I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all been in jobs or careers that for some reason or the other weren’t fulfilling or we absolutely hated.
It’s one of the most deflating feelings in the world to be in a job that is not only frustrating but stressful. No one should have to live like that, but the sad reality is many people find themselves in this situation.
In fact, a recent study conducted by the Conference Board suggests Americans are more dissatisfied with their jobs than they have been in the past 20 years. More and more people of all ages and income levels are citing high levels of job dissatisfaction.
The reasons for high levels of dissatisfaction at work varies across the board. From bad managers, poor work environments, long commutes, lack of collaboration to lack of career opportunities.
But if you are at a job where you wake up each day dreading going into the office, what should you do?
Is resigning from your job the same as quitting?
Does handing in your resignation letter mean you are a quitter? Is resigning the same as quitting?
I know I have found myself in this situation a few times in my career. But the feeling of total job dissatisfaction and dread didn’t usually set in until close to two years of employment. So when I found myself absolutely regretting my decision to join a small company less than three months after joining, I knew something was wrong.
But since I just joined the company, I didn’t even want to think about resigning. So I tried to keep positive.
I showed up every day with a can-do attitude.
I showed up even when my manager resigned three weeks after hiring me for a better opportunity.
I showed up even after a colleague I would be working with closely to get my job done resigned a day after I started.
I showed up even after one colleague through a profanity-laced tantrum because of his own frustrations with the job (which, by the way, although not directed at me, was really scary for someone new to the team, not knowing his mental state.)
I showed up.
But when the acting manager, because of his own shallow ego and internal frustrations, lashed out at me for doing my job and started to tear down my work. That’s when I knew I had to seriously re-evaluate my position at the job.
It was just becoming way too stressful.
Work shouldn’t be stressful
And for me, I think there is a difference between work and stress. In my opinion, you can work very hard without being stressed. You can stay late, complete multiple revisions, and work long hours without feeling stressed out.
I’m not sure why the culture of work makes working hard synonymous with stress. It’s like if you aren’t stressed out, you aren’t working hard enough. But this specific situation was becoming both physically and mentally stressful, and it was starting to take a toll. And I know many other professionals who have felt the same way.
Five things to consider before you quit your job
If you are feeling this way, here are five steps you can take to either improve your situation or decide whether it’s best to move on.
Reflect on why you joined the company
Take some time to look back at why you decided to take the position in the first place. What was the end goal you had in mind when you accepted the job offer? For me, my goal for joining the company was so I could break into a new industry and learn more about it. I also liked the fact that the VP of marketing wanted to help women succeed in the workplace. As a woman herself, she seemed to realize the importance of helping other women to grow in their careers.
The salary also seemed attractive at the time to helping me reach my financial goals. Once I reflected on why I started the position, I realized that although the leadership that I had desired was gone, I still had an opportunity to learn more about the industry and use that experience on my resume.
And although things were far from perfect, maybe, just maybe it was worth holding on to continue learning about the industry in order to advance my career.
Assess your short term and long term goals
What are your personal and professional goals? What are you working to achieve? Knowing the answers to these questions means having a clear understanding of your short term and long term goals.
Once you know what your goals are and what’s really important to you, it’s a little easier for you to make certain decisions, like whether to stay or go, because you know where this job stands in your overall roadmap for achieving your goals.
Assess your financial situation
Before making any rash decisions, always assess your financial situation. Can you afford to leave your job right now, or would it be better to try to work things through before starting a new job search?
One of the main reasons people stay in jobs they hate is because they need the job to cover certain financial obligations. Knowing where you stand financially will help you to make an informed decision about whether you should stay or go.
Talk to your manager
If you are seriously considering leaving your job, it might be a good idea to talk to your manager about how you are feeling. I wouldn’t recommend telling him or her that you want to quit, but I would mention some of the issues that are bothering you to see if they can be addressed.
Sometimes when there is a disconnect between two people, whether employee or employer, it’s good to sit down and try to talk things through. In some situations, nothing will change, while in other situations, there is a chance that you might see some changes based on the concerns you raised.
Try to adjust your attitude
“Your attitude determines your altitude.” This is well known, saying I grew up hearing. And as I got older, I started to realize the true meaning of it. Almost everything in life is determined by our perspective or outlook. If we have a negative outlook, the chances are that is what we will attract — negative outcomes. Being in a job that is stressful is tough, but try to see if a change in attitude has any impact on how you feel about the situation.
And if all else fails, it might be time to move on. Recognizing that no, you are not a quitter for letting go of a stressful situation that is not going to ultimately help you to meet your career or personal goals in life.