Cancel or stay? This is the question many employees who are contemplating a career change ask themselves. Be it after a few years with an employer and the desire for new things or with high frustration and persistent dissatisfaction in your current position. Quit without having the new employment contract in your pocket? First a break and then looking for the right new employer in peace? But do you still stay and hope that things will get better at some point or that there will be internal development opportunities? Or is it all just a luxury problem? Here are questions that you should ask yourself before you quit, so that stress, boredom or frustration at work doesn’t turn into a hasty escape, but a well-considered decision to change.
Questions you should ask yourself before a termination
Which of these questions can you answer with “yes” and which questions do you find it difficult to answer? What information are you still missing, and what can you do to get more clarity? Find out if you are really ready to quit your current job and start something new.
Are you really ready to give up the current position and your colleagues?
Every change means giving up something old for something new. Daily contact with colleagues you have come to love, certain tasks that have been fun up to now or special advantages that your current job or your employer brings with it. What do you give up when you quit? Are you really ready for this and can you say goodbye to it?
Surely there is nothing left that could keep you from quitting?
Would your boss or colleagues still have a chance to keep you from resigning, and if so, with what? What would have to happen for you to stay? – More money? A promotion? New tasks? An open debate? Is it worth discussing such topics with the boss or colleagues and checking whether there may still be a future together? If there is something, how likely is it that what would keep you from quitting will actually happen in the future?
Do you realize what you can expect from a job change?
Most employees who are thinking of resigning themselves are on the run. The main thing is to get away. But moving away from your old employer doesn’t say anything about your goal for the future. Have you already thought about what should happen after the termination, and what do you think why you will feel better after a change of employer? What exactly do you promise yourself from this and are you sure that these opportunities for change do not exist with your current employer? Because…
Have you checked all the options with your current employer?
Many workers think that their position with an employer is set in stone. They often don’t get the idea of asking around for alternative development opportunities within the company. Once the termination has been given, it is usually too late to think about internal switch options. Which ideas for change, perhaps unrealistic but attractive in your opinion, would be worth talking to your boss, other executives or employees from the HR department before you finally say goodbye?
Are you in the shape to think about your professional future?
Many employees feel very much under pressure in their day-to-day business and are burdened by the problems that led to the idea of resigning. In coaching, I notice that some people who are willing to change find it extremely difficult to think about their professional future and to talk about goals. Just a quick thought of what you have suffered from in the past weeks or months brings tears to your eyes. Today and yesterday determine their carousel of thoughts so much that there is still no room in their heads for tomorrow. Here, too, resignation would be more of a hasty escape than a good start to something new. How do you feel when you think about your goals for the next few years and your professional future?
Do you know which target positions and employers you are looking for?
What should happen after the termination? The same, just somewhere else? A new job with an employer in the same industry? Or even a major reorientation? When you quit, you should have a plan of where to take the next step. If you haven’t managed to develop this plan yet, plan your orientation phase. Will you wait a little longer before you resign and will you be able to look around for new positions and employers in your free time or on the weekend or do you need a radical cut and a break from your old job for your orientation phase?
Do you get along with how other people rate your decision?
“You don’t just quit your job!” This thinking is still present in large parts of our society. Especially if other people around you see your decision as a luxury problem. They will convince you that you are fine after all and that many other employees are so much worse off. How strongly do you feel about your decision, and what will you answer to such questioners?
Are you interested in applications and interviews?
Well, you probably won’t want to talk about lust. In any case, I haven’t met a job changer who is looking forward to an interview. But one thing is clear: If you are not currently a computer scientist or geriatric nurse, you will probably have to write a few applications and have many interviews until the next employment contract is signed. Are you ready for this and curious about what the job market has to offer you?
Will you be able to bridge three months with no income?
If you terminate the employment contract yourself, you normally face a 3-month ban on unemployment benefit. Do you have enough reserves to cover your costs and living expenses during this time? If you do not have the prospect of a new job at the time of your termination, application processes can quickly take six months or more. Will you also have enough financial support during this time?
Does the job change fit your private life planning?
Work has long since become an integral part of life. What are your private plans for the next few years and would your resignation and the change of employer have any effects on this? What would you have to do without in your private life and how important is all of this to you? Or is there something that should improve privately through the termination, and what does this mean for your search for a new employer?
You are going to quit?
Plan your departure and the change
Once you have made your decision that you will leave your current employer, then clarify the separation process. What notice periods have to be observed, and what is a good termination date for you? Are there any tasks or projects that you would like to bring to a successful conclusion before you leave? Perhaps it is also important to you to hand over your open topics to a successor. Many employees want to leave their employer for good and not leave a battlefield. If this is also important to you, then clarify what you can do to help in the remaining time.
Perhaps your employer also has programs for downsizing, and you can benefit from a severance payment arrangement or outplacement advice that will help you find your way around and find new positions. Perhaps it can also make sense to speak openly with your employer about which side will issue the legally effective termination – with all the associated consequences – from the calculation of the unemployment benefit to the wording in your job reference.
You will stay?
Redesign your old work
If you have decided against the termination, you will not be satisfied with “Keep it up!” in the long run. Even if you are more aware of the advantages of the position with today’s employer, and they outweigh a job change, there is probably still something that bothers you and will continue to burden you in the future.
Do not lapse into a never-minded attitude and return to routine business, but work as the boss of your life on the important topics that you identified in your answers to the ten questions. Because even as an employee you have more freedom than you think.