Grant is the well-being contributor to TechLife Sydney. You can follow his work on LinkedIn or by subscribing to his weekly newsletter, Sustain.
Around the world, you can’t escape the headlines and conversation about people quitting their job. Maybe you’re considering quitting your job? If so, read on.
The Great Resignation trend isn’t going anywhere. But the story here isn’t just that a whole bunch of people have suddenly now decided to quit at random. The story is a swell of emergencies like the pandemic, racial justice awakening, divisive politics, and climate disasters have changed us.
We’re burned out, we’re feeling less energised by our jobs, and we fear that “the old way” will start creeping back in.
Based on all of this, many are having a collective epiphany around the same time. We’re questioning the level of importance work has come to play in our life and the time it occupies. If you’re like me and 85% of people who recently responded to a LinkedIn poll I ran, you’re actively working to reshape your relationship with work. It’s what Deep Work author Cal Newport has termed Career Downsizing.
However, here’s the case for why you shouldn’t quit your job. And if you do, try doing this first.
Every company is fumbling right now
You should aim to do work that makes you mostly happy and where you don’t burnout. I believe changing your job can be a way to accomplish this.
However, I’m worried that if you feel disillusioned with your job, there’s a societal wave implying that the only solution to the problem is to quit and find a new job. That’s far from true.
This will be the time I remind you that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In fact, the grass is likely browning out over there too. Every company in tech is messy right now. They don’t have the future of work even close to figured out so jumping ship to a new job may feel like a momentary breath of fresh air, but more likely than not you’ll be back to feeling burnout and desiring change before long. It’ll be the same problem in a different place.
There’s also a very real change cost associated with leaving one job and starting a new one. It can be tough on your family. It involves getting set up on new programs and systems. It includes navigating a new group of colleagues and finding your place. And you may feel implicit pressure to work longer hours to prove yourself at first which is exactly what you were trying to avoid. It’s a really heavy lift.
If your career trajectory is forcing a job change, follow it. If the culture you’re in is toxic, explore a move. But if your company is fumbling through a more formal answer to what’s next (like everyone), it may be the time to assert the newfound power you have as an employee to voice what you want vs. choosing to leave.
Negotiate your well-being at work
It’s expected to negotiate your salary, however it’s a less common practice to negotiate on behalf of your well-being. And in reality, your well-being, or lack thereof, could be the linchpin in completely changing your perception of your job.
Here’s the starter pack of areas I would consider negotiating in your current role before deciding to jump ship.
- Where you work
- How you structure your day with added flexibility
- Permission to block off your calendar for focused work time
- A plan for when your plate is full or approaching full to prevent overwork
- Recharge day(s) after working on a big project
- Freedom to log out on nights, weekends, and vacation
- Freedom to actually take vacation
If your company is even slightly smart while they are fumbling through this period, they will choose to bend for you vs. risk losing you and the high cost and competitive landscape to backfill your position.
You and your peers (kindly) demanding workplace shifts is the brave revolutionary work that has the best chance to create true long-lasting change.
So, if you’re considering leaving your job because you’re burned out and you want your relationship with work to look different, try asking. You might be surprised by what you hear. Every manager is deeply focused on retaining people right now.
Shoot your shot.
This article was kindly contributed by Grant Gurewitz, a 10-year veteran of the tech industry and author of Sustain, a free weekly newsletter on how to work without burnout (subscribe here).