Tough Decisions: Leaving a Job You Actually Like

Leaving a job is similar to breaking up in a relationship.  It is easy to leave when the other person has wronged you.  But, sometimes, you know it is time to move on for other reasons.  Maybe timing is wrong, you don’t feel like you are evolving or growing, maybe you have a different long-term plan for yourself… Deciding to leave any job is a hard decision that takes serious thought and self-evaluation.

Here are 4 questions you should ask when making the tough decision to leave a job:

1.  What Life Do You Envision for Yourself?

Before you take steps for your future and make big changes in your life, you have to know what you want.  It is OK if you don’t have all the answers, but you need a few or you’ll be counterproductive to your own success.  When you talk about your career, what effortlessly rolls off your tongue?  On some level, we all know what we want, but it takes conscious thought to realize it.  Figure out where you see yourself, and then you can plan the steps that will get you there.

2.  What are Your Priorities in Life?

As you get older in life, priorities change and reality sets in.  Do you have a family to support?  Student loans to pay?  Medical bills?  There comes a time when you have to ask what is most important to you.  This question is often oversimplified.  What is more important: What you do?  Or how much you earn?  These questions are the tip of the iceberg and not meant to be easy.  It is OK to admit you need to change jobs because you are underpaid or can’t support your family in the way you want to.  It is also OK to admit you love what you do and want to be paid well to do it.  We have been force fed the idea that you can only have one or the other, money or career passion.  That idea is a complete lie.  Identify your priorities and be honest with yourself.

3. Do You Feel Guilty?

There is nothing worse than feeling guilty that your company, manager, or team is investing their time, respect, and energy in you while you are secretly planning to part ways.  You have to remind yourself that the company will survive without you and they will understand you are doing what you need to.  The key is to do the right thing when you decide to leave.  Ensure you give enough notice to transition your projects, clients, and responsibilities to others.  Don’t leave your team hanging.  Do the ethical and responsible thing by ensuring your team is equipped for business as usual after you leave.

4.  Are You Ready?

It’s stressful to make big changes in life.  It’s also hard to sit down and really evaluate what your goals and needs are.  Changing jobs is a tough decision and timing is everything.  Ask yourself whether you are ready to have honest self-conversations and to make a change.  If not now, why?  If not now, then when?  After being honest with yourself, you might surprise yourself with what you discover about yourself and your priorities.  At the end of the day, you have to be committed 101% to your own success and the life you want for yourself.

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