Breaking up is hard to do

You may have had it with your current job, but before you quit know that many workers regret a similar decision.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Inside every issue of IB, on page 2 — our masthead, we survey our staff on a light-hearted question that’s supposed to give you, the reader, a glimpse into our personalities off the page. Last month, we asked, “What’s your biggest regret?”

I went with “quitting the flute in high school.” I was good at the flute, but back then I wanted more time for other pursuits and figured I could always pick the flute back up later with little fuss. Today I can’t even remember how to read music.

23% of workers polled said they have regrets about leaving their former job.

It’s crazy how often — and quickly — we realize just how good we had something only after it’s gone. That includes jobs we’ve departed and now regret leaving.

The national quit rate was at a nearly all-time high during June. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.1 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs during the month, or 2.1% of the workforce. That’s a lot of workers seeking greener pastures. However, we all know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

According to a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, 23% of workers polled said they have regrets about leaving their former job. Biggest regrets include leaving friends and colleagues (28%), departing for the wrong reasons (27%), and saying goodbye to a great boss or mentor (20%).

For what it’s worth, 63% of workers would consider returning to a former employer, but with some caveats: better pay (52%), promised opportunity for growth (15%), or a flexible schedule (15%).

Frankly, I don’t know if I’d be so quick to return to a former job based on promised improvements. I look at it like ending a relationship. You broke up for a reason. Things may look like they’ve improved on the surface, but a lot of the causes for the breakup are probably still lurking. (Not coincidentally, there’s probably a reason I’ve never stayed friends with an ex.)

That said, few jobs are perfect. You don’t want to leave a flawed but good one only to wind up in a worse situation.

To help ensure you won’t come to regret your next career move, here are a few tips, courtesy of Accountemps, to consider before deciding whether to leave your current employer:

If you’re unsure about leaving

1.  Address dissatisfaction. Try to resolve the issues that are making you consider a move. Request a meeting with your manager to discuss why you’re unhappy, and try to come to
a resolution.

2.  Talk career path. Use the meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth opportunities within the company. If you do not feel challenged, ask for opportunities to work on bigger projects or ways to gain new skills.

3.  Take a break. A heavy workload may be causing added stress as you try to balance demands of the job and personal responsibilities. Use vacation time to relax and recharge.

4.  Do your research. If salary is the primary reason for wanting to leave and your requests for a raise have gone unanswered, investigate what someone in your position with similar experience is making in your market.

5.  Network. Reach out to contacts in your industry to see what the employment market is like for someone with your skills and experience. If demand is low, be cautious about making a move. If demand is high, try to learn more about which companies are hiring and their corporate cultures to help make your decision.

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