One of my greatest honors is receiving emails from you with questions, concerns, and compliments (I especially love those compliments 🙂
Seriously, I love hearing from you and what you’re really going through, and then doing my best to provide as much insight as I can.
So I’m going to start doing a periodic series called ASK PAUL, where I basically take a real life question one of you have sent me (with your permission) and then answer it here at All Groan Up. If you have something specific you want to receive input on, please reach out to me at the All Groan Up contact page and I might feature it on All Groan Up along with my response.
The first installment of ASK PAUL revolves around a question many of you have asked me recently – when should I quit my job? Specifically, Callie reached out with her story below and my response follows after (with a few additions).
I recently read your “The Lure of the Comfortable Job” article and it really resonated with me. I just accepted a comfortable job and fear I’ve made a big mistake. I’ve been applying for new positions elsewhere, but I was so eager for a change that I accepted an internal promotion that I’m less than thrilled about.
My parents and family encouraged me to take it for the pay increase (I live in Washington, DC and life here can be fairly $$), but when I accepted the offer, I began to panic. Pressured by the lure of the comfortable, I fear I’ve jumped into something I don’t really want way too fast.
I worry about missing out on new experiences and staying at my company too long for the stability.Do you think it is worth sticking around to see if the new role is something I enjoy? Or would it be best to jump ship right away?
Hey Callie! Thanks so much for the kind message and sharing your story. Definitely can relate big time!
Promotions are scary, right?! Getting deeper into a job you don’t really want in the first place can feel sickening. But I think the key here is trying not to see it as too black/white i.e. quitting right away vs sticking it out. I know a crappy job can feel like quicksand, but if you try to to frantically leave too quickly, you might get sucked in even deeper.
So before you quit your job, I say do these five things first:
1. In your current job try to find 1-3 challenging aspects you really enjoy and do your best to tailor projects, volunteer for extra responsibilities, and hone your position to do more of those things you love.
Grow your skill set as much as you can in that area so that your resume and experience can be strong when you apply to different jobs that need that same skill. Leverage what you enjoy doing so that you can do even more of that in your next job.
2. If someone you’re working around is really doing the job you’d love, then buddy up to that person, ask them questions about the amazing work they’re doing, and learn as much as you can from them.
Get real on the job training while still doing your job. Now, you might have to do this with some strategic tact so that you 1. Don’t freak this person out. And 2. Still do your job well. But I think this is a great way to learn about a different skill set from someone in your office who is probably more than happy to talk about what they do well.
3. Network like crazy with people outside of work too.
Too many people make the mistake of trying to network with people when they’re unemployed. That’s the worst time to network. People can smell the desperation on you and know that no matter how you’re positioning your “Informational Interview” that you’re really trying to sweeten them up for a job.
The best time to network to find a job is while you still have one.
Make it a goal to reach out to at least 1-2 people a week. Influencers, alumni from a school your graduated from, your parent’s friends, etc. I wrote about how to effectively reach out to these people, through social media and email, in this article 4 Sizzling Strategies to Land Your Dream Job. Check it out.
Your dream job will come through a person 100% more likely than it will come through a website.
4. Figure out what you really want. It’s tough to look for your dream job when you have no idea what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a place to start figuring it out, answer the 11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask and then 8 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask About Their Career.
5. Start pursuing a side-hustle i.e. something you’re super passionate about and are willing to get up at 5 am or stay up to 1 a.m to spend a few hours hammering away at before or after work.
Pursuing my side-hustle is seriously what gave me motivation at my numerous crappy jobs because I always knew this job wasn’t my reality. It was a stepping stone. A place for me to make money and build skills that were going to feed my writing/blogging/website building, which was my passion. If you work hard enough at your side-hustle it can become your full-time gig. I’m living proof of that.
Thanks again Callie! You probably weren’t expecting this much in response (and I wasn’t expecting to write this much…caught me on a good night filled with coffee and cookies…) but hopefully this helps.
(Hope you enjoyed the first ASK PAUL. Again if you have something specific you want to receive input on, please reach out to me at the All Groan Up contact page. I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to help!)