6 Questions Successful Women Ask Themselves Before They Quit a Job

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
June 23, 2024 at 6:29PM UTC

Wondering if it’s time to quit your job? You’re not alone. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the job market around the world, touching practically every sector. Hiring practices are changing, people are dealing with job loss and workers are feeling burnt out.

Now, we’re in the midst of what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” which refers to a mass departure from jobs across the globe. Now that the job market seems to be recovery, many people are seeking new opportunities, even changing careers.

Is it time for you to quit, too? In the Harvard Business Review, Priscilla Claman offers guidance on six key questions you should ask yourself before you take the leap.

1. What are you looking for in your next position?

This is a foundational question that will essentially guide your decisions. Perhaps you don't like your current role but are looking for something in the same industry and area of work. If that's the case, what's missing from your current position that you want in your next one? Make a wish list of qualities that are important to you in a work environment.
Or, perhaps you're looking to make a career pivot. Think about what line of work appeals to you and how you'll be able to know it when you see it. Consider, for example, your top skills, particularly ones that are transferable, along with activities you enjoy doing. This will help you gear your search and discover your own desires in a new job.

2. Can I find the job I want in my current organization?

Of course, if you absolutely hate your job and the business you work for, this won't apply to you.  But for some, the organization might not be the problem, just the position itself.
Depending on your relationship with your manager, you might be able to broach the topic of changing roles within the organization with them. Discuss your career goals and how you believe you could make a better contribution in a different role. Otherwise, if your company has an internal job board, that's a good place to start. Perhaps there's a contact you can talk to in HR, too.

3. Should I tell my boss I am looking for a new job?

Usually, the answer is no. But in rare instances, it's possible that you should take this step. One instance is if you're trying to transfer internally. If that's the case, you might want to discuss the steps with your boss — and they, in turn, could even be able to help you with the transfer and hiring process.
But more times than not, letting your manager know that you have one foot out the door is a bad idea. Your manager could even retaliate by taking work off your plate or letting you go, whether or not that's the ethical thing to do (it's not, but it still happens).

4. How can I get references from my current organization if I am keeping my search confidential?

In many cases, you won't need to ask your current employer for a reference — you can ask previous managers instead. But some organizations will require a reference from your current manager.
If possible, see if you can ask a more senior colleague instead, someone who will keep your search confidential. Or, you may be able to ask the company to only ask your current manager once you've secured an offer (pending this reference). Many prospective employers will understand your reasoning.

5. What if I land a new job and my current boss offers me a great counteroffer?  

Beware. True, the offer could be extremely tempting. But if you wanted to leave, you probably had a good reason for it. And, chances are, it's not going to go away just because your employer is offering you more money (unless, of course, that was the entire rationale for you looking for a new job).
Keep in mind, too, that if you decide to stay, your relationship could change with your employer. They may trust you less, which could very well put you on the chopping block should the company need to downsize or, at the very least, make things tense.
That doesn't mean you should never accept a counteroffer. At some companies, securing another offer is necessary for getting promoted. But make sure you weigh the pros and cons carefully before you do.

6. How do I actually resign?

Some organizations have a standard resignation process, so your first step is to look into what that is if it exists. Otherwise, usually, you'll want to talk to your direct manager first — preferably in-person, if possible — before writing a formal resignation letter (paper, not email) that includes crucial information like your last day of work. Try to leave on a good note, adding something positive about your time there and thanking your manager and the employer.

During the Great Resignation, it's natural to be thinking about making moves. Before you take the leap, make sure you're prepared and ready for your next steps.

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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