Fit to quit? Press pause and reconsider your options

“One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.” – Woodrow Wilson

Everyone has bad days – some so bad you just want to throw in the towel. It may be that everything seems overwhelming, you’re overdue on projects, you’re just not feeling fulfilled or appreciated and that vacation you’ve booked is so impossibly far off.

It’s at times like this that there’s a danger you’ll make a rash decision that could have a negative effect on your career and personal life. Even if you don’t fire off a resignation letter in a fit of pique, the fact that you feel close to doing so means you have to take stock and do something about it without delay.

Quitting without a plan isn’t the only risk: If your job satisfaction is at an all-time low, this will likely be affecting your productivity and professionalism which could lead to disciplinary measures, only making matters worse. More importantly, unhappiness and stress can take a serious toll on your health and family life.

So what can you do to boost your happiness at work? Here are a few top tips:

Put things in perspective
How often do you feel this way? Do you generally enjoy your work? Is this a situation you can quickly resolve and get back to your usual equilibrium? Will a little time off help? Can you walk it off? If you quit today, how much will you regret the decision tomorrow?

Figure it out
Make a list of reasons you may be feeling this way. Separate these items into two columns, being (1) things you can change yourself (personal choices such as poor health decisions including inadequate nutrition, inactive lifestyle, sleep patterns, lack of preparation, etc); and (2) things you need to speak to your employers about (issues such as challenging workload, lack of engagement or support, lack of appreciation, inadequate training or career growth prospects, etc). 

Speak up
If you can’t directly influence your happiness by simply improving your own habits, you need to communicate with your employer. Without telling anyone how you’re feeling, they can’t be expected to know and you don’t want them to find out the hard way when a meltdown ultimately happens. Take a breath, be calm and professional when you make the call, and make it about asking for advice and help rather than lodging a complaint.

Be thankful
Remind yourself how grateful and relieved you were to get your job. Look at everything being employed enables you to do - have security, pay bills, add to savings, plan holidays… In the heat of the moment these are things we can forget and only remember when it’s too late. As the saying goes, sometimes you only miss a good thing when it’s gone. Making it a daily habit to have an attitude of gratitude can make all the difference to your happiness quotient. 

Move on smartly
If your job is making you miserable despite all your best efforts or those of your employer, you have to consider the fact that it’s no longer for you. Try to resist the temptation to tender your resignation before you have alternative employment lined up or at least a safety net saved to allow you to keep up with payments and avoid undue worries while you seek a new line of work. Upskill or retrain for a role you’ll be happier doing. Keep progressing your exit plan and take comfort from the knowledge that you’ve taken the matter in hand and will ultimately find a more enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding job. 

“"I never went into business just to make money – but I found that if I have fun, the money will come. I often ask myself, is my work fun and does it make me happy? I believe that the answer to that is more important than fame or fortune. If it stops being fun, I ask why? If I can't fix it, I stop doing it." – Richard Branson