Have you ever made a decision that you later regretted?
I hold my hands up, I have been guilty of making a rash resignation, when my values were compromised at work – I impulsively quit and took the first job available to me, but as a result, I truly jumped from the frying pan into the hottest fire going. Not my greatest move, but many lessons learned.
The ‘Great Resignation’ and … resignation regret
Many of us have heard about the post-pandemic ‘Great Resignation’ movement, with more and more people jumping ship, re-crafting their careers or dropping out of the workforce entirely. But, subsequent resignation regret has also become a very real thing.
You’ll have seen it across the news, for example, the BBC reported;
“…not everyone is pleased with their decisions. Increasingly, some workers are finding they quit their job with great gusto – but didn’t necessarily end up in a better situation. According to a March survey of around 2,000 US workers who quit their job in the past two years, about one in five said they regretted doing so.”
The survey they refer to was conducted by Muse who used the term “shift shock” to research this topic. Other surveys appear to offer a similar trend, for example, Paychex reported the regret figure at a whopping 80% earlier this year.
So, before handing in a resignation, be sure it’s the right decision. The grass isn’t always greener.
Frustration can lead to rash action
I work with clients focusing on job change and career development all the time, and most of the time it’s a proactive step. We consider the ‘should I stay or should I go’ question robustly, and it’s a helpful process.
But of course, there are times clients come to me at the end of their tether, way beyond the point of any resolution or return. They’ve already decided they are going, and they want it to happen as soon as possible. That’s OK too, I’m in their corner helping them work out next steps.
Nevertheless, I’d always encourage people to do the thinking before you’ve reached the tipping point – when you reach the point of saying things like … ‘I’m done’, ‘I’m out of here’, ‘I’m sick of this’, ‘I can’t do it anymore!’
There are multiple reasons why someone might get to this point, not all easy to predict. Key relationships going sour. A culture shift misaligned with values. Something unjust happening that can’t be reconciled.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to catch your breath, work out what’s going on, and decide on next steps.
Time to press pause…
Let’s PAUSE for a moment. The reality is, you could have a good track record, many years of good service and a great reputation with people you know and like you, so, before you throw the towel in, it’s important to check this is the right decision.
Contrary to popular belief, when you’re fed-up, unhappy, unfulfilled or cheesed-off at work, it doesn’t automatically mean you have to leave your employer.
Of course, sometimes the best thing is a change and a new beginning, but sometimes the best thing is to work it out so that you can stay, feel fulfilled and valued in your role, progress to where you want to be, and make the most of the company knowledge and relationships you’ve already established.
What I am encouraging is a measured and considered approach. To create the time to sit with it, think it through and really get to grips with it, before making your choice.
9 questions to answer to prevent a rash resignation
Getting to the core of the issue
Understanding the root cause of what’s going on is a crucial starting point. Not only for working through whether things can be resolved for you, but also a great insight when considering a future employer.
- What are the core reasons driving me to consider quitting? Not the peripheral annoyances; the very heart of the matter.
- What have you already done to address this, what response have you had, and is there anything further you can do? It’s important to really challenge yourself on this.
How the issue could be addressed
Just as important as understanding the issue, is knowing what needs to be different for you to stay and enjoy your time with the company, so ask yourself:
- What specifically needs to be different in order for me to enjoy my work and be compelled to stay with this company?
- What do you need to do as well as others in the company to make this a reality?
- How possible is it for you to have the tough conversation about the issue and how to resolve it?
- And to share the consequences for you if it isn’t resolved?
Working out next steps
Once you’ve worked these things through, next steps might feel crystal clear, or still with multiple directions. It can be helpful to consider:
- If you decide you don’t want to tackle it, or make any attempt to stay, how will you make peace with this decision, so you don’t regret not taking action later on?
- If you decide you want to attempt resolution, who is the key person that can make a difference, and what are the key messages you want to share?
- And, if it’s time to move on, what measures can you take to prevent a recurrence of this situation? (Avoiding that frying pan to fire situation I mentioned earlier!)
A professional by your side
Job dissatisfaction and the resulting career crossroads can bring up all sorts of dilemmas and decisions. It’s a challenging and often confusing time.
Working it through with someone can be immensely helpful, and is why we often turn to those we trust to do just this. And it’s why some people turn to a coach – for professional support with a crucial decision.
As a coach, I work in partnership mode with you. I am in the moment with you and if I think you’re heading for a fall, I am going to try and prevent that – and together, we will work through it, side by side. I’m friendly, open and always focused on finding the right solution for you.