“The Great Resignation” is everywhere. My LinkedIn and news feeds are full of stories about it. And no wonder. A record 4 million people left their jobs in April, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
It’s a big deal.
If you’re feeling like you need to try something new – or maybe do nothing at all for a while – well, millions of people know that feeling of needing a change.
But is it really the time to quit? Maybe. Maybe not.
What I’m hearing from candidates is that this last year has them rethinking their priorities. Turns out what matters most in life isn’t sitting in a car, commuting an hour each way, only to get to a job that isn’t challenging them the same way it once did. People are also burned out from demanding jobs that blurred the lines between work time and personal time. It’s pretty easy to leave when you’re not excited about staying.
That’s where being intentional in your career comes in. My advice is always to go toward what’s right for you and not just away from where you are. That takes understanding how your work aligns with your values and keeps you on the career path you envision for yourself. If you’re not crystal clear about your vision and values, you risk quitting only to find yourself in the same position or worse.
So, before you quit, the first step is to pause. Take a breath. Think about why you really want to leave, and where you ultimately want to arrive.
Keep in mind that pretty much every organization – business, nonprofit, government – is going through giant changes. I hear all the time from hiring leaders that they are working hard to strike the right balance between business needs and employee needs – keeping employees connected, recognizing their accomplishments and making sure they have opportunities to grow. No easy feat.
Try to be objective when you ask yourself if the organization you work for now aligns with your values. Get curious about how the business is doing and where it’s headed. Maybe you’ll find that it’s worth it to you to weather this storm with them. Consider having a candid conversation with your boss – not that you’re on the edge of quitting, but instead where you’re hoping to go in your career. Explore with your boss if that’s possible within your organization and what the timeline for that might look like. It may not happen as quickly as you want, but you’ll want to figure out first if it’s possible at all.
If you’re thinking about leaving because working from home is no longer an option where you are, I strongly recommend that you do your homework before you quit. What are other companies in your field doing? What does the field of competition look like for those jobs? I can tell you that setting limitations on whether you’ll work from home or in person is just that – a limitation. But you might be comfortable with that. It all depends on what you want and need in your work and your life.
Coming back to those of you who are thinking about quitting because you are just exhausted. Pay attention to how your organization is treating you, but also pay attention to how you are treating yourself. I often say that we can train other people how to treat us, so take some time to establish healthy boundaries between work life and home life, and prioritize time to do something you love every day.
It’s hard to say how things are going to go as we emerge from the pandemic. There are lots of unknowns and nuance. Stay rooted in your values and your intent, and you’ll be able to better navigate the waters ahead.