Work: until the day when the robots inevitably take over, it’s something we all have to do to earn enough to stay alive.
While many of us are blessed enough to have an amazing job, some of us might be struggling to make it out of bed every morning as we dread our cold, unwelcoming workplaces. It’s on occasions like this that we often think about leaving our job. And it sounds good in theory, but there’s a lot of things that you should consider before you give your boss your two weeks notice.
We spoke to Michelle Gibbings, who literally wrote the book on workplace environments (called Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work) about what you should be asking yourself when you’re considering voting yourself off your own workplace’s Survivor Island.
She opens with a caveat: unfortunately for many of us, the idea of leaving work that we hate might not seem financially viable. Yet, even in these cases, you should consider your options.
There’s no doubt there are stages in your life where it can feel like a luxury to consider throwing in a job to go and do something you really want to do. However, it’s not a luxury when you’re staying in a job that’s negatively impacting you and those around you.
With Michelle’s help, we’ve outlined six questions you should ask yourself before you quit your job.
IS YOUR WORKPLACE FULL OF D-BAGS?
It might sound like a joke, but seriously: if the place you’re working for is full of people that drive you up the wall, you should probably get the hell out. “An organisation’s toxic culture underpinned by the poor behaviour of leaders creates a working environment that is both mentally challenging and physically exhausting,” Gibbings said. Likewise, if your workplace has changed your team or supervisor more often than you’ve had hot dinners, that may also “establish a climate of uncertainty,” which you should also consider.
ARE YOU BORED?
If the job you’re doing has you on autopilot every day, it might be time for a change up. Not only is the boredom affecting you and the way you work, but doing the bare minimum may also affect your standing within your industry. “This ‘bare minimum’ approach is impacting your performance, the outcomes you deliver and ultimately your reputation,” Gibbings said. “Damage to your reputation can have long term consequences.”
ARE YOU OKAY WITH WHAT YOUR WORK DOES?
In other words, is the work you’re doing conflicting with your personal politics, ethics and morals? For example, you may have found out your workplace engages in some legal-yet-questionable business practices, or supports certain social stances you don’t agree with.
This is a toughie, not just because of how personal these decisions are to everyone, but how much weight we place on how and why we work, versus the outcomes of that work. “This may show up as you not feeling comfortable to voice your opinion, or having to support ideas that go against what you believe in,” says Gibbings.
IS EVERYONE SICK OF YOU WHINGING ABOUT WORK?
It may seem obvious, but if all you ever talk about is how horrible your work is, maybe you should bail ASAP. Furthermore, if you don’t think the place will improve if you brought the issues up, you should also consider a change. “You don’t trust your work colleagues and you no longer offer ideas on how to improve things at work,” Gibbings said. “You only complain about them.”
ARE YOU PHYSICALLY BURNT OUT BY YOUR WORK?
If your work is affecting your physical, mental, or emotional health, you should definitely talk to your GP, then consider if your work is good for your health. This is doubly so if your work has affected your behaviour around your friends and family. As Michelle says, “You feel exhausted all the time and the thought of going to work makes you feel anxious or highly emotional.”
ARE YOU LEARNING ANYTHING?
Is your work teaching you new or additional skills? If not, do you see the opportunity to learn anything in the future? You might like the place, but if you aren’t learning anything it may still be a sign that things aren’t improving. “To stay relevant in today’s world we all need to continue to grow and be challenged,” Gibbings said. “If you’ve stopped learning at work and there is no more room to grow or expand your horizons it may be time to step outside.”
Good luck, god speed, and may we hope your boss doesn’t bite your head off.