Before you make your big next move, find what to take.
Every day, countless people wake up and head into jobs they hate - jobs that make them sick to the stomach. Jobs where they count the hours until it's time to leave. Jobs where their boss is the bane of their existence.
And then, like clockwork, they're up and at it again the next day with a cup of coffee in hand ready to slog through another day of misery.
Some stay in jobs for longer than they'd like as a means to an end - paying bills, getting that big promotion, and providing stability at home. Some live in fear of having to start or find something new. And others have simply forgotten (or never experienced) what it's like to be actively engaged at a truly fulfilling job.
Whatever the reason, what's obvious is that American workers are professionally depressed, on the brink of a breaking point that equates to low retention rates for employers. It's extremely telling that 50% of millennial employees don't plan to be with their current employer in just one year's time.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, you know all too well that once you realize it's time to leave a job that you've despised for far too long, there isn't necessarily a perfect new opportunity waiting for you. That doesn't mean you should panic. After all, the best time to look for a new job is when you don't need one.
So before you quit your job and make your next move, do one simple thing: Find what to take.
What I mean is that right now, there's something valuable you can take away from your current job that will help you in your future endeavors. This "something" might have been right under your nose for your entire tenure at company XYZ. However, because you basked in despising your gig so much, you blatantly ignored it. It's also likely to help you build bridges as exit your current job rather than burning them down on your way out the door.
Here are three examples of valuable things you can take with you before you quit your current job.
1. Take advantage of professional development opportunities.
Many companies offer a variety of voluntary professional development opportunities. These include attending industry business conferences, taking continuing education courses, and even working with an executive coach.
Unfortunately, many unhappy employees who are thinking about quitting tend to stop participating in these learning and development programs, creating missed growth opportunities for themselves. Identify skills (sales, forecasting, etc.) that could help make you more attractive to a new employer or fill in holes in your resume - then find out how to beef up those skills at your current gig.
2. Keep securing big wins.
At some point, when employees are ready for a change, they often stop trying and fail to give their all at work. Instead of playing to win, they simply slip into cruise control. They do just enough work not to draw attention to their lack of effort.
Instead of becoming passive when you're considering a move, use it as an opportunity to secure big wins that demonstrate the value you bring to the company. You never know what new doors this might open at your current job. Plus, sharing these wins during an interview with a potential employer will demonstrate your dedication and commitment to your work, even when it's obvious that you're ready for change.
3. Cultivate your relationships.
It's tempting to daydream about telling your boss and colleagues to, "take this job and shove it." While this might feel good in the moment, you'll quickly regret the decision for a few key reasons.
First, whether you list your current boss and colleagues as references on your resume or not, the business world is small. The window is always open for a potential employer to contact your current or former colleagues to assess whether they should hire you. Second, you never know when you may need the support of a former colleague later on in the course of your career. If you burn bridges, that brief moment of satisfaction could come back to haunt you later.
So today, write down two or three things that you'd like to take with you when your current job comes to an end - those things, tangible or intangible, that will be extremely valuable to you as you move forward.
Think of it this way: Go ahead and get that return on investment for what you've provided to the company. Find what to take and invest it into propelling yourself forward - not just to your next move, but also for the rest of your career.
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