As part of our career guidance series, Ask Katie, we’re sharing responses to some commonly asked career questions to help provide guidance in the current job market. In this edition, Katie answers to question: when should you leave your job? And how do you know when it’s time to leave your job?

 

This article is authored by Katie Kelley. Ms. Kelley is a former psychotherapist and experienced career coach who currently leads LHH's United States west coast talent development practice as Senior Vice-President of Talent Solutions.

Question: My big question is related to the Great Resignation. How should one think through when it's time to move? I have a lot of students who are thinking hard about fit and how long they should remain in positions and or organizations. I'm still of the mindset that you want to show commitment to an organization but what's the right balance for staying vs. moving around?

 

Katie’s response: The decision of whether to remain with or depart your employer should hinge around the evaluation of the purpose of your partnership today.

SHRM describes todays quitter’s market: “Many factors have led to the historic quits levels—the ongoing pandemic, new vaccine mandates and a strong candidate's market are just some considerations that may be leading more workers to put in their notice. The last eight reported months (April through November) have seen the largest exodus of employees on record.”

Assuming the consideration to depart your employer is a choice; you may be in a place where you can evaluate the longer-term possibilities for remaining with your employer or you may be poised for action and a desire to bring forward change in your professional life immediately. Neither path is better or worse. Only you can determine what you are needing in this moment and what path will best serve your priorities today. Taking time to consider both the rewards and the costs of your decision will help prepare you for the total impact of this choice, throughout your life.

First, find a way to tune inwards and listen to what you are being drawn towards today to bring the most meaning to your professional life. Suggested routes for this step: meditate, hire a coach, consult with a mentor or advisor in your life, journal. Seek to understand what you have learned about yourself in the pandemic and how this wisdom impacts your career aspirations.

Second, adjust the lens of your current employer evaluation to your larger career journey consideration. How does your current role, career pathway at your employer and overall organization align to your overarching career plans?

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Signs it may be time to quit your job:

 

  • Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself when you began your current role? If you were in an interview today, how would you synopsize your journey in your current role? Do you believe you have completed what you set out to accomplish and are now clear on what you want to pursue next as a result?
  • Are you set up in your role today to build out new competencies that are of interest to your career growth?
  • Are there other pathways beyond your current role that you can pursue that would allow you to pivot or deepen your skill set and experiences?
  • Are there elements missing at your current employer that are too important to you today to miss out on in 2022? Examples: the opportunity to grow and evolve professionally (does your employer have a genuine learning and development culture?), is your employer evolving to meet the market’s needs (are you with a competitive company?), are you aligned with your leaders’ values? (representing leadership whom we believe in and vice versa is critical for organizational satisfaction).

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that many of us have realized the sacredness of our choices in life and the difference it can make to participate in work that lines up with our values and our priorities. And equally important to the work itself is the kind of people and purpose that we are connected with in our work.

Only you know your answer to these big questions. I can guarantee that if you take the time to answer these questions above and you share these learnings succinctly and genuinely, you will find yourself well on your way to a very satisfying and inspiring 2022. Good luck!

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