7 WAYS TO BREAK-UP WITH YOUR TOXIC JOB
I’m so thrilled to share with you this follow-up guest post from Kacey Crawford. Not so long ago Kacey wrote a post here called “Is your job making you sick?” And yep, it was HUGELY popular, to say the least.
Kacey is now here to offer up some advice to those that were screaming YES upon reading that very first post.And she knows what she’s talking about – as an inspired Career + Life Coach, Kacey is all over it!
In Kacey’s words: If you’re ready to ditch the job that’s dictating your social conversations and robbing you of health and happiness, then this is your much-needed what next.
1. Clarify your reasons for moving on.
This step serves several important purposes. First, identifying what’s made you unhappy means you can look out for (and avoid) it in future job choices. For instance, if it’s unreasonable working hours, excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines that are stressing you out, you’ll want to target organisations that offer flexible work and employee wellbeing perks – and steer clear of high-pressure or commission-based jobs.
This exercise will also help alleviate any guilt or disloyalty that may surface when it comes time to bid farewell. While the job itself may suck, you could be leaving behind a great group of colleagues, clients or a boss who is powerless to improve things for you. Seeing your reasons written down will reaffirm why you’re making this choice and help you stand your ground.
And finally, this step will ensure you have a polished, diplomatic response to the inevitable interview question about why you’re moving on.
2. Get the practical stuff sorted.
First cab off the rank is to brush up your resume, then put your referees on notice that you’ll be job-seeking soon. Check they’re still happy to vouch for you and help them understand what you’ve been doing so they can talk about you with confidence. I’ve written a handy guide on resume writing, interview skills and cover letters that you can get right here, and it includes handy tips on how to get the most from your referees.
Sign up for email alerts on the major job-seeking search engines.
Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your most recent experience, not forgetting any qualifications, training or achievements that should be included.
And if you’re on a performance-based bonus or incentive scheme at work, check when your payment is due and know what the eligibility rules are. You don’t want to rule yourself out of the running with an ill-timed resignation.
Now is also the time to reconnect with your mentors and contacts and start networking.
3. Start to dial it down so you can recharge.
While it’s important not to check out of your job entirely before you leave (I’m a big believer in not burning bridges), you also need to preserve your energy for your job search – and the learning curve involved with starting a new role.
In a perfect world you’d have at least two weeks between leaving your role and starting the next one, but we all know that often doesn’t happen.
Stay professional, maintain your integrity and aim to wrap up any substantial pieces of existing work, but now isn’t the time to be taking on anything new.
4. Put a transition plan in place.
If you have clients, manage people or work in a specialist/technical role, it’s important that you start thinking about how you’ll hand over your responsibilities once you leave.
Depending on the severity of your situation it can be hard to think this way, but it’s a simple and often overlooked way of upholding your professional image – not to mention just plain old good karma.
Use this time to tie up loose ends, bed down any processes or important information that’s living inside your head, and do an email and hard drive clean out (which may provide helpful fodder for your resume too).
5. Decide how you’ll leave.
For most people, financial responsibilities will require you to give the proper period of notice and wait it out to maintain salary continuity between roles.
If you can afford to take leave without pay – and only you can be the judge of that – or exhaust the rest of your annual leave as part of your notice period (which some organisations allow), then go for it.
You may even want to take a career break if your organisation offers them – but consider what impact this will have on your benefits and entitlements, including access to paid parental leave.
Now is also a good time to decide if you’ll raise any issues or grievances in your exit interview. It’s a personal choice as to whether you do this, but remember to keep your comments professional and gracious.
Think about whether your feedback is likely to have an impact and what the future repercussions could be for you personally (especially if you work in a small industry). Think self-preservation as opposed to short-term gratification.
6. Get some clear direction.
When you’re seriously unhappy at work, your desperation to escape can easily lead you to bounce unintentionally from one dissatisfying role to another.
Use this opportunity to get clear on exactly what you want to do next (given that you’ve now discovered what you don’t want).
If you’ve been thinking about a career change or starting up a business, then now could be the perfect time.
Most people contemplating career change will start by thinking “what could I do”, which leads them down a narrow path that includes only their skills and experience. Try a different approach: imagine the lifestyle you want and then identify careers that will allow you to have it.
What specific types of roles and organisations match your vision? How can you make sure you target them in your job search? What types of questions might you need to ask in job interviews to ensure your next job really stacks up?
Remember your next role doesn’t have to be the ultimate end goal, just a stepping-stone in the right direction.
7. Keep it kind.
One final word of advice that you’ve no doubt heard before – resist the temptation to bad mouth your boss or employer at any point during your job search (in person and on social media).
It may be such common knowledge in your industry that it feels harmless to voice what everyone else already knows, but to prospective employers this (unfortunately) will say more about you than who or what you’re leaving behind.
Connect with Kacey Crawford here: