Listening to Yourself When Considering Leaving a Job — From a Woman Who's Done It

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Megan Leasher904
talent strategist + bourbon lover
April 21, 2024 at 12:30PM UTC

I’ve left a few jobs in my career…I’m sure most of us have. Each job we hold comes with its own shifting dynamics. Each company we join comes with an evolving culture. With each new job, many of us are in a different place in our lives. Jobs change, companies change, and we change. Sometimes all at once.

Change can bring the awesome and sometimes the not-so-awesome. When the not-so-awesome comes our way, it is important that we listen to ourselves, as we may send ourselves messages that we miss. Our default is our thoughts, but there is so much more to listen to. Here are three ways to listen to yourself as you consider leaving a job:

1. Listen to your voice. 

Have you ever had an entire conversation and weren’t aware of a point you clearly articulated, perhaps one that resonated with the person you were talking to? Have you ever made a presentation or spoken in public and as soon as you finished, your mind went blank and you had no idea what you just said? Sometimes our brain formulates words, they launch out of our mouths and we fail to notice what we are really saying. We literally say something meaningful and we don’t even hear ourselves! When we are not happy with our jobs and are considering leaving, our voice and our words might be trying to get our attention by communicating with things like:

  • Hesitating in responding when others ask where you work and what you do.

  • Talking fast and/or swiftly changing the subject when someone inquires about your job.

  • Instead of sharing how your job is going, respond by telling a funny story about something insignificant that happened at work (and thus, avoiding really answering the question).

  • Telling a white lie and saying things are going fine because you are avoiding the embarrassment of answering the question truthfully.

  • Responding with vague platitudes like “it’s not like it used to be” or “I miss the good ol’ days."

2. Listen to your body.

I talked about intuition in a prior article. Intuition is the body’s communication system with the mind. Our minds can be resistant to the idea of significant change, like considering leaving a job. When your mind resists, sometimes your body will speak up and do whatever it takes to gain your attention. When we are considering leaving a job, our bodies might be trying to get our attention by communicating with things like:

  • A stinging feeling of bitterness when you hear about how wonderful someone else’s job is.

  • Muscle tightness at the start of a workday and physical relief as the day ends.

  • Realizing your daily energy is fueled by venting and gossiping about the toxicity of your work environment (as opposed to your liking and/or being good at your job).

  • Avoiding eye contact when telling someone where you work and what you do.

  • Avoiding eye contact with your coworkers.

  • Relentless jealousy when you heard someone quit their job.

  • An annoyingly short fuse for dealing with things like laziness, egos, and incompetence in your workplace.

3. Listen to your passion.

We are all blessed with passion. Our inner north star drives us towards a particular thing and gets us out of bed in the morning. The things we love to talk about and invest our time in. Passions reflect our purpose. Quite often, our passions are intertwined with our strengths; the things we are naturally good at. When we are considering leaving a job, our passions and strengths might be screaming at us, trying to get our attention by communicating with things like:

  • A sense that you are not reaching your potential.

  • A desire of “if I only had more time, I would do X…”

  • A sadness that you are not getting recognized for the great things you do in your job.

  • A longing to have your old boss back, the one who really “got” you.

  • A disconnect that you aren’t getting to leverage your strengths and there is more to you than how you are spending your work time.

  • Catching yourself daydreaming about the job you wish you had (instead of doing the one you have now).

  • An eagerness to feel proud of what you do.

We are more than our thoughts. When we aren’t in the best situation and truly listen to our voice, our body, and our passion, we often happen upon three defining declarations, eager to be heard:

  1. I can DO more.

  2. I can BE more.

  3. I AM more.

I wish YOU more!

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Megan Leasher is an award-winning industrial and organizational psychologist who is passionate about connecting challenge and compassion, insights and intuition, and faith and fearlessness into the design of talent strategy and solutions for individuals and organizations. A member of the Forbes HR Council, Megan has been named as one of HR’s Rising Stars by Human Resource Executive Magazine and The 10 Most Influential Leaders in HR by Insights Success Magazine.  Megan lives in northern Kentucky, where she loves coffee, bourbon, and Converse Chuck Taylors. Click here to follow Megan on LinkedIn.

How have YOU listened to yourself when considering leaving a job? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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