New Year’s resolutions are different for every person and every set of circumstances, and while some people may be setting their sights on stepping into a job this year, it’s time for you to focus on the opposite. It’s time for you to let go of the job you have. This can be much harder than most people imagine.
Our culture teaches us to relentlessly worry about our job status—Do we have a job? Could something terrible happen if we lose our job? What if we can’t find another job? We’re always taught to cling to whatever “job” we have, even if that job makes our lives measurably worse because the alternative—no job—is believed to be a bad trade. But sometimes that’s just not true. If your life is going poorly right now and your job is the cause, it’s time to get out. You’ll need to step into the unknown in order to reset and make a meaningful change.
Here are a few moves that can help.
Recognize your anxiety about quitting, and accept that this feeling is normal.
Your employer, your company, and all employers and companies everywhere have something to gain when your fear of the unknown makes cling to a job you don’t like. This fear is not an accident; propagating it keeps salaries down and keeps employees obedient and quiet. If the world beyond these walls felt safe and inviting, employees would leave as soon as their needs weren’t being met, and massive shifts would occur in our culture and labor market. Your fear is real, but it isn’t necessarily warranted. Once you recognize this, it’s easier to see past it and get a realistic view of what your life will look like when you’re no longer coming to this place every day.
You will find another job. It may take a while, but it will happen.
You got this job, and you’ll get another. And another after that, and so on. If you make it happen, it will happen. Decades ago, job “success” may have felt like marriage success—a lifelong commitment to a single employer that began with graduation and ended with retirement. Anything short of a 40-year stint may have been positioned as a “failure”. But that’s not the case anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time. In fact, job success is now measured in increments of about five years. At five years, you can
and should be scanning the landscape for the next adventure, even if you’re content with your current job. And if you’re NOT content, there’s nothing to be gained by staying beyond this period. It won’t look impressive on a resume, and an excessive tenure can keep you from gaining important skills and experiences.
Pull off the band-aid.
Some employees hesitate to leave a bad job simply because they dread an awkward conversation with the boss. Don’t be held back by this. Speak your mind, explain what you need that the job isn’t offering, and state your intention to leave in exactly two weeks. You don’t owe your boss a detailed description of what you plan to do next. Whether you have another job lined up or not is not your employer’s business. How much that job may or may not pay is also your own concern. Don’t be bullied or frightened into backing down, and DO allow your boss to make an offer (pay raise, promotion, etc) that may entice you to stay. Have the courage to face down a ten-minute conversation that can change your life for the better.
For more on how to stand up and walk away from a job that isn’t giving you what you need, turn to the career management experts at PSU.