Like all big decisions, a job change or career shift requires tact and integrity. But by the time people are ready to leave a job they have disliked for a long time, they don’t always do it gracefully. The time spent gathering negative evidence about the job — difficult boss, crazy schedule, etc. — has inevitably worsened the situation and impacted their work productivity, their relationships, and their self-worth.
It’s hard to put your best foot forward when each day you mentally build a case for why you don’t want to be there. You get trapped in an insidious cycle of diminishing returns that makes the job harder and you unhappier — until crashing and burning seems like the inevitable next step.
If this sounds like your story, don’t panic.
There’s a way to quit your job so that you walk out the front door instead of slinking out the back. The following exercises will help you shift your thinking so that your exit strategy can become a powerful experience, rather than a train wreck in slow motion.
Be the Star of Your Current Workplace — Even if You Think It’ll Kill You!
Show up on time every day for a month, complete your tasks, adopt a positive attitude, don’t gossip, and don’t complain to anyone. You can make it a game — what would you have to do so they would BEG you to stay? Now, do that and watch what a difference it makes, for you and for others. Not only will it build your integrity and make you feel better, but it will also set a precedent for the future. Remember, no one ever got hired for their dream job by slacking off on their last one.
Lay Out Your Battle Plan
This is an empowering writing exercise for anyone who feels trapped in their “lame” jobs. Write down your “If I stay” plan and examine the facts: What would the next six months look like financially, emotionally? Is there room for growth where you are? Next, write your “If I leave” plan. What would change? What would your goals look like? Think of Alexander the Great standing above his maps, contemplating the movements of his army. Be bold and honest about the options in front of you.
Dream Your Dream
If you’ve had a “dream career” in mind, demand of yourself to bring it to the forefront now. In another writing exercise, craft the vision of your dream career. There is an art to this and practicing it is wonderfully rewarding. Write down your vision in the present tense and go into detail. The minute you start writing a dream, it becomes possible. Post it on the fridge and tell everyone about it. Read it every day and connect with it.
Essentially, this work is meant to focus you on what you really want — a job where you are inspired and engaged — instead of what you don’t want. Although these exercises do require time and attention, you owe it to yourself to take careful consideration when thinking about your next career move.
Don’t wait until your next opportunity comes knocking to start preparing yourself for it! The world needs more happy and fulfilled working women and you deserve to be one of them.
Lauren Zander is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.