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8 cases when quitting is not the only solution

Valerie Rozova
May 2022

"Do you have 15 minutes? I want to talk"

Sooner or later, every manager receives such a message. It may be sudden, but an experienced boss knows that an employee is likely to quit. 

In the epoch of mindfulness and psychotherapy, people tend to doubt their decisions and actions, need more freedom, and rethink everything. According to the study by hh.ru, in 2021, the scale of voluntary termination reached record levels.

On the one hand, it is difficult to retain employees and prevent such situations, but retention is a primarily manager's task. To do it efficiently, you need to maintain the company's health. On the other hand, many employees leave because they see no alternative solutions. They may be driven by emotions or don't know how to discuss difficulties until they lose their temper. Such spur-of-the-moment decisions tend to be wrong. To prevent them, we have listed the most common scenarios of unjustified redundancies.

Case 1: you have nowhere to grow

If you see no opportunities, look more carefully. Sometimes employees believe that managers must be completely responsible for their growth. For instance, they should think their development plan through, supervise them at every step, and constantly push their actions. However, this approach is relevant only to corporate management trainees. In other cases, you are the master of your career. 

The management is certainly responsible for the creation and maintenance of a development system. However, the development is up to employees who need to search for opportunities proactively and initiate regular two-way feedback. As a rule, employees that see no growth potential lack leadership competencies or proficiency in working with stakeholders. Meanwhile, they may have no skills in seeing and using opportunities. 

If you face such a problem, try to determine your ideal growth in terms of position, salary, specific tasks, and areas of responsibility. Think about how your upgrade will contribute to the business. Next, figure out how you can get to this point, and frame it in a thoughtful plan, show it to a manager, and ask: "What shall I do to get here?", "How realistic is my plan?", "Will we move towards my proposal?" An adequate boss will thank you for this approach and contribute to your growth.

Case 2: you've lost interest

If your current job doesn't fit you anymore, how have you realized  that a new position is relevant? If this job is not your cup of tea anymore, where have you found a new one? Were you inspired by something special? For instance, sometimes we want to make changes after we enjoy friends' stories, cool books, or exciting documentaries. If your decision derives from such things only, it may be emotional, but, if you are ready to quit without some exact plan, it still is not balanced enough. Don’t burn bridges or drop everything you've already done halfway through, instead, give yourself time to think everything through.

The grass is always greener on the other side, but ‘each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. Every business, company, or team has its problems. For instance, you may be tired of working in the sales department of the B2B segment. However, a marketing department also has hidden hazards. Or if working in retail isn't elite or profitable enough, the luxury segment lacks dynamics and requires an exclusively gallant attitude to each customer. 

Don't speed things up: maybe you just need to have a rest or make a development plan. Meanwhile, sometimes even changing an office workplace may work. Every field has its peculiarities, so look them over. Changes may be hard to reverse.

Case 3: you feel useless

Sometimes this unpleasant feeling indicates potential improvements in your work. For example, you may have illogical KPIs or an insufficiently developed strategy. Next, you may lack skills in managing customers' attention and engagement. Then, you may act before the elaborate test of hypotheses. 

Get the exact vision of your contribution. You are the only person responsible for your efficiency, so, nobody else can improve it. Question any status quo, revise targets, or build your own evaluation system. For instance, it may include feedback from customers and colleagues or proxy metrics of success. If you or the whole team does something wrong, inform the company to revise its current strategy or evaluation system. It is your responsibility, and you should act. If things don't work out, upgrade your leadership skills and act again. 

Case 4: current culture contradicts your values

Organizational culture can be compared to Titanic: it is not likely to face rapid changes. As a rule, they are expensive and time-consuming. If everything used to fit you, stay patient and give the company a chance. 

It is run by real people who also experience fear or uncertainty. These feelings turn them aside from initial goals. If you see this, explain it to your colleagues without dismissals or loud words. Instead, go for adequate and delicate conversations with arguments and examples. Colleagues who also feel uncomfortable may be afraid to discuss problems with the management. You can initiate the dialogue and eventually achieve a significant positive result.

Case 5: your boss is difficult

Everyone has problems with their managers. Especially those who have joined for a team, not for its leader. However, this is a matter of agreement and adaptation. Why does the boss behave this way? What is in their head? What drives them? Have you provided them with transparent and timely feedback? Has it looked like an aggressive complaint or included examples, arguments, and explanations of how you feel? Start with these questions. 

Imagine being fired without prior feedback and the opportunity to change. Your boss will feel the same way. Try to understand the situation and don't miss the opportunity to fix the relations and establish the proper working interactions together.

Case 6: your work brings no joy

This problem may be caused by something else. Dopamine is a very unstable thing. Joy from work depends on many aspects. It starts from growth, type of activity, team, and goal-setting system, and ends with physical and mental health. 

If you don't enjoy your job anymore, find the prime cause of the problem. Maybe you romanticize your job routine. For instance, do you suppose that it should be made only of glamorous phone conversations, business breakfasts, and articles about you in the media? Have you forgotten that work is work, and it is full of creating, solving problems, and overcoming difficulties? What if you just haven't had any new non-conventional tasks for a long time? Figure out why you feel this way, and only then decide to burn bridges or fix them.

Scenario 7: you see no engagement in your development

This is an intricate problem, so, be sure to figure everything out. Before giving up on the company, try to understand why no one is engaged in your development. Start with checking all the reasons related to your position, behavior, or business context. Do you behave in a toxic way? Are you an intern or a junior but want to get all the attention? And what if you are not independent enough and everyone just wants you to be more autonomous? Or maybe now the company experiences a crisis. Consequently, it is focused on saving the business, and your development should reasonably wait. In this situation, start with direct two-way feedback to the manager and only then figure out what to do.

Case 8: you are tired of constant firefighting

Any urgent request can be called a firefighting, and any change can be hated. Check whether your time is well-planned, and these fire drills are not caused by you. Next, distinguish whether you want to "quietly work on your own" with nobody ever asking you to do something. If these are your expectations, you should think about other options.

Business is about speed, dynamics, uncertainty, and constantly changing context. It requires flexibility, adaptability, and deadlines. If you are uncomfortable in such conditions, the business is not for you. Start with an analysis of your routine and reactions to requests. Probably, you will see yourself in a more conservative and clumsy way than you would like to. If you can't evaluate yourself, ask your colleagues. Remember: there are no perfect companies, so true leaders start with themselves.

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