You don't have to hate your job to consider quitting. Feeling only lukewarm about the work you do or the team you work with can be enough to get you thinking about sprucing up your resume and firing up a new job search. Before you put the energy into looking for a new job altogether, it might be worth identifying the problem at hand, and seeing if there are ways to improve your current situation.
Image from #WoCinTech chat.
Below, a few options to consider before you pull the plug on your current place of employ:
What to Try on Your Own
Your first step in turning around your job is to evaluate which parts of your work energise you, and which tasks or responsibilities you dislike. Of course, there are things about every job that you must do, even if they aren't your favourite, but you can probably pinpoint some things that don't need to be on your plate.
Jenni Maier, Editor-in-Chief of The Muse, shares an exercise you can do to figure out the pros and cons of your role. She recommends you ask yourself the following questions:
- What assignments in the past few months have you been the most excited to tackle?
- Which projects are you most proud of?
- What makes you feel drained or simply uninspired?
- What can you learn?
- Who can you connect with?
- What skills can you add to your resume that will get you the job you want next?
Once you have answers to the above questions, look for ways for you to work more on what you're drawn to or projects or people you can learn from. This might take the form of stepping up when someone you feel you can learn from asks for extra help on a project, or asking your manager for support in being assigned to projects you enjoy.
Maier also points out that you can stay motivated by reminding yourself how your current work boosts your future career prospects:
Don't submit projects with the mindset that it will make your boss happy, but rather submit them with the mindset of, "Completing this at 110% will really help me get to where I'm going next!"
Work with Your Manager
You have to decide for yourself if your manager will be able to support you in your efforts, and not everyone has a good manager. If you do have the type of manager who can help you adjust your role, plan a conversation with them around goals.
Maier suggests using this time with your boss to get clarity on how your work and goals fit in with what the team is focusing on, and at an even higher level, what the company is striving towards. Knowing how your day-to-day work makes an impact can help you feel more motivated and satisfied even if you don't love everything you work on. This also opens up an opportunity for you to make sure you're on the same page as your manager and team; you may have thought something that was core to your role is actually not critical to the team's success and can be minimised in favour of work you do enjoy.
As a final tactic, Maier mentions you can apply for an internal transfer. This may be a difficult conversation to have with your manager or HR, but if it means you can stay at a company you like and move into work that suits you better, it could be worth it.
If you decide that things aren't getting better and you do end up finding something new, remember to leave in a professional way. Don't brag to your coworkers about your new gig, or trash talk the job you're quitting. Wrap up your projects as best you can, and leave documentation for what you can't finish. You want your reputation to stay strong and to preserve those connections.