reflect before you leave your job
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Reflect and Reach Out Before Leaving Your Job

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I am starting to really dislike going to work, and I don't seem to have the same level of interest I once had. How do you know when it's time to move on?

A: You've already hit on one of the main ways you know when you should look for something new—you've lost interest in your work. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Are you procrastinating on tasks or feeling bored?
  • Have your responsibilities changed significantly?
  • Do you feel underappreciated for the work you're doing?
  • Have you been passed over for promotions or plum assignments?
  • Do you feel as if you're not using your skills to maximum advantage?
  • Do you feel as if you can never meet your manager's expectations?
  • Have you been left out of the information loop or not included in meetings?

Before you think about quitting, schedule a one-on-one with your manager or your HR representative to see if there are options available, such as a transfer or assignment to a cross-functional team. Although it may be a difficult conversation to have, you should be open and honest about how you're feeling. Your manager or HR rep can't fix the problem if he or she doesn't know it exists.

Before you think about quitting, schedule a one-on-one with your manager or your HR representative to see if there are options available.

Beyond your micro-level view, there may be signs that you feel disconnected from the entire organization:

  • Has your organization's mission changed in a way that no longer resonates with you?
  • Was there a recent change in leadership that's shifting the organization's direction or causing you to lose trust in your leaders?
  • Do you see layoffs or budget cuts coming?

These are serious factors that can cause you to feel less invested in your daily work. You're only human—layoffs or financial struggles are justifiable reasons to start looking for another job or begin planning an exit strategy.

As you think about your job and your future, consider whether your negative feelings about the job are affecting your physical or mental health. If so, I highly recommend you reach out to get help from your organization's employee assistance program, because no job is worth more than your health. If you don't have an EAP, find a trusted friend or professional to help you.

If moving on is your decision, work as hard as you can until your last day. You want to leave on a high note. Use the lessons learned from this experience to help you find an organization and a position where you can make the maximum contribution. Good luck!

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer in "Ask the Expert"? Send it to [email protected]

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