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Unhappy at work: should you stay or should you resign?

You know your current career is not where you want to be right now – you’ve had enough. You’re fed up of being demotivated and unhappy at work. You feel stressed and exhausted most of the time. Enough is enough and change is definitely on the cards.

The question buzzing through your brain is should I resign now or wait until I have a job to go to or when I’m clearer about my career change?

What’s the answer?

I’m afraid there is no easy answer but I’m going to set out some things to consider that can help you with that decision:

Stay in your current job:

  • It can be easier to find a job or change career when you are already working. You don’t have to worry about explaining why you left and you can be relatively sure that the decision to leave and step into something new is because you want it not because you’re getting desperate.
  • If you know you are going to leave at some point and you are mentally (but not physically) resigning from your company this can alleviate some of the stress and allow you to feel you are taking control.
  •  You don’t always have to leave your job to change your life at work – you can do a review to work out what you can do proactively to improve things at work temporarily until you can leave. These could be small things like taking a lunch break, leaving on time, etc or larger things like speaking to your manager about your workload.
  • You can use your current job to give you experience or skills in different areas that could be useful for the future – be strategic.

Read my blog on creating some love for a job that you can’t leave yet or on detoxing your career.

Resign and leave your current job:

  • If you are at the point where you are thinking of quitting then things must be extreme – maybe it’s a poor manager, lack of support, overwork or a culture which clashes with your values or personality, maybe its overly confrontational or unsupportive. When this is the case you may feel you don’t have headspace, energy or time to consider what to do next. What you feel you need is clarity, control and confidence.
  • Understanding your approach to risk and thinking about how you can minimise the impact before you quit can help:
    • What is your financial plan? How long can you survive without an income?
    • Does your skill set lend itself to interim or temp work?
    • How can you make sure you don’t get stuck? What is your timescale to be in another role?
  • Not having a role to go to can spur you on to make your change happen faster. If you know you’re an all or nothing kind of person then this could be an approach that works well for you.

Like I said there is no easy answer, and there are pros and cons for each option. Feeling you are trapped or that you have no control over your career is stressful and not sustainable.

Whatever you decide the most important thing is to do SOMETHING!

Tips for deciding what to do:

  • Choose carefully who you ask for advice, and then listen to your inner voice and let it guide you. Everyone will have  a view so do what is right for you!
  • Remember you won’t feel like this forever, you can get through this difficult time. Draw on your resilience and remember other challenging times that you have survived.
  • Take care of your career confidence –be mindful it may take a knock, and look for ways to boost it

Finally, life is too short to do a job you don’t enjoy so whether you resign now or wait until you have a job to go to, you know either way you are doing the right thing by leaving a job that is making you unhappy. Be happy always - Unhappy at work: should you stay or should you resign?

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