Gone are the days when people stayed with a company for decades, loyal to the end and with no thoughts of leaving unless they were forced out. Now, people move frequently and do so for a variety of reasons. While there isn't a right or wrong reason to leave a job - it will differ for everybody - you will need to approach the decision carefully, weighing the benefits and consequences.
It can be tough to gauge if leaving your job is the right move for you, but there are several factors to take into consideration that can make the decision easier.
What Are Reasons To Leave Your Job?
When many people think about leaving a job, money is often a top priority. Will I make more money elsewhere? Am I giving up money here? While financial considerations have to be part of your decision-making process, they should not be the only reason you leave or stay in a position.
Importantly, though, you should remember that recent studies have shown that job switchers earn more in the long run than those who stay in stagnant positions. When torn between staying and leaving, remembering this could be the push you need to make a valuable career change.
But what other than money might be a motivating factor? Happiness should always be one. If you’re miserable in a job, the rest of your life will suffer, even your health. Stress is dangerous for your body, both physically and mentally, and a job that is hurting your health is simply not worth it. Stress in a job can come from any number of places – a bad boss, low pay and long hours, a toxic environment, and even just constant frustration that you are not appreciated or taken as seriously as you should be.
If you’ve been with a company for a while, and have approached management about other opportunities or advancement within the company, but have not been well received, it can be extremely frustrating. It may be that they are not invested in your success, but it may also be that the company is simply not growing and creating new opportunities for advancement. In this case, it is probably time to look elsewhere for opportunities that will put your talents to use and will probably be able to compensate you better.
Those Reasons Sound Familiar, But I’m Not Ready to Leave My Job
Are you sure? Many times, people point to reasons they aren’t ready or can’t leave their job, but don’t consider that the real obstacle is fear: fear of the financial consequences, fear of being seen as a job hopper, fear of change, fear of no other opportunities.
Perhaps you tell yourself that you’ll start looking for a job after your kids are done with school, because you don’t want to relocate and make them switch schools. Okay, well then are you going to say you don’t want to switch jobs while you have kids in college? If you really think about what’s stopping you, you may be naming a dozen reasons, but I bet behind all of them is fear.
Yes, there are certainly practical reasons not to leave, including relocation, but before you give up on leaving a job altogether, make you sure you consider all of your options. Just because you’ve looked at the local listings for Indeed.com, or checked the hiring pages of local companies and not seen any good opportunities doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Send your resume over, or reach out to colleagues and friends to see what kind of job openings they might be aware of that aren’t quite public. Sending in a resume and cover letter to a company just expressing your interest in a position should one become available will make you stand out, and could very well result in a job better than the one you currently have.
Another fear that many people have is that leaving a job could make them seem like a job hopper. As I mentioned earlier, there has been a huge shift in attitude about changing jobs. Even in the more recent past, two years in a job was seen to be the minimum length to stay in a job. Now, that’s as short as six to nine months. In short, as long as you’re not leaving a job every six months, you’re fine. If it’s not a pattern, and you need to make a change, job hopping should not be a concern.
Perhaps one of the biggest fears that stops people from leaving a job is the daunting task of finding another one. Writing a resume, filling out online applications, scouring job boards, reaching out to your network, writing cover letters, and sitting through interviews…it can seem overwhelming to even the most confident of job seekers. However, there are plenty of resources out there to help you – many are available right here on this website.
You can also ease this fear by putting out feelers well before you actually make the leap to leave a job. Keep your resume updated, stay in perpetual touch with your network, and do a weekly scan of job listings. That way, when the time comes to leave a job, you’ll have many pieces of the puzzle already in place and ready to go.
The next morning that you wake up worried about work and dreading sitting at your desk for the next eight hours, change your train of thought. Stop thinking about what you fear about leaving, and start thinking about what would be better about your life if you left. An opportunity for more money? Waking up feeling excited about the day? Better health? More opportunities for advancement? Think about these possibilities, and not your fears. You’ll find yourself ready to make the change and improve your life.
If your job is a constant source of stress without any payoff, it’s time to leave. There are opportunities out there for you and resources to help you navigate a job search. You, and your family, will be better off when you are in a job that fulfills you and properly compensates you.