Don't quit your job
Episode 89 - Five strategies to manage your current awful job while you look for another
Why I believe you should avoid quitting your job
If you have been thinking of quitting your job, you may have come across articles, podcast episodes, or YouTube videos where a coach tells you that you need to leave your job right away. This makes me angry.
I don't like this sales technique used by coaches to lure you into thinking that you need to quit your job and find another job and hopefully hire them for help. It is a very dangerous strategy for the job seeker, especially during a pandemic when the job market is volatile.
If you are ready to get another job, I understand. There are ways of moving from one job to another that don’t compromise your ability to pay the bills. As stressful as you may be with work, having no money may not be the best answer to your problems.
Here are the five common reasons why people want to quit their jobs and my strategies to manage them while you look for a better role:
1. You are struggling physically and mentally, and you no longer enjoy your job
If you are struggling mentally and physically, I hear you. I completely understand because I have experienced this before. So what should you do in this situation? Take time off. Take a personal leave or annual leave before you do anything else. You can slow down at work and find a doctor, mentor, coach, or counselor to support you. It’s easier to afford this level of support if you have a paycheck.
2. You have a horrible boss
There are lots of horrible bosses out there. I have experienced this myself, more than once! However, I completely understand that working for some bosses can be detrimental to your mental health and wellbeing. Sometimes it’s better the devil you know.
I highly recommend that you read the ‘No Asshole Rule’ book by Stanford professor Robert Sutton. It's a funny title, but it's serious. It’s also an easy read, and it has a chapter for each type of asshole. Your boss could be one of those. The chapters give you different techniques and strategies that you can use to manage your situation until you find another job and move on.
3. The work culture is toxic
I have another reading recommendation, but this one is freely available. It's the Netflix corporate manifesto, a well-known slide-deck and 10-page document that explains the company’s values, including communication, selflessness, and integrity. It also explains why one would find themselves on the chopping board. It is the most honest corporate writing I’ve seen about why people get fired, why companies change direction, and organizations are constantly changing and evolving.
Although the company you work for may not have this openness about the issues they face, the Netflix manifesto may help you understand the decisions made at the top level. But still, the structure needs to change because organizations are like significant organisms, and everybody inside it has to shift and adapt over time. What you experience as a toxic culture may be organization shifting and adjusting without the exemplary leadership and communication tools to do it right for the employees.
I’m hoping that by reading this document, you may find yourself taking a step back and trying to understand what's happening with your workplace before you make any big decisions about leaving. It could be that you can be an agent to help make the culture better. Regardless, always make sure that you are not making the culture more toxic.
4. Someone is asking you to break the law
If this happens, seek internal support: your boss, your boss's boss, HR, or occupational health and safety. However, I'm assuming that if this is a real problem for you, you haven't found internal support to back you up and take you out of a challenging situation. In that case, you may need to seek legal advice.
I want you to be very careful. Don't do whatever it is that you feel unsafe or unlawful.
Instead, seek legal advice straight away and get the support that you need. It may be that you can contact a union representative. You can always book a time to talk to me, and we can brainstorm solutions. If you go to my services page, you will see that I’m always open for urgent consultations for this reason. And from time to time, I have at times referred clients to get legal advice.
5. Your life is at risk
If you believe your life is being threatened, go to the police. By resigning, you're losing your income. However, by going to the police, you are taking real action to protect your life. I have done this in the past. Listen to the podcast episode 88 to know more about the details of my experience with this.
Do not spend all your energy doing your awful job
While you are working in a job you hate, do not give it your all and spend all your energy and time on it. Chances are, your effort will not help you get a promotion, get more recognition, or make things better in any way. You may need to come to terms that you may not be able to turn things around, especially if you don’t like it. You're just going to be getting more stressed and overwhelmed with your situation.
Therefore, make sure you first carve out time for yourself. Use that time to work on your career plans. At work, make sure you are delivering on the priority tasks, but don’t overdo it. Remember to love yourself first and allow yourself to invest in your future.
When is it ok to quit your job?
Here are my guiding questions to help clients take a leap into the unknown in a safe way that allows them to land on their feet:
Do you have enough money in the bank to support you for longer than you think you need?
Do you have a safe and secure place to go while you look for work?
Do you have a great support system of friends and family that will have your back?
If you answer yes to all these questions, then you have my blessing to quit your terrible job and take a break :)
Staying in an awful job is not easy, I know! But quitting without thinking of the implications of your decision can be even more stressful.
I hope that the strategies I’ve given you can help you manage your current situation while helping you find a much better opportunity that is aligned with your dreams and your preferred future.
If you need further help, remember that I have a suite of services to help you today. Go to my website to find out more. The Reset Your Career workshop & action plan was designed around my coaching philosophy of always enabling them to achieve more while minimizing risks.
Or, if you would like to learn more about my coaching program, book a quick call for us to have a chat.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Timestamps to guide your listening
05:07 - What if you're struggling mentally and physically and no longer enjoying your job?
08:34 - What if you have a horrible boss?
10:11 - What if the work culture is toxic?
12:24 - What if the company is asking you to break the law?
14:03 - What if your life is at risk?
16:54 - When should you quit?
Transcript of this episode
Renata: Please note that in this episode, I will be discussing issues of violence, sexual abuse, and threats to life. If you find these issues triggering, please skip this episode, and I will see you next time.
Renata: Welcome back to episode 89 of The Job Hunting Podcast, where I tell you not to quit your job and the five strategies that you can use to manage your current awful job that you have while you look for another one. And I say this because if you're job hunting, or if you're looking for content that is similar to mine, you may have bumped into these podcasts or YouTube videos or articles where a coach tells you, you need to quit your job today. Urgently. These are the five reasons why you need to quit your job. And it makes me smile, but it makes me really angry. I don't like that technique, that sales technique that coaches use to lure you into thinking that you need to quit your job and find another job.
Renata: I think it's criminal. I think it is very dangerous, you know, and sometimes it's just a catchy phrase. And once you land on their page, that you'd sort of smooth it out and tell you it's not really like that, but really it just makes people anxious. And it's not nice to be doing this when we're in the middle of a pandemic. And a lot of people are losing their jobs. Business is volatile. Really, haven't we learned anything about 2020 and 2021? You can't do that. You have to be very careful with your ability to pay your bills and have income. You are lucky if you have a job. There are lots of people that have lost their jobs during the pandemic in the corporate sector. This podcast is aimed at helping corporate professionals, professionals also in the government and not-for-profit sectors, find great jobs, have great careers.
Renata: And I play safe. I play conservative. If you book a consultation with me and you pay me, and you want to find, you know, a solution out of your current job, it may be that I will end up telling you, okay, let's see how it would look like for you to leave your job. And I recently had a consultation with a friend slash client where in the end, you know, she decided that she was ready to leave and that's perfectly fine. But I would never publicly tell a lot of people I don't know to quit their jobs. I don't know how these other coaches sleep at night, frankly. I really don't.
Renata: But here are the five strategies that you can use to manage your current awful job and try to look for another one. Okay. And in the end, I will also tell you when you should quit your job. I actually don't think you ever should quit your job just out of the blue like that. But I'll tell you when I think you could quit your job just so that you know what I think. Okay.
Renata: But before we go any further, give me a review, please. If you like this content, if you're following the podcast, if you subscribed, if you haven't subscribed already, press that button now. Leave me a review. Give me a five-star rating. Oh, I would be so, so, so grateful to you, and you have no idea what it means for the podcast.
Renata: I do this absolutely for free, as you probably can tell, and I love doing it, but it really does help promote it. If people give it a five-star review and write something nice about it, that helps other people find it. Okay. So I would really, really appreciate your help with that.
Renata: And, okay. So number one, some coaches say, if you're struggling mentally and physically, if you're getting your hives or you're getting sick, you know, you're not enjoying your job anymore. And it's really terrible. And mentally, it's just draining you. You should quit your job. Now look, you can, of course, but you would have to be in a very privileged position to then have insurance, and you know, all the help and support that you need to be without work and without your salary and still treat your issue that you're having. I have been there. I have been there. I remember when I was at my last job, it was such a difficult, challenging situation that we were facing. And I was so stressed and mentally completely drained. And I went to my GP. I think I'm probably already told this story before. Sorry. Apologies if I'm retelling a story that I already told. I went to my doctor, and I said I need to see a psychologist.
Renata: I'm just so unhappy. And I feel awful. There's something wrong with me, and mentally, I just am not functioning well anymore. And my GP said, no, no, you look sick. You look like you need, um, a complete sort of blood tests, everything let's do a complete, what is it that they call it? Like, you know, all the tests, you know what I mean? And that's what we did. And it turned out that she was right. I was pre-diabetic. I was overweight. I didn't even realize that I had put on so much weight that year. And thankfully, I have lost it now, but you know, all of those things can affect your tummy, and then they progressively affect your mind. And I will link below the interview I did with Michelle about how your tummy and your brain are all linked together.
Renata: And it's such an interesting episode. So I'll link it below. I think it's episode 85. So if you're struggling mentally and physically, I hear you. I completely understand. Did I go and resign from my job? No, I did not. I did not. I took time off. You know, you can take personal leave, you can take stress leave. You can slow down at work and find a doctor or a counselor or anybody you need to get whilst you are employed to help you manage the situation you are in before you take the step of leaving. Because when you leave, you have no income. And then, other stresses will pile up on top of the stress that you already have, and it could become a snowball effect. So that's my concern when people come to me saying they're going to resign, and they seem that they're really struggling.
Renata: I say, look, do you have leave? Yes. Well, take time off. Take time off before you make any big decisions, right? So that's number one.
Renata: If you're struggling mentally and physically, see your doctor get professional help, take personal leave, take stress leave, or take any leave annual leave. Just take time off before you do anything else.
Renata: Okay, number two, you have a horrible boss. That's another very common reason why coaches will tell you to leave your job. Frankly, there are lots of horrible bosses out there. Sometimes it's better the devil, you know, but I completely understand that some bosses can be really terrible.
Renata: And for that reason, even before you leave your current job, just to get a sense of perspective, but also potentially to help you manage your current horrible boss is read the ‘no asshole rule book.’ It's a great book. It has a chapter for each type of asshole. Your boss could be one of those. And it's a funny title, and it's a funny type of book anyway, but it's serious. And the way that it will teach you to deal with like your regular sort of little assholey at work to your psychopathic boss. There are different chapters for different types of assholes, as I said before. And you may find that your horrible boss is not that horrible, or you may find that your horrible boss is really horrible. And each chapter will give you different techniques and strategies that you can use to manage your situation during the time that you're still at that job until you find another work and move on. Okay? So think about investing in that book. I'm certain it's available in audiobook as well, so go ahead and totally recommend that one.
Renata: Number three, the work culture is toxic. Now that's a terrible one. Imagine having all of those things together, a horrible boss, you're struggling mentally and physically, the work culture is toxic. Look, I've experienced all of that. And I know it's not easy. First of all, I would like you to read something you can get freely off the web. It's the Netflix Manifesto. If you type on the web Netflix manifesto, you will find it. It's a slide deck used by Netflix a decade or so ago to explain their work culture to their employees.
Renata: It got distributed widely on Google, and then it became a book. It's a great book as well. I will link both the manifesto and the book below if you want to read that. The reason why I want you to read the Netflix flex manifesto before you do anything else is that it explains a very interesting culture at Netflix, but it also explains why sometimes people have to leave, and things move on, and companies grow, and strategies change and structures have to change. And what you may think is a toxic culture is just your Organization shifting and adjusting and people not having the right leadership to do it. But still, the structure needs to change because organizations are like big organisms, with everybody inside having to shift and adapt over time.
Renata: So it's kind of taking a step back and trying to understand from a balcony what's happening before you make any big decisions about leaving. It could be that you could be an agent to help make the culture better. Be careful not to be an agent that helps make the culture more toxic. And if you want to understand more about what not to do, there is an episode of this podcast that you can listen to its episode number 87. Okay. So go back and listen to that.
Renata: Number four, the company is asking you to break the law or do something that is unsafe. Now, this is terrible. This is really hard. I have never been in this situation. I don't think, but be very careful, of course. Seek internal support. I'm assuming that if this is a real problem for you, you haven't found internal support to back you up and take you out of a tough situation. I'm thinking either your boss, your boss's boss, HR, occupational health, and safety. So if internally, you don't feel like you have the support, you need to seek legal advice.
Renata: I say, don't quit your job because I don't want you to be the person that ends up without a job, without income, without a salary, and not knowing how you're going to pay your bills. And then you have your employer, you know, just continuing to do whatever it is that they're doing that is unlawful or unsafe. It's not fair. I'm always on the side side of the employee always. I am there to support you. I'm your coach, and I’m your mentor and your advisor. So I want you to be very careful. Don't do whatever it is that you feel is unsafe or unlawful. Seek legal advice straight away and get the support that you need. You can always book a time to talk to me to see if I can support you in any way. I have at times referred clients to get legal advice either because they had industry relations issues or IP issues. So yeah, that's the sort of work that I do.
Renata: And the final one, number five, you are at risk. If you feel like you are at risk of violence of your life is being threatened. You know, it could be sexual abuse. You go to the police. By resigning, you're losing your income. Do you see the difference? By going to the police, you are taking real action to protect your life. I have done that in the past. I had my life threatened by a student at the university I worked for. It was very, very scary. Very, very real. I knew exactly which student was threatening me. And it was just a nightmare, honestly. And I went straight to the police. I got the voicemail. It went to the voicemail. It was a voicemail from the student threatening to kill me. Listen, it's horrible.
Renata: I think I need to put a disclaimer to this podcast before it goes live. And this was back in 2004 ish, I think 2005, maybe a long time ago. And the police here in Australia was so, so, so helpful at the time. I had escorts with me for three months. The telecommunication company worked together with the police to identify exactly where that call had come from.
Renata: I had very little support from the organization I was working for at the time. And then, a few months later, they apologized because they realized that it was really bad. But at least I felt like the police were incredibly on my side. And frankly, I think it was such an unusual situation, and the leadership at the time wasn't prepared for what was happening to me frankly. And I think today, what happened back then wouldn't happen again, pretty sure.
Renata: And it was just kind of surreal for everyone involved, but going to the police was the right thing to do for sure. So I have been very good at protecting my employees whenever something really, really horrible has happened to them because I have that lived experience. And I understand crisis management, contingency management as well. I have worked for another university where there was a shooting, and I was part of the governance team and part of the contingency planning team at the time. So, you know, you learn those skills. Not all leaders have those skills. And if you feel like you don't have the right leadership to support you, go to the police.
Renata: Now, finally, I want to talk to you about not giving your current work that you hate, that is absolutely awful when you're so unhappy with, don't give that work 150% of your energy and time. I once wrote, actually, no, I was interviewed by LinkedIn about this last year and that article on LinkedIn news, I will link it below, got so many views, but it also was so controversial because many people, of course, didn't understand what I was saying. But I do believe that giving your current job 150% of your energy, your time, your effort will not help you get a promotion, and it will not help you turn things around, especially if you don't like it. So make sure you first carve out time for yourself. Then you dedicate time to your work and achieve the priority tasks you need for that day, week, or month. But don't overdo it.
Renata: By overdoing your efforts at a job that you hate, you're just going to be burning yourself more, more so, and you're getting more and more stressed and overwhelmed with your situation. So remember to love yourself first, give yourself the opportunity to invest in your plans and your career, and then pair down to 70 to 80% effort at work. Frankly, yes, I'm saying less than a hundred percent. Just to achieve all of the important markers that you need to achieve, but don't overdo it in any way, shape, or form because it's just mentally exhausting for you. And it will just make matters worse for you as well as you try to find another opportunity to move you out of that difficult situation.
Renata: When you have a job, and you can manage to stay, you have the income to invest in yourself, to pay the bills, to save a runway for you to then get out and have some money in the bank.
Renata: So it's not fair to the employee to leave and end up the victim when in fact, the employer is to blame. There are better resources for you if you remain employed and use your salary to invest in getting the support that you need to find another job. So this is what I think, you know, you can do to remain at that awful job. Now, do you have money in the bank? Do you have a safe and secure place to go whilst you'd look for work? Do you have an amazing support system of friends and family that will have your back? If you do, and if you can jump that awful ship and take time off, then do that. That's the only way really that I think you can get out of a horrible situation. And my husband and I have built a life for ourselves where if we call it quits tomorrow, we know that we have enough savings to support us for a few months until we find something else.
Renata: And knowing that gives us such freedom and independence and just a weight off our shoulders. I have been in situations where I was earning a lot of money, but I was also spending a lot of money by living above my means and having a huge mortgage and buying new cars, and all of those things. And I remember feeling so trapped, and over time we both built a life that gives us that flexibility, that if we really hate what we're doing, we can quit tomorrow, and it's fine, and we're going to be fine. So that's the sort of thing that you can achieve by yourself. Or you can hire a coach to help you build the strategies and the stepping stones to get there. Reset Your Career, which is my on-demand workshop, is just built around that philosophy and that ideology that I have and that I share with my clients. So if you want to have a quick look at what that means, that on-demand program is on my website, and I will have a link to it below. It’s called reset your career. Okay.
Renata: I hope that helps. And if you have any comments that you would like to share with me, don't hesitate to reach out. You can find me on social media and send me a message. You can reply to my newsletter. If you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, please do. And then you can send me ideas for future podcast episodes, or just let me know what you think about the episode. Okay. I'd love to hear from you. Bye for now until next time,
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com