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

By Robert Half March 20, 2019 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 first 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 one?

Before you decide to cut your losses and start a new job search, consider whether you’d 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.

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 feel 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? Definitely not. However, by the midyear mark, you’ve come to know many of your coworkers and have a better understanding of how the company operates. This new familiarity can be eye-opening and give you a clearer view of potential issues, like low employee morale. This kind of problem can make it a challenge for you to be productive and enjoy going to work every day. 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.

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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 experiences at work 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 proactive 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?

When leaving a job makes sense

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, be sure to read about how to tell your boss gracefully. You should feel good about your decision so you can kick-start your job search with confidence.

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