So you want out

In talking with a dear friend of mine recently, I had an epiphany. We all have bad days. We all have days where we want to throw in the towel and leave our careers behind. Yet, most of us stick with our current position because a fear of the unknown is greater than our dislike for our current situation. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t make sure things are right in the next place. If you don’t know what you love, you aren’t guaranteed to get it.

If you are thinking about a change, or even thinking about thinking about a change, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you aren’t winding up in the same cycle.

  1. Make a list on a bad day. If possible, write it on the day where you’re thisclose to walking out the door and never coming back. Write everything that’s bugging you from the lack or resources to the fluorescent lights. Nothing is too big or too small. Obviously, you should not do this at the office. Write it over lunch, write it on a walk, write it when you get home. Now comes the hardest part. Don’t make a judgement on the list. Tuck it away in a place you won’t forget.
  2. You will have a great day. It’s on the great day that you should make a list of everything that makes your day great. Maybe your coworkers took you to lunch. Maybe you finally got batteries for your mouse. Again, like before, nothing is too big or too small. At this point, you shouldn’t look at the first list. Just make sure you keep the lists together.
  3. On an alright day, after work, take out both lists. Be objective. Are the fluorescent lights really the issue? Is lunch at the nearest quick serve restaurant really that great?

Now, take stock. At this point you should have a pretty good idea of what your ideal job or career entails and leaves out. How does your current position match up? Are there enough good things? Is it worth it to stay?

It is okay if the answer is no. At least now you have the qualifications you are looking for in another position written down, which should make your search much easier.