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Personal Finance
When it's time to quit
January 28, 2000: 1:51 a.m. ET

Make sure you've exhausted all your options before sending out resumes
By Staff Writer Nicole Jacoby
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Overworked and underpaid? Ready to call it quits?
    Slow down, sister!
    Before you start sending out resumes, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.
    "There are a lot of myths out there... and a lot of people think the grass is greener on the other side," said Ron Krannich, career consultant and co-author of Change Your Job, Change Your Life. "But once they do some research or quit and go somewhere else, they realize it's not all that different."
    The decision to look for a new job is one that should involve some serious soul-searching, as well as a good hard look at your current situation. In many cases, the factors prompting an employee to look for a new position may stem from circumstances that are not, in fact, beyond his or her control. And opening up a dialogue with your boss about why you are unhappy may yield a surprisingly satisfactory solution.
    "Employers have become very savvy," said Krannich. "They're in a very competitive job market and it's hard to recruit and retain people, so they might be open to making some changes."
    
Down and dissatisfied

    One of the overriding reasons people seek out new work is a feeling of dissatisfaction or a lack of fulfillment.
    "If your job is interfering with your lifestyle, giving you stress or is boring, then maybe it's time to go," said Carole Kanchier, syndicated columnist and author of Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life.
    Most employees go through repeating cycles of moods throughout their careers: enthusiasm, mastery and disengagement. Generally, employees find themselves excited about the prospects of a new job and its challenges, followed by a stage in which they derive satisfaction from mastering the new position. Eventually, mastery turns into boredom. Productivity and self-confidence typically plummet as the worker becomes disengaged.
    If you find yourself hating life and it's difficult to get out of bed on weekdays, a change may be in order. But be sure to ask yourself if you feel adequately challenged, whether your current job helps you reach your career goals and whether there could be a solution to your current unhappiness.
    
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    "Before resigning from a position, consider whether or not you can improve the situation," said Max Messmer, an expert on employment issues and author of Job Hunting for Dummies. "...In many instances, employers are made aware of an employee's dissatisfaction only after that individual resigns."
    If compensation or other benefits are the main problem, consider asking for a raise or a promotion. Of course, you'll have to be able to demonstrate that such a step is warranted by highlighting your skills and achievements. You might also want to research salaries of others in similar positions in your industry, so you have some concrete data to point to.
    Only after trying to resolve issues internally should you set out on a job search. And even then, you should be careful not to jump ship too easily.
    "It's tempting to see greener pastures, particularly in today's hot job market, said Messmer. "But before you commit, be sure that the new company offers greater rewards - not just financially, but in terms of corporate culture, values and overall work environment. Ultimately, these will have the biggest impact on your long-term job satisfaction."
    
Bad bosses and corporate politicking

    Office politics, including repeated clashes with your boss, can also play a serious role in whether you should stay at your job.
    "A lot of people really do have the boss from hell," said Krannich. "...And that can be a good reason for moving on. But before you do that, you should really talk to someone in the organization."
    Personality conflicts may be resolved once some lines of communications are opened. A transfer to another department or location may also be a possibility, especially if you otherwise enjoy what you do or respect the company.
    But that may not be enough if the conflict goes beyond one person or the general corporate atmosphere involves a lot of favoritism or backstabbing.
    
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    "If you are not a player in a company where politics are important, you may have to recognize you are out of the loop," said Krannich.
    Not being "in" with the right people can seriously hinder your advancement, as well as make your day-in and day-out office relations difficult. If you are convinced you have no chance of joining your department's inner circle, it may be a good time to move on. Just keep in mind that politics at your new place of employment may be as complex or vicious.
    
Jumping a sinking ship

    You should definitely consider leaving your a job if the company you're working for is headed downhill or is undergoing major changes.
    Rumors of mergers and corporate downsizing or a pattern of hiring that favors younger, less experienced (and probably less expensive) employees may indicate that your opportunities might be limited in the future.
    "There's nothing like a growing company in terms of optimism. But once it stagnates, it's a good sign you better start looking," said Krannich.
    
Don't be a job hopper

    But be careful of switching jobs too often.
    "While no one should stay in a job where his or her efforts are consistently undervalued or unrewarded, changing jobs too often can affect your long-term career prospects," said Messmer.
    Surveys of executives in the finance, information technology and business sectors have found that senior managers find frequent job changes less than reassuring. Consequently, such behavior might seriously limit your future advancement or chances of landing your dream job.
    "Turnover is costly for employers, so they seek candidates with a history of job stability," said Messmer.
    
Unlocking the golden handcuffs

    Many employees - no matter how miserable - feel trapped in their current jobs as a result of generous vesting benefits or pension plans.
    But good benefits are not necessarily a good reason to stay shackled to a job you hate.
    "There are a lot of people who are fully vested and have a lot of stock options and they keep thinking 'what if the stock goes up,'" said Krannich. "But the key is, are you happy with what you are doing?'"
    In fact, repeated surveys indicate that job satisfaction ranks far above compensation in what employees view as important.
    Having said that, if your vesting deadline is just a few months away or you are just a year or two shy of retirement at a company with a generous pension plan, you may have to spend some time weighing your options.
    "It might be worth staying," said Kanchier. "On the other hand, you've got to decide whether it's worth getting ulcers or having a heart attack (because you're so stressed or unhappy.)"
    And keep in mind that your new job will likely be accompanied by a higher salary, which might make up for any lost benefits. Back to top





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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.