Deciding to leave a job is a big decision, and not one to be made lightly. Before leaving, it can be important to investigate if you can fix any problems that may be causing you to want to leave. Try and fix the work situation first; maybe you need ask for a pay rise, or ask if there is potential to join a training course, if your role seem stagnant.
If you have tried to improve your work situation but still feel unhappy, maybe it’s time for a fresh start.
In this article, I cover some of the overarching themes that have come up in conversations with thousands of candidates when discussing why they want to leave their current position.
Although this can be a hard decision to make, you will feel so much better when you decide to take action towards a better working life.
Sign 1: You don’t feel encouraged to learn and grow
There are two sides to this point.
Firstly, are you continuously learning new things in your role? Learning opportunities are shown to increase overall performance and motivation as employees feel they are moving forwards in their role. Some companies encourage you to move around different departments or to work on different projects so employees can get a fresh perspective. Learning is just one side of it.
Secondly, must also feel like your learning and development is leading somewhere. Having a career development path and regular appraisals can help you understand what you are working towards. According to Global Talent Monitors report, 40% of employees leaving a business cite lack of future career development as a key factor.
If you don’t feel like you are learning or growing, then this could be a sign you need to change jobs.
Sign 2: Sundays are filled with dread
Perhaps it’s not just Sunday’s that fill you with dread, but maybe you struggle to get up in the morning or go to sleep at night, for worry of what the next day at work has in store. These could be signs that your work situation is unhealthy.
A recent report found that 49% of employees feel a sense of dread at least once a week.
There are many reasons you could be feeling like this. Here are some of the top reasons people dread going to work according to the report:
· A feeling of unpredictability
· Feeling overwhelmed by expectations to take on more work
· Rising expectations and the worry of not meeting them
Other reasons around feeling work anxieties could include feeling undervalued and underpaid, having a bad boss, or experiencing a toxic work environment. Whatever the reason for your workplace stress, it is important to protect your mental and physical health.
Be encouraged that there is a way out, and you can change jobs to find a new opportunity that gets you excited in the morning.
Sign 3: You’ve lost your passion or stopped caring
There are many reasons why you may have lost your passion for your job.
· Long-serving staff: You may have been in a role so long that you now work on auto-pilot, sleep walking through your day.
· Company culture: Maybe the company culture doesn’t fit your values, or you don’t like the leadership, and as a result, you might distance yourself from putting yourself forward to help or attend work events.
· You simply don’t enjoy your job: Maybe you don’t enjoy your job and its tasks, and it could be time to change careers completely. The thought of having to do the next task feels like pulling teeth. This happens more often than you think.
It’s important that you consider the exact reasons you lost your passion, so you can prevent the same problems in your next role.
Don’t burn your bridges
If all the signs are pointing to you needing to quit your job, my initial advice is to plan carefully, so you can find the right new role first. These things take time, especially in today’s slower economy, where there is less job availability.
You may want to work with a specialist recruiter who can provide you with access to some of the most interesting companies in your industry. Or maybe you want to do your research to find the types of roles and companies you want to work for first.
Once you have found a new role and received your job offer, remember that the way you leave a company can matter. You may need to rely on them for a future reference, and you’ll be surprised at how word of mouth can spread, especially in certain industries and specialisms. In your exit interview, make sure to be polite and say thank you for the opportunity. If you decide you want to give honest feedback about the reasons you are leaving, try to be diplomatic, making a list of the key reasons so you can be clear and keep emotion out of it, where possible. Feedback is valuable for when you leave an organisation, so they can figure out the next steps they might want to take in improving the employee experience.
Frequently asked questions and concerns when someone is considering leaving their job
I have been asked a number of questions over the years by candidates when they are considering leaving a job and are not 100% decided on their decision yet. Here are a few examples:
Permanent staff: I’m worried I’ve not been in my role long enough to change roles. Will future employers judge me?
In my experience, most employers care about getting the best talent for their business, while fitting their culture. Although the duration you’ve been in a role will be looked at, employers tend to focus on the full package, experience, and skills you bring, so it shouldn’t matter too much.
Contractors: Should I wait until the end of my contract before changing positions?
Overall, I would advise people to stay for the duration of their contract and look to secure a new contract to start around the time your contract finishes. The reason is that it can reflect negatively on you if a business asks for references. The majority of organisations hire a contractor with the view of securing the services for the project length, which can have a detrimental effect on their project. If this happens on more than one occasion it could be seen as a red flag. I understand this is not always possible, especially if a work situation is particularly bad. That’s why it’s good to work with a recruiter who can help guide you through the process.
I’m worried about finding the time to search for jobs and go for interviews while working full time. Can you help advise?
Working with a recruiter can help take away some of the strain, as they can send jobs directly to you. You could look to book interviews over lunchtimes, at the end of the day, or even book time off if needed. If you are struggling for time, discuss this with your recruiter who can help liaise with a new potential employer. Virtual interviews help save time on travel and can be better fitted into a schedule.
How will my current employer react when I hand in my notice? I’m worried they might respond badly.
It’s never nice handing in your notice, especially when you are worried about the reaction. However, the best thing to do is to make sure you have a signed contract from your new employer before doing anything. Book in a meeting with your boss to hand your notice in and maintain professionalism. If you anticipate a difficult conversation, it could help to request a HR representative, or another employee to sit in on the conversation with you. Ensure you have your notice letter prepared thanking them for the opportunity and wishing them the best. Leaving an organisation on good terms is always advisable to protect your personal reputation. Don’t burn bridges as you never know when your paths may cross with colleagues or managers in the future.
Trust your gut and make that positive change
You may have a whole host of reasons for wanting to leave your job, or perhaps it’s just a gut feeling that the role or company isn’t the right one for you. Trust that feeling and take steps to make things better.
If you are ready to make a positive change, and find a job that makes you smile again, you can browse our job opportunities here. Alternatively, upload your CV here and we’ll match you with suitable job opportunities.
About the author
Chris Witts, Associate Director within the Gravitas London Technology team, has worked in recruitment for over 14 years, joining Gravitas in 2020. He manages the London technology contract division. Chris is driven by his passion for helping to make a difference to people’s lives, whether that's placing a candidate into their dream role, helping clients hire top tech talent, or working with his team to help them reach their full potential inside & outside of work.