That pit in your stomach is expanding. You’ve worn out your snooze alarm. And those Sunday Scaries? They are a walk in the park compared to the Tuesday Terrors, Wednesday Weepies, etc. These may all be symptoms. It’s possible you really do hate your job. After all, fantasizing about writing your resignation letter isn’t a sign of satisfaction. Neither is debating quitting over the phone instead of calling in sick for the seventh time this quarter.
Yet there may be something else bothering you. Before you quit, make sure there’s nothing else you can do. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the job market. Chances are you know someone who has been trying to find a job for months. They might even be sleeping on your couch (add taking care of that sitch to your to-do list). Money should never be your main motivator. That doesn’t mean you can avoid your need for it to, you know, eat and keep a roof over your head. You have two complaints: overwhelmed at work; want to quit. Instead of bailing on a job that could hold promise, try these things first.
Make a List, Check it Twice
Turns out most of us really are working for the weekend. One survey showed 71% of millennials aren’t engaged at work. More disheartening, a different study (also by polling firm Gallup), suggested that only 15% of the world’s one-billion, full-time workforce felt engaged at work. How sad! It’s no wonder that so many disengaged workers decide to quit. Yet without careful planning, quitting is usually a bad idea. If your mantra is “overwhelmed at work; want to quit,” do this first. Make a list. I know, lists are a common suggestion but hear me out. Take a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle. Now on the pro side, what is it you like about your job? On the con column, what do you hate?
Writing down your feelings (as opposed to typing them on a keyboard) has proven therapeutic value. It’s a tiny action, but one that will help return control. After making a list you will see actionable items (maybe you dislike the start time, the commute, etc).
Look for a New Job
See, I’m not telling you not to quit. I’m telling you to be prepared. The average American’s savings doesn’t even cover three months of expenses. Three months. Three months before facing homelessness or the parental basement (or a bestie’s couch). Once again, you are taking control. Instead of an emotional reaction to an untenable situation you are taking logical action. Peruse career sites. Polish your resume. Go to job interviews. Just don’t use your current company’s time to do so (unless of course you have time-off accrued.) You may discover that you don’t really hate your job. You may find a new passion. Regardless of outcome, it’s better than calling up your boss at 8:55 on a Monday morning and mumbling,“overwhelmed at work; want to quit.”
Make Certain You Aren’t the Problem
Do you really hate the job? Are there incremental changes you can make which will improve the situation? Maybe it really is money. Do you know that one study showed that over 50% of workers have never negotiated their pay? Don’t be in that bottom half. Do some research. Present your boss with good reasons why you deserve a raise.
If your issues are environmental, or related to co-workers or supervisors, ask yourself this. Do you really believe people are perfect elsewhere? Of course not! Overcoming personal obstacles is an important step on your career path. There are so many things you can do to improve your situation. The problem is humans are hardwired to seek comfort and avoid pain at any costs. Unfortunately, leaving an unpleasant job is no guarantee that your problems won’t follow you out the door to your new employer.
I am a big believer in this. Believe it or not, a practice that is thousands of years old is ideal for modern workplace stress. It forces you to live in the present tense. It quiets your mind. According to numerous studies it can even Improve job satisfaction. Besides helping you at work (where it can also boost creativity and productivity) a regular meditation habit will improve your life. Anxiety and depression reached epidemic levels last year. Meditation may not be the cure for everything that ails you but it has proven benefits for reducing anxiety and stress.
None of these steps will magically make a hated job fun. Yet doing them will help you figure out what steps to take before you quit.
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