SEEING colleagues move on to greener pastures may make you wonder why you stay with your employer. However, rushing out to hunt for a new job or deciding to embark on a new career is not always the best solution.
Even if you feel dissatisfied about some things in your current role, resist the impulse to quit. You may feel pressured to take the first opportunity that comes along without considering if it is right for you — and you will find yourself back at square one, feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
As I am an experienced career counsellor, people often ask me if they should quit their job. After listening to them, I ask them to review why they are unhappy in their role and suggest some possible solutions.
By doing this, they are able to discern if their problems at work are temporary, may be resolved with some negotiation or are so deep-seated that nothing but heading for the exit door will do. Find out if any of these problems strike a chord with you:
Many employees feel overworked and underpaid — in their world, work-life balance is a distant dream. The stress makes them unhappy with their job. If this is how you feel, consider whether this is an unusually hectic time that will soon be followed by a quiet period with a more manageable workload.
If you see no end in sight, try discussing this with your manager to see if he can help by extending deadlines or re-organising your workload. You may be surprised how tweaking the work flow, introducing more technology, delegating some tasks and changing priorities will make your job less stressful and more enjoyable.
It’s been a bad day or week
Even if you enjoy your work, it is inevitable you will have the odd bad day when everything seems to go wrong. It may even stretch into a bad week and leave you feeling that a new job is the only answer.
Think about all the good days you have had. Review what has changed that is making things difficult. There may be an unexpected peak or unseen bottleneck that is causing the problem. Seek to resolve it instead of quitting in a snap.
If you feel you are not recognised, acknowledged or rewarded appropriately, perhaps it is time to have a talk with your supervisor. But do your homework first and find out what your market value is. If you are indeed underpaid, the statistics will back you up.
Ask and your employer may pay up — in a tight labour market, good talent is hard to find. Be prepared to negotiate for non-monetary benefits if the company cannot raise your salary immediately — only offer an ultimatum if you are truly prepared to leave your job.
Difficult co-workers or supervisor
We spend a large part of our lives at work, and there will be people there we cannot get along with. Unless there has been a serious falling-out, there are ways to tolerate colleagues you do not like. Try to minimise contact with them. If you are forced to work closely with someone you dislike, keep the relationship professional, polite and ethical.
You may have heard from former colleagues about how well they are doing after they left the “old” job. Before you rush for the exit, pause to ask if they are telling you the full story.
For example, they may not be keen to share the downsides, like the long hours or the stress that comes with the job. Every workplace and individual is unique. We all have different levels of pain we can tolerate at work. Some people find satisfaction in a job they are passionate about despite its challenges and demands.
You may feel you have reached a plateau and your work is unchallenging and tedious. But at the same time, you like your colleagues and your workplace.
In such a situation, it may be better to ask for greater responsibilities or seek training so you can expand your work scope. You may not need a completely new role or career. You need to explore how you can grow your career.
Before you decide to quit, think it through carefully. Starting afresh elsewhere, you will be the new kid on the block and have to prove your capabilities, competencies and calibre all over again.
Overcoming boredom is about proactive career upgrading and redesigning your job to take advantage of the opportunities waiting for you. And this can happen in your current workplace.