work for you personally. After all, the decision that one person would make might not be the same as another person!

With that being said, looking forward, in my next post, I’ll be talking about the strategies you can use to successfully leave a job in a way that ensures no bridges are burned.

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