Bo Parfet, CEO and co-founder of impact investment organization Denali Venture Philanthropy, has found that workers across America are at a crossroads as they deal with the burnout of daily life. The fundamental question that seems to be asked is, “What’s the next step in my journey?” When Parfet first set out on his journey to summit the highest mountain on every continent, he didn’t fully understand the many obstacles he would encounter. Still, he simply knew that he had an awakening passion that he had to chase despite the risks. Many people are in a similar situation, believing that their next step requires them to leave their current job. Finding a company that is trying to not only make a profit but also have a positive “Impact” on the world is very important for many people.
A survey by bankrate.com found that 55% of Americans plan to look for a new position within the next year. These numbers are even more staggering in industries that often require in-person work, such as retail, warehouses, restaurants, and health care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40% of people who quit their job in August worked at a restaurant or hotel. Grant Thornton’s recent “State of Work in America” survey bears this out as job flexibility now outweighs compensation as the chief concern for many employees.
As workers decide if they should exit their job, Bo Parfet believes it’s important to understand the difference between a bad day in the office versus the right time to leave. Current job dissatisfaction might not mean the grass is greener elsewhere. With newfound leverage, workers should first reflect on ways to improve their current situation before jumping to hit the eject button.
Here are five things Bo Parfet suggests reflecting upon when considering leaving any job:
Does your current job allow for personal growth?
A plateaued career has always been a frustrating experience, but as society has become increasingly “on-demand,” it’s never felt as prominent a consideration to many American workers. But leaving isn’t necessarily the best answer, says Parfet. The battle to retain talent has spurred many companies to find creative and proactive ways to support their current employees. Oftentimes, this additional support may manifest after seeking more direct lines of communication with management in advocating for your personal interests and goals. Identifying potential opportunities, seeking specificity in what you ask, and being proactive in your approach can bolster your case to advance your career beyond your current role and scratch that itch for increased opportunity without necessarily having to go through the often tedious process of finding a new job.
Understand What You Value
When deciding whether you’ll leave or stay, it’s imperative to understand what it is you’re seeking. Oftentimes, momentum can lead you down a career path that leaves you stopping to ask, “How did I get here?” While a job may not always be, or need to be, an act of passion, you should still seek to be engaged by work and value what you do. Taking a period of self-reflection is essential before deciding to quit. You need to understand the ways in which you see yourself and how you would like your job to play into that identity. For example, it’s easy to burn out if you draw your identity from a job that leaves you dissatisfied. According to Bo Parfet, reflecting on what drives you will help you understand if that ideal self can be found within the walls of your company or not.
The Cultural Connection
Sometimes it’s not the job itself but the workplace culture surrounding it. That can be frustrating as workers often lack the ability to direct their culture, but it also means that small, simple tweaks may have a profound effect on your happiness. You may dislike one of your coworkers, feel like you lack two-way communication with management, find frustration in the employer’s COVID response, or any other host of issues. Bo Parfet suggests that identifying the sources of anxiety or frustration gives you the power to make changes potentially. Understanding how the workplace culture affects you helps clarify if leaving is the right decision and helps guide you in finding the right landing spot if you decide to exit.
Exit Opportunities… What color is the grass?
Bo Parfet advocates for people to spend time exploring what the ideal job would look like before quitting. There are so many adages of green grass and frying pans that capture the complexity of this decision, so taking the time to do market research will help you decide if quitting is the right choice for you. Are you simply looking for a different company? Do you hope to change the type of work you’re doing within the same industry? Or do you want to start an entirely different career from scratch? All of these are valid questions to ask before making the leap. While quitting may feel normal amidst the Great Resignation, it is necessary first to consider foundational questions such as how long you can afford not to have a job or the type of training required to make that next great leap.
Mental Health and understanding what’s right for you!
While all of these factors should be considered, doing what is right for your personal mental health should be at the top of the list. Sometimes toxic and corrosive cultures can be fixed, but other times the only real option is to get out. In other instances, the job may be the thing tipping you over the edge of anxiety, depression, or other mental states, though not the source of it. Understand it’s okay to take time away from the office to recharge. Take breaks. Seek out help from a therapist or other professional. All of these are perfectly viable responses to a year filled with anxiety, as prioritizing your mental health is essential to sustain you through the next steps of your career.