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How To Avoid Falling Into The Great Regret

Considering a job change? Feel like your current job is no longer a good fit? Consider this before leaving your current position and finding yourself in a worse situation.
The pandemic and the realization that life is short have many people taking stock and reprioritizing what’s important to them. Over 20.4 million workers have left their employment this year alone, according to Bloomberg and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether leaving in search of higher pay, remote work and flexibility, avoiding burnout, or to seek self-employment, many are discovering the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. According to studies by job search site, The Muse, approximately 72% of people who quit their jobs in order to pursue “better” opportunities now regret their decision. Almost half of these employees said they would try to go back to their prior positions. So what can you do to avoid the Great Regret?

Despite so many job openings, many people who decided to leave discovered it was more difficult than they anticipated to find new employment. For those that found new positions, they found the new position or company to be very different from what they expected, leading them to realize their old position may not have been as bad as they thought. If you find yourself feeling stuck in your career, your job no longer fulfills you, you’re not being paid your worth, your company culture no longer aligns with you, or you are experiencing burnout, before making a snap decision to quit, here are some things to consider.

    1. Bored, uninterested, or no longer enjoy your current job?
    Many of us accept a job in order to get more experience or money, but if you discover that it no longer interests you or has become too repetitive and boring, it’s time for a change. If your current role no longer fulfills you, before quitting look into other positions or opportunities that might be available inside your current company. Instead of leaving to go to a new company, you may need to instead transition into a new role with new and different responsibilities. When changing jobs within a company you already work for, you have an advantage over other candidates since you are already familiar with its policies and processes.

    2. Feeling stuck in your current role, with no opportunity for growth or advancement?
    If you’ve hit a wall in your current role and feel like there’s nowhere else to go with it, consider either transitioning into a new role and/or take advantage of courses and career development opportunities to increase your skill set and create opportunities for growth. You may be able to find promotional opportunities within your current department due to high turnover. Or this may be the time for a total revamp where you can find what interests you and take courses that relate to those interests.

    Changing your career path doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school. Companies like Udemy, Google Digital Garage, HubSpot, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera offer many free or low-cost courses. You might even be able to turn an enjoyable hobby into a career. For example, if you enjoy social media and you want to earn money doing something you are passionate about, you can take advantage of courses like Google’s Digital Marketing Certification program to acquire the skills you need to get hired in that area.

    3. Feel stressed, overworked, undersupported, or experiencing burnout?
    You may be feeling one or more of these things. It may be possible that your boss does not realize you are stressed and overwhelmed because they see the work being done without any complaints. If you talk with them about your concerns, you may be able to alleviate some tasks. It may also be helpful to seek support from coworkers who may be experiencing the same feelings as you, as they can provide tips and insight. If that doesn’t help, taking a step back, reflecting, and setting up healthy boundaries that allow you to put yourself first rather than your work may be the best way for you to show up for yourself.

    If you find you’re not getting the support you need from others, support your own wellbeing by communicating a clear work schedule and sticking to it. Prioritize your daily tasks and set realistic expectations of what you can accomplish today. Take frequent breaks throughout the day to reset, and take advantage of your vacation time, even if it’s only for a mental health day to give yourself a much needed break. Taking these steps can help you reduce stress, prevent burnout, and provide yourself with the support you need.

    4. Leaving your job to pursue remote opportunities or positions with more flexibility?
    The majority of employees now favor a remote or hybrid option after getting a taste of it during the pandemic. If you’re thinking about leaving your job in order to have more flexibility,  talk to your employer first about working remotely, even if it’s just a few days a week. This may be the solution you need to improve your work situation. Many of those who quit as part of the Great Resignation discovered that their former companies became more accommodating with remote work after they left.

    5. Looking to quit your job to start your own business or become your own boss?
    While being your own boss may sound enticing, ask yourself if you’re really prepared to make that change and take on the commitment. The fact that you are discovering and pursuing your passion may initially cause you to feel more motivation and happiness. It’s important to remember, however, that being your own boss can be more work than what you currently do. This can result in burnout due to the constant search for work, the additional responsibility of pitching and proving yourself to new clients, as well as the burden of unstable and irregular pay, with increased financial responsibilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, 50% survive five years, and 33% survive 10 years. If you are considering taking the leap, take the time to make sure this is the right path for you.

In the end, workers are ultimately looking for what makes them happy. While a new position may offer more money, it may not offer fulfillment or the feeling of being valued. Before taking the big leap for more pay, consider if leaving your current job is going to solve your problems or just be a temporary solution. If you are contemplating resigning, you should carefully consider your actions. It can be easier to navigate within an organization you already know, as opposed to learning a new role and company. If you have tried and exhausted all options, it might be time to join the Great Resignation, preferably without regret.
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