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Before Quitting Your Job, Ask Yourself These Five Questions

Think you’re ready to move on from your current role? Consider these first

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 07 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We’ve all been there. We know that all too familiar suffocating feeling when deadlines are closing in and demanding bosses aren’t making your work life any easier. You start dreading Mondays and drag yourself to work every morning. You’ve finally reached your boiling point and want to quit your job.

But before writing that resignation letter and bid your co-workers adieu, ask yourself these questions first:

1. Do I have the power or influence to change or improve my situation?

John Thornton, director of talent for Thailand-based career platform WorkVenture, says it is important to ask this question or at least consider it. “Too often now in the market, we see employees consider job change after facing one obstacle. It has become easier to change jobs than try to fix the problem,” he says.

Thornton observes that employees quit because of either the boss or the company. Perhaps you might be facing a problem that is totally out of your control, or a problem that is so severe that the only solution is to resign. But ask yourself: Is there someone I can talk to? Do we have a union representative that will listen to my concerns?

Good employers should encourage and create an environment for feedback anyway. Hence, “showing your determination and grit to pull through a challenging situation will speak volumes about your character,” says Thornton.

2. Have I added value in my present role?

Anj Vera, founder and CEO of Philippine-based employer branding firm TalentView, says people often think that it's time to move on when they have already completed a project or a major assignment only to find out that they could not replicate their success in their new role.

She says, “It's critical for professionals to know what value they were able to add.” For instance, if you are currently a project manager, were you able to implement a new project management process for your company to cut cost, manage resources or retain more clients? If the answer is yes, then it is likely that you have a value-adding mindset and therefore can replicate this thought process in future roles.

However, Vera adds, if you cannot answer these questions with hard data, it means you simply delivered what was in your job description and will probably need more professional maturity to recognize that your success in the future depends on how well you can add value in the present.

3. Have I learned all that I could?

We join organizations for reasons that go far beyond the money. We join for the culture, mentorship, contacts, and industry expertise. And while it’s relatively easy to leave and say we can’t take it anymore, think about whether you are ready to move on from this phase in your career. In short: Will you walk away from this role a better leader?

Entrepreneur J.T. O’Donnell suggests, in her Inc. article, a career fast-track equation to help you along. She says in order to fast-track your career, you need to take the emotion out of the equation. The first step is trying to experience as much as you can. Next, mindfully assess what you’ve learned—both good and bad. And lastly, resolve yourself to grow by taking what you’ve learned and applying it to future situations.

“We need experiences to teach us things in order to build our skills and credibility. In this early career phase, we all make mistakes, fail, and even let our employers and co-workers down,” O’Donnell writes.

4. Am I growing with my manager?

They say people don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers. Does your boss simply tell you what to do and rate you based on obedience? Are you given the trust and freedom to think through challenges?

For Vera, a good boss will give you complicated projects and hope that you will learn as you go, but a great boss will work on these projects with you and help you learn through experience and example.

“Know the difference and realize that not everyone gets a chance to work with a great boss. This can also be insightful for you in the event you want to lead your own team or people in the future,” she says.

5. Am I in a great place to work?

Employees will always have their own definition of “a great place to work.” Vera says one way to tell if an organization is worth staying in is if it can communicate why they add value to you and ensure that you experience this everyday.

She explains: “If a company has a billboard that says they provide you with amazing training opportunities, and yet you are not able to experience this inside, then maybe this disconnect is telling you it's time to leave. On the other hand, if the company you applied for said that they have great medical benefits and you are able to experience these benefits when you need them the most, there is value in this consistency of message which needs to be given more credit.”

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