improve your job

Instead of quitting, try these 5 things first

Christina Omlor

If you’re unhappy at work, your first thought may be to quit in search of something better. Before you quit a job and burn bridges, try improving your job situation first. Here are five things, that might help if you are facing a rough patch.

Before quitting, try these 5 things first

1. Ask for What You Want

Often, people are driven to quit their job when a simple shift could have made things so much better. If you feel undervalued, a raise might be the missing ingredient that gets you to show up with a smile. If you schedule doesn’t fit your lifestyle (say you work nights then go to school in the early mornings, but can’t concentrate), better working hours could help you keep you job and succeed in school.

Traditional workplaces used to balk at flexible or remote working arrangements, but these days it’s become more common. If you’d be happy to keep your job so long as you could ditch the commute and work from home, see whether your employer would green light it.

When there’s one specific thing you would like, there is no harm in asking for it. After all, the worst they can say is no, in which case you’d be prepared to quit!

Some bosses will want you to demonstrate a commitment before they give you a perk like higher wages or better hours. Before you ask for what you want, think about ways that you can demonstrate your value to the company. If they really like you and see how hard you work, they will be prepared to do what they can to make your work life better.

2. Sit Down With Your Supervisor

Is an interpersonal or task-oriented work problem bringing you down? In this case, sit down with your supervisor to discuss the issue, suggest solutions, and try to reach compromise. For interpersonal conflicts, mediation can be a natural solution. A mediator provides a safe, neutral channel where both sides can share their feelings and (hopefully, though there is no guarantee) move toward consensus.

Receiving positive feedback and constructive criticism has helped me more this past year than ever before.” – Anonymous Employer Review at Cat-I-Glass

3. Go to the Board

When you feel like you’ve done what you can on the team level, it may be time to escalate to the company board. A board is a good fit when the problem is environmental and general, for instance when there’s been a policy change with which you disagree.

Before you go to the board, make sure you have evidence to back up your claims and can present it in a neutral way (boards will look askance if you start venting, so be professional). Consider asking coworkers if they’d be willing to testify or, at the very least, sign a petition which you will take to the board. A board may take a complaint much more seriously if they see that ten people feel the same way then if you’re the only one speaking out. Improving your job has a lot to do with bravery.

Try improving your job by practicing self-reflection

4. Ask for a Promotion

Many companies prefer to promote from within. If you are thinking about quitting and applying for a higher position at a competitor, why not see if there is something more for you where you work? Some people like to test the waters by lining up a job at another company, then going to their boss to let them know they have an offer elsewhere. While that is a valid option, there’s nothing to prevent you from seeking a promotion without going through the trouble of taking interviews. Even if you don’t get a promotion, you may find out helpful information (such as what skills you would need to display to become eligible for the title you seek).

They need to work towards promoting the best person for the job, not just who they like.” – Anonymous Employer Review at Progressive Green Meadows LLC

5. Practice Self-Reflection

If a poor performance review or bad relationships have you thinking of quitting work, it can help to look inward first. Yes, that performance review may have been snarky, but rather than tone policing it can you learn from it? Likewise, is there something you can shift in your behavior that would improve interpersonal relations, even if it’s something like ditching the team lunch table for a yoga class that boosts your mood and energy? Improving yourself can result in improving your job situation.

You can always quit and walk out with your head held high. But unless you try to improve the things you don’t like, you may always wonder what could have been if you had stuck it out at a workplace or fought for what was right for yourself and your team.

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