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BY Fairygodboss

7 Things to Consider If You're Unhappy and Considering Looking for A New Job

Unhappy woman

Photo credit: Creative Commons

TAGS: Job search, Women in the workplace, Career change

How can you tell whether it’s time to change jobs? Unlike many other decisions in life, simply asking yourself whether you are happy is probably a little too simplistic.

Most of one at one time or another has been unhappy at work. It’s perfectly normal to have emotional ups and downs when it comes to your job satisfaction. It could be that your company is going through restructuring, your department has been re-organized, you’ve lost a great manager, or business simply isn’t headed in the right direction. So how do you know whether these things mean you should start looking for a new job? There’s no one-size-fits all answer to this question, but before you leave your job, here are 7 things you can do to make sure that you’re not acting too impulsively:

  1. Understand the reasons you are unhappy.

    Make sure you are honest with yourself. What has changed? Is it something outside your control or is it something more fundamental about yourself? If you understand what is really going on, you will make a better decision and possibly take a course of action that involves something less dramatic than quitting your job.

    For example, if you’re stuck in a role you never really loved in the first place, it’s unlikely that anything can improve the situation. On the other hand, if you love your job but think you deserve to get paid more, or simply want more flexible work hours, you may simply need to invest in some new skills or talk to your manager about the situation. 
  1. Ask yourself if the source of your unhappiness is temporary or permanent in nature.

    Sometimes these things aren’t that clear-cut but a temporary situation may be worth riding out. For example, a downturn in the economy that affects your company’s business prospects may improve within a few quarters if you’re working in a cyclical industry. On the other hand, there are some trends that may only become worse and are structural (e.g. it’s unlikely a business selling fax machines is ever going to see a resurgence). It’s important to be honest with yourself about whether things are likely to really change or whether you are simply reluctant to make an inevitable change.
  1. Write down the pros and cons of staying in your job.

    Sometimes putting pen to paper can help make sense of all the noise in your head. There can be great clarity in writing things down. Are you bored with your job? Are you simply not passionate any more about what you do? If you find that everything you write down in the “negative” column has to do with changes in you – as opposed to the job – you may want to consider staying with your employer but simply asking for bigger or different responsibilities. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with unacceptable, unfair or illegal behavior from your manager, you may want to consider changing departments or finding a way to tell HR your situation or that you would like a different manager.
  1. Consider browsing for other opportunities while you make a decision, and get your resume ready.

    Just because you are not certain you are leaving your job, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maximize your understanding of what is out there in case something should come up. Look for new jobs while you are currently employed because the jobs that are a great fit don’t necessarily come along every day. Being aware of the kinds of open positions and employers who are hiring will allow you to more quickly act upon your decision if you end up deciding to leave your employer. You can also go on interviews (either real or informational) while you make a decision. 
  1. Do your research.

    If you leave your job, how long will it take to secure a new position? What are the other companies and positions you’re likely to end up in? What are those other employers and jobs going to be like? If you are unhappy with the type of job you’re in, what are the chances that another company will really make you happier? You may need to make a deeper career change if there’s something about the type of position you have that makes you unhappy If you’re considering going back to school, there are a lot of things to consider ranging from the opportunity cost of your time to tuition and your future job opportunities.
  1. Talk it over with your friends and family.

    Your choices rarely only impact you. If you’re looking for a new job, it will affect your family. Whether you are the breadwinner in your family or not, There are financial implications of quitting before taking a new position, and there are also potential changes in your work-life balance. Your new job could take you to a new city and into unknown territory in terms of travel and hours so be sure that you have discussed what you’re doing with those that know you best and may be impacted by what you do. Getting their feedback as a sounding board is also important: no woman is an island. 
  1. Be aware that there are no guarantees in life.

If you’ve decided to take the next step and make a career change or look for a new job, be realistic about what is ahead. While you might be making the best decision, transitions can be stressful and may not always turn out the way you expect. Sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out, so you must be aware that change may come with some unexpected surprises (good or bad).

You spend most of your waking hours at work, so it’s normal and inevitable that there will be disappointments over time. There are no hard and fast rules about when to leave your job, and when to stay but taking these steps will help ensure that you’re not making a considered decision, rather than a hasty one.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.

Related Community Discussions

  • I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?

  • I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.

    I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.

    Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.

    The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?

    I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.

    I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?

    If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".

  • I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.

    I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.

    Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.

    The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?

    I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.

    I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?

    If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".

  • Does anyone here work for Earnst & Young? I see their communications department is hiring for multiple roles I think I'm qualified for. I'd like to learn more "inside scoop" from a current or former employee. Also looking to learn more about how this department is structured so I can figure out which of the positions I should apply for. Don't want to apply for all of them and have it look as if I'm spamming them with my resume.

  • Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?

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7 Things to Consider If You're Unhappy and Considering Looking for A New Job

7 Things to Consider If You're Unhappy and Considering Looking for A New Job

How can you tell whether it’s time to change jobs? Unlike many other decisions in life, simply asking yourself whether you are happy is probably a li...

How can you tell whether it’s time to change jobs? Unlike many other decisions in life, simply asking yourself whether you are happy is probably a little too simplistic.

Most of one at one time or another has been unhappy at work. It’s perfectly normal to have emotional ups and downs when it comes to your job satisfaction. It could be that your company is going through restructuring, your department has been re-organized, you’ve lost a great manager, or business simply isn’t headed in the right direction. So how do you know whether these things mean you should start looking for a new job? There’s no one-size-fits all answer to this question, but before you leave your job, here are 7 things you can do to make sure that you’re not acting too impulsively:

  1. Understand the reasons you are unhappy.

    Make sure you are honest with yourself. What has changed? Is it something outside your control or is it something more fundamental about yourself? If you understand what is really going on, you will make a better decision and possibly take a course of action that involves something less dramatic than quitting your job.

    For example, if you’re stuck in a role you never really loved in the first place, it’s unlikely that anything can improve the situation. On the other hand, if you love your job but think you deserve to get paid more, or simply want more flexible work hours, you may simply need to invest in some new skills or talk to your manager about the situation. 
  1. Ask yourself if the source of your unhappiness is temporary or permanent in nature.

    Sometimes these things aren’t that clear-cut but a temporary situation may be worth riding out. For example, a downturn in the economy that affects your company’s business prospects may improve within a few quarters if you’re working in a cyclical industry. On the other hand, there are some trends that may only become worse and are structural (e.g. it’s unlikely a business selling fax machines is ever going to see a resurgence). It’s important to be honest with yourself about whether things are likely to really change or whether you are simply reluctant to make an inevitable change.
  1. Write down the pros and cons of staying in your job.

    Sometimes putting pen to paper can help make sense of all the noise in your head. There can be great clarity in writing things down. Are you bored with your job? Are you simply not passionate any more about what you do? If you find that everything you write down in the “negative” column has to do with changes in you – as opposed to the job – you may want to consider staying with your employer but simply asking for bigger or different responsibilities. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with unacceptable, unfair or illegal behavior from your manager, you may want to consider changing departments or finding a way to tell HR your situation or that you would like a different manager.
  1. Consider browsing for other opportunities while you make a decision, and get your resume ready.

    Just because you are not certain you are leaving your job, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maximize your understanding of what is out there in case something should come up. Look for new jobs while you are currently employed because the jobs that are a great fit don’t necessarily come along every day. Being aware of the kinds of open positions and employers who are hiring will allow you to more quickly act upon your decision if you end up deciding to leave your employer. You can also go on interviews (either real or informational) while you make a decision. 
  1. Do your research.

    If you leave your job, how long will it take to secure a new position? What are the other companies and positions you’re likely to end up in? What are those other employers and jobs going to be like? If you are unhappy with the type of job you’re in, what are the chances that another company will really make you happier? You may need to make a deeper career change if there’s something about the type of position you have that makes you unhappy If you’re considering going back to school, there are a lot of things to consider ranging from the opportunity cost of your time to tuition and your future job opportunities.
  1. Talk it over with your friends and family.

    Your choices rarely only impact you. If you’re looking for a new job, it will affect your family. Whether you are the breadwinner in your family or not, There are financial implications of quitting before taking a new position, and there are also potential changes in your work-life balance. Your new job could take you to a new city and into unknown territory in terms of travel and hours so be sure that you have discussed what you’re doing with those that know you best and may be impacted by what you do. Getting their feedback as a sounding board is also important: no woman is an island. 
  1. Be aware that there are no guarantees in life.

If you’ve decided to take the next step and make a career change or look for a new job, be realistic about what is ahead. While you might be making the best decision, transitions can be stressful and may not always turn out the way you expect. Sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out, so you must be aware that change may come with some unexpected surprises (good or bad).

You spend most of your waking hours at work, so it’s normal and inevitable that there will be disappointments over time. There are no hard and fast rules about when to leave your job, and when to stay but taking these steps will help ensure that you’re not making a considered decision, rather than a hasty one.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.

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