Finance Work When to quit your job … and when to stay
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When to quit your job … and when to stay

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Quitting your job can be equal parts terrifying and liberating.

And with unemployment at a 12-year high, even if you hate your job you are probably reluctant to throw yourself at the mercy of the job market.

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But it may be that the doom and gloom in the job market is being overstated.

According to the latest Hudson Hiring Report, net hiring intentions among employers are at their highest level since 2012, with 17.1 per cent of employers looking to increase permanent staffing levels between April and June this year. That’s well up from just 11.2 per cent one year ago.

So if you are at your wit’s end with your current job, now may be the time to call it quits. However, you need to make sure you are leaving for the right reasons.

Associated Career Management Australia managing director Tony Crosby says changing a job needs to be carefully managed.

“If you are going to make a move, make it a good one. Just changing a job isn’t enough, you need to make a career move, not backwards, not sideways, it needs to be an improvement.”

He says people don’t leave jobs “for no reason”, and while most of the times their reason for leaving is valid, occasionally they need to look deeper at their own behaviour.

So here are the top tips to answer that age old question: Should I stay or should I go?

Reasons you should quit your job

A health risk

You might joke that you are allergic to your job, but for some people a stressful job can be dangerous. Olos Careers’s Andrea Warr says the first question she asks a client is: “Is [your job] impacting your health or mental health?”

If they say yes, she recommends creating an interim plan to support yourself financially and then get out of there.

Looking ahead

Ms Warr says there are a lot of positive reasons to change a job.

“It doesn’t fit where you want to be, you aren’t learning, you are looking for the next challenge, or maybe your life circumstances have changed; these reasons are about where you are headed next.”

World of opportunity

Mr Crosby says not to stay too long and to make sure your skills are being utilised.

“People often don’t look at new opportunities or ensure they are relevant to the greater employment market in their sector,” he says.

“A good time to go is when you’ve maximised all your opportunities with current employer and you are not personally or professionally growing.”

Industry in decline

Mr Crosby says if, like in manufacturing, your industry or even just your company is hitting the skids, it is time to make a long-term plan to escape. This could be re-training or a finding job in an associated industry.

Not a long-term relationship

Work out what it is that is driving you to leave and if it can be fixed, Ms Warr says.

“It could be your own behaviour, you could be overworking yourself but no one is asking you to do that,” she says.

“Most employment is like relationships, some are meant to be long-term and some need to part company – you need to recognise the point where the relationship is not mutually beneficial.”

Bad boss
Leaving because you hate your boss may not be the best policy.

Reasons you should stay

Look in the mirror

Unhappy with your job? Mr Crosby says your first point of call should be yourself.

“By changing your job you will probably find yourself in a similar position in a short period of time, so you’ve got to conduct a critical self-examination.”

Ms Warr recommends looking at what you can change in your current situation, and considering if there is a project or a skill that you can develop with your current employer.

Hate the boss?

If you’ve secretly got your boss’s face on a dart board at home, Mr Crosby recommends you consider your own actions.

“[Hating your boss] is an extreme excuse [to leave], because that’s something you’ve got to live with, if you can’t cope with that, you’ll have to work on how you deal with people.”

Of course, if the boss’ behaviour is bordering on harassment or inappropriate conduct, make a complaint.

Talk it up

Ms Warr says people often look to leave a job because of a lack of opportunity, but that doesn’t always mean it’s not there.

“Desperation often comes when you think you have no options, but sometimes you haven’t looked for them.”

Instead before you make plans to leave, talk to your manager or human resources department. You could be surprised at where these conversations can take you.

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