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If you are like millions of Americans, you may dream of quitting your job.
You may be burned out, want to do something new or are simply inspired to find something better thanks to the “Great Resignation” wave happening across the country.
Several surveys have shown that many people want to walk away from their jobs.
In fact, a poll released in September by the Society for Human Resource Management found that over 40% of U.S. workers are actively searching for a new job right now. SHRM surveyed 1,150 employed Americans from July 2 to 8.
“This generation-defining traumatic event has made them take a long, hard, honest look at how they constructed their life, or how their life was constructed for them,” said organizational psychologist Melissa Doman.
They may be asking themselves how they got there and if this job is really what they want. Yet not everyone is slowing down to ask themselves these reflective questions, she said.
“They’re so busy freaking out about the world literally and figuratively burning,” added Doman, author of “Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work…Here’s Why (And How To Do It Really Well).”
To be sure, how you quit matters. The last thing you want to do is act on impulse, or even rage quit. You could wind up tarnishing your reputation and may have a difficult time explaining why you left your last job to potential future employers.
“This can be a red flag,” said Toni Frana, a Destin, Florida-based career coach with FlexJobs.
If you have the impulse to hand in your walking papers, here’s what to do first.
1. Cope during work
Instead of bursting into your boss’ office or firing off an email stating “I quit,” leave your desk and take a walk. Do some quick meditation at your desk or vent your frustrations to a friend.
“All of those things will redirect the thought process for the time being and create a sense of calmness,” Frana said.
You can also remind yourself that this situation is temporary, Doman added.
“Making sure you have a laugh, reminding yourself that how you feel is not permanent, that is what can help the most with staving off those feelings of learned helplessness,” she said.
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However, if your job situation is negatively impacting your mental health in and outside of work and you can financially afford to quit without another lined up, do so.
“It’s a risk, but if the price is your mental health, it’s too expensive,” Doman said.
2. Know your “why”
Be honest with yourself about why you want to leave your job, and even write it down, Doman suggests.
What are the circumstances and what is your motivation? Is it because you are tired of the job and want something new? Do you want to own your own business or leave a boss who is a bully?
3. Create a plan
After you know your why, figure out what you are going to do with that information. Come up with actionable steps you need to go from theory to practice, Doman said.
Being intentional about your next move, rather than impulsive, will make you feel a lot more settled.
When targeting possible new companies, be very clear on what your top needs and preferences are in a new role. Come up with a list of the top five non-negotiable things you need, as well as what you would prefer to have in your next job.
4. Search for a job
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When you start looking for your next job, set reasonable goals for yourself, such as spending a certain number of minutes a day on your search, FlexJobs’ Frana suggests.
Break it into small pieces you can manage and still remain in control, she said.
Update your resume and start networking. Not only reach out to people who may be in a field or company you like, also speak to those who have successfully been through a similar situation — like changing industries or roles.
Just be mindful of who is giving you the advice. Someone who hasn’t been through the same process as you or did quit his or her job impulsively may not be the right fit.
In the end, it’s about making an informed decision.
“You want to go towards something as opposed to running away from something,” Doman said.
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