It’s Monday afternoon and you’ve finally had enough. You’re looking out of your office window, watching the rain lash the window and dreading the thought of yet another few hours spent in front of the computer, hammering out reports in which you have no interest whatsoever. You’re starting to become desperate; you’re internally screaming for change, but you just can’t bring yourself to take that final step.
If this sounds familiar, you’re in the same boat as millions of other people around the world. Your situation might be a little less drastic than this; you might not know you need a career change, but something small is nagging at you in the back of your mind and it’s growing with each passing day. If any of this sounds like you, then it might be time for a career change. Here are some tips to help you decide whether you need to switch careers, as well as some practical advice on how to do this.
Monday morning dread
When your head hits the pillow on Sunday night, you should be anticipating the Monday ahead. There are very few people who are lucky enough to regard their work with absolute pride and joy, but the last thing you should be feeling about your occupation is dread or shame. Everyone experiences boredom and frustration with their work from time to time; there isn’t a job in the world that doesn’t carry these caveats with it. If, however, you find yourself almost unable to get out of bed in the mornings because your hatred for the job is too strong, then it’s time to start thinking about a career change.
Toxic work culture
One of the strongest and most obvious warning signs that it’s time to leave your job is a toxic work culture. You can spot this by observing the relationships between your colleagues. Do they take every possible opportunity not just to gossip about coworkers behind their backs, but to try and establish cliquey relationships and divide the company? Is your email inbox full of passive-aggressive notes from your boss or colleagues, worded in such a way that it feels like a personal attack? If you answered “yes” to either of these, get out now: it’s only going to get worse.
You work hard and nobody’s acknowledging you. Yes, you take home a pay check every month, and it might be for a significant amount of money, but you’re just not getting the internal recognition you deserve. Maybe you’ve been passed over for a promotion several times in favour of a less deserving colleague, or maybe you’ve been asked to stay for unpaid overtime on a number of occasions and nobody’s thanking you for it. If you feel your role within your company is underappreciated, it’s time to find somewhere you’ll feel more welcome.
Quitting, step one – get your finances in order
Okay, so you’ve made the decision to quit. Your resignation letter is drafted (bottom line: be graceful, but not sycophantic) and you’re primed and ready to enter a new job. What now? The first and most important thing is to line up your finances. It’s wise to leave your old job with a significant bedrock in terms of bank balance, but if you just can’t stand it any longer there are plenty of other ways you can look for money. Taking out a loan is always a good shout if you’ve got another job lined up; logbook loans are highly recommended for those who can secure against their vehicle and could help you with a quick cash injection while you wait for that all-important first pay check at your new job.
Quitting, step two – find a new job (but not right away)
Jumping straight from one job into another is a good idea if you know the new place will definitely be better than the old one, but don’t take the plunge until you’ve done sufficient research. There’s a chance that your new job will be plagued with the same problems and shortcomings that your current workplace suffers from; before applying for a job, conduct extensive research on the company and its culture through sites like Glassdoor. Good companies will have nothing to hide, and testimonials from both ex- and current employees will be glowing. Make sure it’s the right job, and don’t be afraid to take a few days off before you start searching.
Quitting, step three – maintain good relationships
This one might not be possible if your work culture is toxic, but you should always try to maintain a good relationship with your ex-colleagues. For a start, you never know when references will be required, and there’s nobody better to look to for a reference than a manager or co-worker who truly appreciates the work you did while at the company. For another thing, connections are useful; you might need another job further down the line, and staying in touch with ex-colleagues could provide lucrative opportunities that you may not have found if you were searching alone. It’s always a good idea to stay on as many good sides as possible during your career.