By Priti Dadlani
At some point in your career, you’re going to think about leaving a job or in my case, a career.
There are all sorts of reasons you might contemplate leaving: you don’t like your boss or your colleagues; the job is boring or fulfilling; you feel underpaid or unappreciated; your life circumstances or the work environment changes. The bottom line is you’re unhappy.
In my case, I was working as a national news writer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). I loved the thrill of coming up with a story idea, chasing down the interviews and finally crafting the story. I can’t lie; the added bonus was seeing my byline attached to the story. I had been working the same way for two decades, starting at The Record in Kitchener-Waterloo, my first reporting job after graduating from Ryerson University, a stint at Newsday in New York, then the Toronto Star, and finally at the CBC.
Ever since I was a kid, I loved to write and read. My teachers always noted in my report cards that I excelled at both. Writing is my passion, although I don’t do it professionally any more.
My last job in journalism was at the CBC. I decided to leave because the work environment changed dramatically. The CBC introduced an overnight shift – midnight to 8 a.m. – which all writers had to rotate through.
At that stage in my life and career – I had worked in journalism for 20 years – I could not even imagine working overnight. My career had come full circle – my very first job in journalism while I was a student at Ryerson was working as an editorial assistant on the overnight shift at the CBC.
I decided to leave. In doing so, I knew I was also calling it a career as far as finding another job in journalism. No one is hiring middle-aged journalists anymore. So I made the leap to communications. I’ve never been happier – no more working nights and weekends or statutory holidays. Best of all, the work is challenging and fun, and my colleagues are wonderful.
In my case, it was a fairly easy choice to leave the job but a heart-wrenching one to leave a career I loved.
Others have written eloquently and creatively about their struggle in making the decision to leave or stay.
Wayne Pan, a software engineer manager at LinkedIn who quit his lucrative job at Google wrote this in a post on LinkedIn about his unhappiness at work:
“Days would pass where I would go home feeling I had done nothing productive. Mornings where I laid in bed thinking it would make no difference if I showed up that day.
“But I had the “golden handcuffs.” I had to go to work. It was simply too much money to give up. What if I never have this chance again? I would be an idiot if I left. What would my parents say? Am I crazy?”
Pan came up with an infographic of how he arrived at this decision to leave.
Eric Barker, who curates and writes a blog, called Barking up the Wrong Tree or How to Be Awesome at Life, had a post on a book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.
In the book, Cornell University researcher Karl Pillemer interviewed nearly 1500 people aged 70 to 100+ asking them what life lessons they’d share.
Guess what their No. 1 piece of advice was? Do not stay in a job you dislike.
This excerpt is from the blog post and the book:
“You know those nightmares where you are shouting a warning but no sound comes out? Well, that’s the intensity with which the experts wanted to tell younger people that spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake. There was no issue about which the experts were more adamant and forceful. Over and over they prefaced their comments with, “If there’s one thing I want your readers to know it’s . . .” From the vantage point of looking back over long experience, wasting around two thousand hours of irretrievable lifetime each year is pure idiocy.”
Only you can decide if it’s the time right to move on, but there’s plenty of advice to help you, like this article from Forbes magazine: Five Really Good Reasons to Quit Your Job.
The article cites Gallup research that shows “the top predictors of turnover are: a bad direct manager, poor job fit, co-workers not dedicated to quality, unsatisfactory pay and benefits, and a lack of connection to a broader purpose.”
Have you left a job? Why and how did it turn out?