Most professionals can relate with the urge to update your resume, toss your work into the air, and leave your job forever – particularly after a stressful year, or when you feel undervalued and unappreciated. However, storming out of the office and not turning back may not be the most sound career plan.
When spending 40 hours a week in an unhappy space, it’s easy to conceive reasons why you should leave. But you need to take a breath, calm down, and think about two important reasons to stay.
It’s human nature to believe the grass will always be greener on the other side, particularly when considering a career move. The truth is, you’ll reap the highest returns where you put in the most meaningful investments.
When you’re in a negative space at work, even walking your neighbour’s dogs each day seems like a more viable career plan. But before making a rash decision to up and leave, consider the fact that every career path has pros and cons.
Consider what energises you to come to work, despite it being the last thing you want to do. The free coffee? Your work best friend? The opportunity to help out a colleague? The promotion that’s up for grabs?
Now, take action:
Water that grass. Have an honest and straightforward conversation with your manager (or team) about why you’re stagnating – you never know what could come of it. Alternatively, change your workplace relationships by crafting your interactions with others in ways that foster meaningfulness. Taking stock, and acting accordingly, is the best thing for your career, not walking away.
A study found that employers prefer to hire people who are already in a job.¹ If they see you aren’t employed, they assume it’s due to inadequacies or failings in your career. Whereas employed candidates are seen as valuable and more reliable.
Walking away from a career with nothing to walk toward is the equivalent of sentencing yourself to the job market for longer than necessary. Rather stay where you are, seek some career advice, and plan your next career move, whether it’s making the most of your job, starting your own company, getting headhunted or promoted, or taking a break from the workforce.
It isn’t always easy to stay in your job when the going gets tough. Here are a few tips that might help:
Figure out your 1, 3 and 5 year career plan
Knowing that your current job is simply a means to an end, in a much larger career strategy, helps you to draw inspiration from your future career plan. A view of the bigger picture helps you stick it out through dark times. If you don’t have long-term career objectives, develop a five year career plan.
Leave your work at the office
Often your attitude towards your job can impact your personal interactions. Rather allow your home life to affect your career positively. Find joy in the small things, such as time with the family, dinner with friends or a good book.
Do what makes you happy
Everybody has hobbies or interests outside their career that they’re passionate about; from fishing, to music, to art, to sports. Set aside at least an hour each week to immerse yourself in something that you love. It’ll be the happiness booster you need to avoid making a rash decision that negatively impacts your career path.