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October 20, 2021

Before You Quit Your Job, Take These 7 Steps First

A record number of workers are quitting their jobs because they are unhappy, fueling the drive of “The Great Resignation.”According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million employees quit their jobs in August. “With the pandemic putting a focus on the fragility of life, it’s left many wondering, ‘Is this really how I want […]

A record number of workers are quitting their jobs because they are unhappy, fueling the drive of “The Great Resignation.”According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million employees quit their jobs in August. “With the pandemic putting a focus on the fragility of life, it’s left many wondering, ‘Is this really how I want to spend my life?’” said Michelle Wax, founder of American Happiness Project. American workers are looking for higher salaries, better work/life conditions and more flexible work schedules.

American Workers Want New Rules Of Engagement

“We're no longer in a crazy time. We're in new times, which calls for new rules of engagement when attracting talent—especially when recruiters and employers are struggling to fill roles,” said Workable’s Content Strategy Manager, Keith MacKenzie. “The onus is now on employers to really step up their talent attraction game and loosen the requirements for a role. There's a huge path to get there: find and hire those top prospects and develop them when they're with you.” 

TalentLMS, backed by Epignosis, and Workable, surveyed 1,200 American workers and found that 72% of tech workers are thinking of quitting their job in the next 12 months. For the vast majority of those who explore other job opportunities, workplace changes caused by Covid-19 made them think more about quitting (78%). The top reasons for considering a job change, other than salary and benefits, are limited career progression (41%), a lack of flexibility in working hours (40%), followed by a toxic work environment (39%). A lack of learning and development opportunities (32%) and remote work options (30%) are top reasons that drive tech employees away.   

The survey unveils an overall deep desire for skills development, continuous learning and professional growth, as 91% of tech workers state they want more training opportunities from their employers. As for the technologies that will future-proof employees in the job market, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) were the first choice (66%), followed by cloud-native development (49%) and blockchain (46%). “The realization that remote working is a viable alternative for tech/IT employees has created many employment options that are no longer geographically constrained,” said Periklis Venakis, CTO of Epignosis, who sees “The Great Resignation” as a direct result of the pandemic. “With the need for highly-skilled IT professionals at an all-time high, the survey from Epignosis and Workable shows that tech workers are increasingly viewing learning and upskilling as a top career priority.”  

7 Steps To Take Before Jumping Ship

You spend more time at your job—as much as one third of your days according to some sources—than just about any other place on earth. And if you’re miserable, it can take a tremendous toll on your entire life. Of course, all jobs have drawbacks. But if you’re an unhappy worker most of the time, you’re an un-productive worker much of the time. It doesn’t benefit either you or the company. So what do you do? First, experts warn employees to take a breath and step back before jumping ship too quickly to make sure you’ve thought everything through. You can’t fire your boss. You can’t take over the company and restructure it, but you can take a number of other actions.

  1. Make a rational decision. The worst step is to impulsively bail from your present position without thinking it through. You don’t want to trade one problem for another. Make sure emotions don’t outrun your rational decision and take time to think things through. According to Michelle Wax, “It’s important to consider if leaving your job is actually going to solve your problem—or if it's just a temporary fix that will come up again in the future. It’s also important to take stock of what you enjoy currently, and what you’d love to spend your days doing in a perfect world,” Wax said. 
  2. Schedule a meeting with your boss. If your job is intolerable, use it as a talking point when you meet with your manager. Without complaining, talk over your concerns. Make sure your boss understands your point of view, the importance of your personal life and your expectations concerning job demands. Ask if there’s another way to divide up work tasks. Align your goals with those of the company and work with your boss to prioritize projects. Ask about company expectations and find out exactly what performance goals you must meet to receive an excellent review.
  3. Ask for a raise. According to Dr Ebbie Parsons, founder of Yardstick Management, suggests asking for a raise. “When it comes to asking for a raise, it’s best to first approach your manager openly, backing up your request with real facts, metrics and impact-focused milestones,” Parsons said. “If for any reason you feel you are being compensated unfairly and this is the reason you’re planning to leave your job, the best thing to do is set up a meeting with an HR leader at your company to discuss your concerns and what they can do to ensure better equality. In addition, you should consider asking for a higher percentage to match your 401K because this shows your employer that you’re thinking long-term, which is a win-win for both you and them.”
  4. Request to work from home. “If you are considering quitting your job, something to think about is requesting to work from home a certain amount of days each week,” Parsons adds. “This will allow you to schedule your meetings on the days you are in office, freeing up larger sections of time to focus on important projects and tasks. Having more focused, dedicated time is also an important factor to express with upper management.”
  5. Conduct a stress audit to pinpoint your dissatisfaction. Exactly what is it about your job that makes you dissatisfied? Is it the boss from hell? Boredom with tedious work? Not enough money? Long hours? Heavy workload? According to Michelle Wax, putting pen to paper allows all of the thoughts to come out of your head, and it’s easier for your mind to process and create a rational decision. “A stress audit is fairly simple but requires being completely honest with yourself,” she said. “This can be hard to do, especially when you’ve been in a role or a company for a while and have connections with the people and work you do there,” Wax adds. “As you conduct your own stress audit, don’t filter or ignore any gut reactions or thoughts that come up.” Once you can isolate exactly what the factors are, decide if you can correct them. If not, it might be time to start exploring other options that better fit your personality.
  6. Empower yourself. “If you’re dependent on others and external circumstances to determine your happiness levels, it will always be a moving target,” explains Michelle Wax. “Increasing internal happiness starts with the decision that you’re in control of your happiness, not other people.” Avoid thinking of yourself as a victim of your job, and remind yourself that it’s not happening to you; you’re making it happen in which case you can make it un-happen, too. Reminding yourself that you’re the master, not the slave, empowers you and makes the days more tolerable until you find a more meaningful career.
  7. Reach out to coworkers for support. If you feel like your situation is unsustainable and unfair, reach out to colleagues to see if they’re having a similar situation and ask how they’re managing it. If coworkers are also at the end of their rope, consider establishing support group meetings to deal with intolerable work situations. When possible, enlist your employer as a resource, including him or her in meetings to find constructive solutions to stress-related problems.

The good news is more companies are starting to realize that work stress is a major health and safety issue and that it is to their advantage to have healthy employees. Happy employees are productive employees. Big corporations are finding unique ways to support employees and de-stress work environments: paid paternity leave, remote and hybrid work, job sharing, flextime and onsite stress-reduction classes. Workers fare well when management communicates praise and encouragement, is clear about workplace expectations and provides the tools employees need to feel challenged.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.
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