'I Quit! And Now I Regret It'
Why Some Canadian Professionals Wish They Hadn't Left a Former Job
There are no regrets in life, they say, just lessons learned. But does that adage ring true when it comes to your career? In a recent survey, 15 per cent of Canadian workers polled said have regrets about leaving their former job. Biggest regrets include departing for the wrong reasons (28 per cent), leaving friends and colleagues (24 per cent), and not exploring other opportunities within the company (13 per cent).
Forty-two per cent of workers would consider returning to a former employer, but it would take better pay (54 per cent), promised opportunity for growth (12 per cent) or a flexible schedule (9 per cent) to entice them back.
"As exciting as it is to start a new job, leaving your current position should be considered carefully to avoid regret down the road," said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. "Evaluate your motivations for wanting a different job and investigate all available options in your existing role to ensure that if you do decide to make a change, it will be a positive step for you personally and professionally."
Do-overs are hard to come by in the corporate world.
Here is a checklist of steps to take before leaving your current employer:
If you're unsure about leaving
1. Address dissatisfaction. Try to resolve the issues that are making you consider a move. Request a meeting with your manager to discuss why you're unhappy, and try to come to a resolution.
2. Talk career path. Use the meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth opportunities within the company. If you do not feel challenged, ask for opportunities to work on bigger projects or ways to gain new skills.
3. Take a break. A heavy workload may be causing added stress, as you try to balance demands of the job and personal responsibilities. Use vacation time to relax and recharge you may come back feeling satisfied and doubts may have disappeared.
4. Do your research. If salary is the primary reason for wanting to leave and your requests for a raise have gone unanswered, investigate what someone in your position with similar experience is making in your market. Resources like the Robert Half Salary Guides can shed light on starting salaries.
5. Network. Reach out to contacts in your industry to see what the employment market is like for someone with your skills and experience. If demand is low, be cautious about making a move. If demand is high, try to learn which companies are hiring, their corporate culture and other details that could help in your decision.
If it's time to move on
6. Exit gracefully. If you decide to accept another job offer, schedule a private, in-person meeting with your boss to discuss your decision to resign. Try to give at least two weeks' notice. Demonstrate respect and professionalism by offering to help with the transition during your final days.
7. Be wary of counteroffers. Now that you've quit, don't look back and renege on your agreement with your new employer by accepting a counteroffer. It not only burns bridges, but it likely won't resolve the original issues you had with your current job.
8. Give helpful feedback. If an exit interview isn't offered, request one. Be honest but tactful in your feedback. Your constructive criticism could help improve the workplace.
9. Stay in touch. Leaving good friends and mentors is one of the hardest aspects of changing jobs. Exchange personal contact information, add them to your professional online network and meet up occasionally to stay connected.