When should I quit my dead-end Job?
QUESTION: Mr Smith, I have been employed at my current company for more than 15 years. I am quite good at what I do and I enjoy it to some extent. I'm, however, frustrated at being grossly underpaid. Also, the job is going nowhere; it's a dead end. I feel stagnant and constantly think of quitting, but I'm not sure it's the right time. How will I know when it's the right time?
CAREERS: Fiona, I believe many readers can relate to your situation, especially the low salary. Your frustration is quite understandable.
All of us desire and expect the highest possible compensation for the work we do daily. We also expect to enjoy some degree of job satisfaction. And we want to know there is scope for career advancement. Whenever any of these three things is missing, frustration often results.
Unfortunately, many people quit their jobs prematurely, out of frustration, such as you're contemplating. You should only think of quitting your job as a last resort, and then only when you're fully prepared and ready. Otherwise, you may end up feeling temporarily relieved at removing yourself from the frustrating situation, but facing a terrifying, uncertain professional future.
In your frustration, quitting or staying might seem the only options you have. That is hardly ever the case, however. It's best to remember that, while you're now fed up with this job, there are many people for whom it would be their dream job. So, don't be too quick to ditch it before considering the following alternatives.
Explore possible posts related to yours in the company, which you qualify for, and which you'd find interesting. Even if you're convinced there is none, ask anyway. Perhaps one may open up soon, and you'll be considered.
Check out whether there are upcoming projects or initiatives which you could be a part of. This could prove reinvigorating.
Consider taking a vacation. Oftentimes, frustration at work is simply a matter of burnout. You just need to take a break and relax a bit.
If you believe your value to the corporation isn't reflected in your salary, discuss this with your boss. Prepare strategically, however, focusing mainly on specific, concrete value being delivered, rather than merely claiming you deserve more pay. Also, make sure you're managing your current salary in the best possible way.
Take charge of your work attitude. Don't quit purely out of frustration, but because it makes strategic sense for your career. Focus on how you can add more value above and beyond what you're being paid. Maintain a positive, cheerful and grateful disposition at work; don't sulk, complain or malinger.
Finally, if you decide to quit, you should do so only when you have a sound exit strategy:
ï Have at least six months' salary saved up;
ï Target several companies and apply before you quit. It's proven that it's easier to get a job while you still have one than when you're unemployed;
ï Don't slack off, Maintain performance and attitude excellence; and
ï Discuss your decision with a trusted, knowledgeable friend, your partner, and/or a professional counsellor.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. firstname.lastname@example.org