There is an increase in articles on the internet mentioning disillusionment with tech jobs, fall in engagement, when to quit your job and the hiring season kick-off. And it isn’t just the internet. In a previous post, I mentioned how the year of digestion was leading to employees feeling a loss of autonomy, increased anxiety and workloads leading to many re-evaluating if they should stick with their current organisation.
This piece is not about how to find your next job or preparing for a career transition. Instead, it is about re-engaging with the job you already have. Yes, there are many reasons why you should quit and the reasons for disillusionment are often valid. However, your next job may not be that different; and there may be an equal number of reasons why you should stay.
Here are a few things to consider before you hit send on that resignation email.
Why did you join?
Most of us have a reason for joining our current organisation. Sometimes it is the pay, sometimes it is the reputation, the values, the growth opportunities it offers and if you are lucky, it is a combination of that and more. The first question to ask yourself is if that reason still holds true.
I joined my organisation because of its reputation of allowing people to explore different jobs and geographies. It is an added bonus that I get to work with some of the smartest people I have ever known. It equips me to deal with high levels of ambiguity and there’s never a dull moment. While a lot of the processes and policies may have changed over the years, these aspects still hold true.
There is a possibility that these qualities are no longer the right set for me and as with phases of life, what I need from a job at this point may be different. Yet, it is always helpful to remind yourself why you joined; ask yourself if these continue to be the values you seek in your future employer and if not, what are the qualities you are looking for. If it is just pay, while a valid driver, let it not be the only driver for change.
Find the projects/work/role that energises
Different people have different mantras, but one works for me is accepting that my job will always include tasks that I do not enjoy. The challenge lies in knowing what work energises me and ensuring that at least 50% of my job comprises that. There are days where I am drowning in tactical unpleasant tasks but there are also days where I can dedicate 80%, if not more, to tasks that bring me joy and keep me engaged.
I strongly believe that for most individuals, if you know what energises you, you will find a way to stay energised.
If you depend entirely on your manager, team and organisation to venture on this journey of discovery and then assign you tasks accordingly, it will always stay a struggle, no matter where you go.
If the current role isn’t the one you need to be in, check internally – often organisations also encourage internal mobility allowing you to explore different opportunities without having to leave.
Who you work with, not where and when you work
It isn’t who you work for but who you work with that has maximum impact on your job satisfaction and engagement. Per Gallup, there are innumerable benefits of having a best friend at work. However, best friend or not, find your First Team. One of my closest friends in HR works remotely and has a globally dispersed team; one that she doesn’t really connect with. She’s switched things around and made the business teams she supports her first team and derives energy from interactions with them vs her HR team. This came especially handy when her team got swapped around but her business teams remained intact. Find the people you love working with. They will most likely be the reason you stick around and enjoy your job.
Sometimes it’s what the job allows you to do
In my pursuit of discovering what keeps people going in their job, I discovered sometimes it’s not the job itself but what the job allows them to do. For some people, the fact that it helps them pay the bills is reason enough to stay. For another friend, it is the fact that the job allows her the flexibility to manage her personal commitments effectively and for yet another, having a job that allows her to work on her multiple side gigs on Fridays keeps her hooked. You may not love the job itself but instead appreciate what it allows you to do outside of the core work hours. On a recent work trip, I realized that I am grateful for the many places work has allowed me to travel to in addition to providing the space and support to pursue my writing and podcasts.
Often switching jobs is the right thing to do: job hoppers reportedly make more money than those who continue to stay in the company and it is sometimes easier to get hired at the next level than get promoted. Yet, job hopping isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. The cycle of the great resignation, the great regret and the great firing has told us that while the grass looks greener on the other side, sometimes, it is greener where you water it and that your current job may not be as bad as you make it out to be.
Give re-engaging with your job a chance. Chances are you’ll reconsider your decision to hop.