A job change can be both exciting and scary.
The past few years have seen drastic changes in the workplace. With the rise of the gig economy and the prevalence of job-hopping, more and more people are questioning their current job situation (read: great resignation). Job satisfaction is at an all-time low and the idea of changing jobs is becoming more and more appealing, especially for some of the youngest workers dubbed “Zillennials”.
However, changing jobs is not a decision to be made lightly. Whether you’re considering quitting your job because you’re underpaid, want a better work-life balance, look to start a business or simply need a change, there are a few things you should ask yourself before making the leap:
Which aspect of your current job is frustrating you?
It is important to remember that even after quitting your job, problems can still linger around if you don’t take a step back and figure out what is upsetting you. Is it the workplace itself? The people? The workload? The management team? Once you have identified the source of your frustration, you will be in a better position to evaluate the pros and cons of quitting and find a job that is a better fit for you.
Have you taken all possible steps to make it work?
Sometimes, you can fix the biggest problems with the simplest solutions. For instance, communicating your issues to the concerned parties. For example, if you feel that your coworkers are treating you unfairly, or you always end up doing most of the tasks, you can voice your concern to them or your manager. In the meantime, reflect on what you could have done, such as politely saying no to unreasonable requests.
If you have done all these but still don’t feel like your voice is being heard or your needs are being met at your current job, it might be time to start looking for something else. It’s important to find a workplace where you feel a sense of belonging and that you can make a difference. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and talent.
Is it financially feasible for you to quit?
Before you hand in that resignation letter, make sure you are financially prepared. If you’re not sure, sit down and figure out your budget. Consider how much money you’ll need to cover your living expenses and whether you have enough savings to rely on.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, now is also a good time to start one. An emergency fund is a cash reserve kept in the bank for unanticipated expenditures or financial emergencies. Personal finance expert and author Suze Orman recommends having at least 8 to 12 months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund. This can give you the peace of mind and financial security you need during uncertainty.
So, if you’re considering switching jobs, make sure that an emergency fund is in place first. It could be the difference between a successful transition and a financial disaster.
What are your expectations from the next job?
If you’re considering a job change, it’s important to consider what you expect from the next job. What are you looking for from the workplace? What kind of company culture do you prefer? What are your goals for the next phase of your career? You can set yourself up for success in your job search by thoroughly thinking though your goals and objectives in your career path and also in life.
However, always stay practical and realistic when you make your list of expectations. Sometimes, you have to compromise on other aspects for what you look for. For instance, if you want more flexibility in terms of work hours and locations, you might have to take a pay cut, have slower salary growth or work during holidays and weekends. If you prefer working at startups for their smaller team size, the younger employee demographic or equity ownership, also be prepared that they might pay less than bigger, more established companies.
It’s easy to be blind to the downsides of switching jobs when you are too excited about your next job and too frustrated to your current one. Essentially, have a good sense of what you’re looking for in a job before making a move. Otherwise, you may end up being just as unhappy in your new job as in your old one.
Is it easy to find another job?
You might easily forget this if you are too fed up with your current job. Unless you are planning to take some time off from working (and can survive without a stable income during that period), you should always be alert about the employment market to decide whether it is a good time to leave a job.
If the labor market is not doing well, perhaps you should put your plan on hold while keep an eye out for opportunities out there. You can start sending your CVs and applying for jobs before you quit. Even if the employment rate is relatively high, you still have to consider whether the industry you are interested in is actively hiring people.
In 2022, the average job search period is around five to six months from the moment you send out your application. It takes about a week or two to receive a job interview offer, and the interview process can be anywhere between three and five weeks. Although the great resignation is still going on at the moment, it doesn’t mean that all sectors are short of workers. For instance, there have been massive layoffs in the tech space and startups as the pandemic-induced investment opportunities shrink post Covid.
The dilemma is inevitable when it’s something as big as quitting your job, and it’s okay to be scared and nervous. The golden rule is, plan everything out ahead—set your short and long-term goals, improve your skills and manage your finances well. Last but not least, do not forget to believe in yourself!
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