You realise times are hard right now and you feel lucky to be employed and earning a living. At the same time, however, you hate your job. You dread logging on every day, but feel guilty because you know so many people are out of work at the moment.
Perhaps the pandemic and the transition to home-working has changed your role, or redundancies in your company have left you with an increased workload. Or maybe COVID-19 has revealed a toxic culture at your work, leaving you feeling demoralised and exhausted. Either way, you aren’t alone.
More than 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year, according to Microsoft’s first-annual Work Trend Index. The research, which surveyed more than 30,000 people in 31 countries, found huge numbers of workers are struggling with “digital exhaustion” and feel their employers are out of touch with their needs. So what should you do if lockdown has made you want to quit your job?
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“Living in lockdown has had an extensive impact upon people’s lives in a range of ways. The slower pace of life has created an enforced pause to remember what’s really important and has caused many to completely reassess the path they’re on,” says Claire Brown, a life and career coach and mentor at the Career Hub.
“While deeply challenging, this past year has created the opportunity for people to reflect on what they really want for their lives especially in relation to their work.”
Some people have enjoyed the additional time spent at home with their families and are now committed to carving out a healthier work life balance.
“For others in sectors most significantly hit by the pandemic, their hand has been forced through redundancy and furlough and they’re making the choice to seize the chance to do something completely different that might be more future-proof as restrictions are lifted,” Brown says.
“The juggle of a demanding workload and homeschooling for some has been too much and with it has come a realisation that something has to change before they reach total burnout.”
See if you can make changes to your job
It’s possible that your job may have changed as a result of the pandemic, but it’s important to pinpoint exactly what is different and why you don’t like it. If you are happy with the company overall, you may be able to make some adjustments to your current job.
This could be negotiating a new way of working like different hours or more working from home, a pay rise or asking for new opportunities to develop your skills. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut at work, try speaking to your manager about new projects to work on or whether you can do some training.
“With all big life decisions, it’s important to take your time and weigh up a range of factors before reaching conclusions and taking action,” says Brown. “Ask questions and carry out research to determine whether the factors impacting your desire to leave your job are temporary or unlikely to change.”
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Be wary of emotional motivation
Before you hand in your notice, consider how the current circumstances are influencing your decision. Lockdown has been a difficult period for everyone, but it won’t last forever. You may be feeling anxious, sad or frustrated at the moment, but this may change in the future.
It helps to identify whether the factors making you consider leaving your job are because of the role itself, or due to the challenges of lockdown. If you’ve been having doubts about your job more recently, it may be down to the difficult circumstances rather than your role.
Make changes outside of work
Unfortunately, quitting your job isn’t always an option. However, it’s possible to improve your situation at work by changing other factors. Doing a part-time training course alongside your job can be hard-work and time-consuming, but it can be a significant confident boost to learn a new skill. Skilling up and gaining new qualifications can also help you change roles in the future, too.
READ MORE: How to cope with redundancy
Many training and course providers have switched to online delivery, which has opened up many opportunities. It also makes it easier to do a course and work at the same time.
“If you are seriously considering a career change, you might want to seek support from a qualified professional,” says Brown. “A career coach or advisor can help you gain clarity as to what you’re looking for and will best meet your needs, how your skills could transfer to an alternative role, what employment trends to be aware of and what actions you need to take in order to strategically position yourself ready for your next career move.”