It’s Saturday night and you’re feeling anxious and don’t know why.
Except you do: tomorrow marks the start of another work week. If this is you all the time, day in and day out, something’s up and you need to take a breather and think about where your head’s at. Being stretched and overwhelmed at work is completely normal, but there’s a fine line between stress and feeling like the world is ending when Sunday rolls around. Yes, you’re a go-getter and hate the thought of quitting anything; after all, you’ve worked pretty freaking hard to get where you are.
Then there’s the other thing – blasted money. Your savings account is nowhere near where you’d like for it to be, thanks to the mountain of bills waiting for you at the end of each month. Here’s the thing – you can sort your financial sitch out and come up with a plan that makes you feel ready for the next chapter. The thought of quitting may be terrifying but once you’ve mentally navigated your way to survival, you’ll feel a whole lot better. But first you’ve got to figure out whether you really want to quit your job or if you’re just going through a rough patch. We’ve done the research to help you figure it all out:
You know it’s time to quit when...
...You’re just plain unhappy
You don’t have to be Freud to figure out that if you’re miserable, then something’s up. Forget upper management, people around you and all the extra fun trimmings that corporate life comes with, do you like your work and find purpose in what you do? If the answer is no, then it doesn’t matter how great or bad the company and team are. Life is short and there’s no point in spending most of your day (and life) doing something that doesn’t replenish you. Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and MD of Lighthouse Arabia says there’s something very wrong, “when there’s no joy in what you’re doing, and you’re not happy with the answer to ‘why do I do what I do?’ When you have a clear ‘why,’ any ‘how’ or ‘what’ is possible.” Get to why you do what you do. And if the answer is because you actually enjoy it, then there may be some salvation. If not, then your decision is made for you.
...You’re not being paid fairly
Your company is downsizing and your workload just doubled but there’s no visible sign of that on your paycheque. On the contrary, you’re made to feel like you’re lucky to have job and management is just taking advantage of you, and not compensating you the way you should be. Sometimes everyone around you has it tough and you’ve just got to roll with the times and really be thankful for the paycheque. Look around – are other companies in your industry in the same boat? If so, then maybe your company is just being cautious and doing what it needs to, to survive. But if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of and are resentful about the entire situation, calling time and looking for greener prospects may be the way to go.
...You’re drained at the end of each day
Feeling tired at the end of a work day is normal. Rectifying tiredness should be easy – a little rest or break and you’re rejuvenated. It’s when the tiredness seeps in and makes you feel sluggish no matter how much you sleep or rest, that you know that things have taken a turn for the worse. “Everyone has bad days – but there’s difference between being tired and being drained. When you come home from work drained every day – for many months at a time with no sight of relief in the coming future, then you know you’re not in the right place for you,” Afridi explains.
...Your health is being affected
If work is making you fall more ill than usual and you’re almost always stressed, anxious or overwhelmed because of it, that’s not normal. Ask yourself how badly you don’t want to be there. “If for many months it has it has taken a Herculean effort to get yourself up in the morning to go to work, then that’s a big sign. We’ve all struggled and wished that we could have an extra day off to rest and recover. However, I’m talking about a longstanding, persistent feeling that you would rather do anything but be at work…” Afridi says. And you don’t have to be physically ill to consider quitting; mental health is overlooked more than it should be. Watch out for signs of depression, panic attacks, insomnia and other stress-related ailments that could really be messing with you.
...Your work environment is toxic
Is this you?
- Your boss is a bully, a bad manager and constantly puts you down and de-motivates you and
- Your colleagues are toxic.
If one or both of these situations sound familiar, then it’s no wonder you’re contemplating getting out of there. “All the resentment, anxiety, stress can build up toxicity making it impossible to work in that environment,” Afridi explains.
Maybe quitting isn’t the answer when…
...Your personal life isn’t where it should be
Are you unhappy outside of work? When things are particularly rough at home, then it’s difficult to be engaged at work and easy to get bogged down by even the slightest thing. No workplace is a magical utopian bubble; everyone has issues. When you’re feeling weak, not being able to handle even normal stuff, is common. Afridi suggests that you ask yourself if this is, “because of personal issues or professional issues?” Many individuals are suffering from anxiety or depression or relationship issues and they don’t feel engaged with work. Addressing the underlying issues will be critical to making sure that you’re leaving for the right reasons. You may need to work with a therapist or a coach to tear these issues apart.
...You need the money
If the economy is bad and you can’t afford to leave where you’re at, you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate your options. No one’s asking you to stick around at a place that makes you miserable. But maybe fleeing ASAP isn’t the answer. Take your time to come up with an exit strategy.
“I want to resign. How do I feel less anxious?”
Saliha Afridi tells you how...
- Whenever you consider a career change or a job change – it’s helpful to talk to a mentor or a coach. By asking you questions, they might help you gain more confidence in your decision to leave, as well as help you chart out where you should go. Try to avoid talking to friends and family about it because they will have varying and, often baseless advice, which is based on their own anxieties rather than your needs.
- It’s helpful to line up another job before quitting. When quitting a job in the UAE, you not only have to consider your finances, but also your health insurance, and residency visa. It would help to start working with recruiters and sending out resumes to other companies. Going on interviews you will also help you gain some confidence, make you gauge your ‘market value’, and perhaps even make you realise that you actually want to stay where you are.
- Attend networking events and say yes, a lot more than no when it comes to meeting new people. Studies on lucky people showed that they had several characteristics in common, one of them being they said yes to meeting new people very often, which eventually would lead to a new job opportunity.
“I’m not happy but I can’t quit right now.How do I feel better?”
Again, Saliha Afridi to the rescue!
- Be clear about ‘why’ you’re staying. Some people are supporting their families, others are looking for jobs before they leave, while some are not well and need the insurance coverage.
- There’s also the mantra –‘it is happening for me, not to me’ – which looks at all life experiences as opportunities for personal growth and spiritual evolution. What lessons are you supposed to learn from the difficulties you are encountering?
- Have an exit strategy – it will make the staying more of a choice you made rather than something that is being forced upon you. Also consider why is it that you’re afraid to leave – and address those reasons. Making a decision from a place of fear will only result in more fear and resentment. Find what blocks you from living the life you imagined – and then work towards it.
- People need to remember that they are making a choice. They might be staying because they are the primary breadwinner, but it’s still a choice. When you stay in the language of choice, you stand in a position of power and not in the position of a victim. Do not give your power away to a company or to a person.
“Whenever you consider a career or job change,
it’s helpful to talk to a mentor or coach.”