Think You'll Regret Leaving a Job? 5 Questions to Ask First

By Robert Half September 26, 2017 at 3:00pm

You’re six months — or six years — into your job, and doubts are creeping in. Maybe you haven't progressed the way you'd hoped, or the atmosphere doesn’t feel the same as it did during the interview process or when you started. What once seemed like an innovative place to work may now seem haphazard, monotonous or listless. But would you regret leaving a job like this in the accounting and finance field?

Before you decide to cut your losses and start a new job search, consider this: If you’re like almost a quarter of the workers polled in a recent survey from Accountemps, you might regret quitting. Imagine the remorse over splitting off from friends and colleagues, departing for the wrong reasons or saying goodbye to a great boss or mentor.

See this infographic for more details on why you should Think Before You Leap.  

Here are five questions to consider about your employer, workplace or position before you make any drastic moves toward leaving a job that could leave you sorry you did:

1. Has your company held up its end of the deal?

Did your manager make promises about your responsibilities or growth opportunities within the company? If these circumstances aren’t at least on the horizon, talk with your employer. The problem could be as simple as a miscommunication or a scheduling issue. However, if the response you receive is negative or less than forthcoming, it might be time to reassess your situation.

2. Did you miss seeing something?

Are two weeks long enough to get a feel for a new job, whether it’s as a temporary accounting clerk or a full-time financial analyst? Definitely not. However, by the midyear mark, you’ve come to know many of your coworkers and have a better understanding of how the office operates. This new familiarity can be eye-opening if office talk and attitudes about coworkers or management take a discouraging dive. If low morale is the issue, by the time you realize it, staying positive yourself can be a challenge. Even if your coworkers’ negative opinions are well-supported, a toxic work environment is damaging to you and your career.

3. Have the terms of the job changed?

Maybe the job you were hired to do isn’t, as it turns out, the job you’re expected to do now. It’s possible that the department’s needs changed for legitimate reasons. Or it’s possible that your employer wasn’t completely open with you. If your workload has increased or your role has changed — and your pay hasn’t — ask for an accurately revised job description so you can renegotiate your salary based on your new duties. Asking for a raise can be uncomfortable, but you deserve to get paid for the work you do.

Get your free copy of the 2018 Salary Guide for compensation data on more than 190 accounting and financial positions.

4. Is your office a place you like to be?

It's easy to measure hard numbers like salary and hours spent on the job, but figuring out the qualitative details of your job experience is a bit more nuanced. If you're struggling with your boss, coworkers or office environment — all factors that can affect productivity and job satisfaction — you might consider finding waters better suited for smooth sailing.

Everyone should expect a certain degree of job satisfaction, and this goes beyond making money and doing fulfilling work. It's also essential for any employee to have a reasonable work-life balance. However, don’t expect your boss to be able to know all your needs. You'll want to be assertive and ask for what you need to keep your personal and professional life on an even keel.

5. Have you weighed your options?

Professionals who carefully evaluate their situation are less likely to regret a decision about leaving a job. Have you addressed your dissatisfaction and tried to resolve the issues making you consider a move? Perhaps you need a break: When was the last time you had vacation time to relax and recharge? Have you done your research to see what the employment market is like for someone with your skills and experience?

If you do decide to quit, be sure to make a plan. Read these 9 Tips for Your Final Days at Work.

Whether it’s because of low morale, increased stress or other reasons, leaving a job that makes you unhappy is better than staying purely for resume-building purposes. While it can be challenging to determine if accepting your job or staying as long as you have was a mistake, accurately assessing your situation can help give you clarity. If you do decide to go, feel good about your decision and kick-start your job search with confidence.

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Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect current information.

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