Your morning commute to work feels like hours, sitting at your desk is torture, and you’re at the end of your rope with issues that won’t seem to go away. You feel like you’ve done your time at this job, and although you’re not sure about what you’re going to do next, you want out. Wanting to leave a job you don’t like is human, and it’s only natural to want one that you love.

Before you start drafting your resignation letter, however, stop and ask yourself: Have you done everything you can to make this job work for you? It has its shortcomings, but have you examined shortcomings of your own? Is it the job that you are unhappy with, or could it be something else? Don’t make a major life decision without allowing yourself time, introspection, and some self-improvement. Grab a calendar, try these ideas, and you’ll move forward without regret.

Give yourself one month to think things through. If you’re going through a rough patch at work with your boss or a project, let things settle down. If you’re not experiencing any workplace tension, give it one month anyway. This period will allow emotions to subside, situations to defuse, and realisations to surface before you decide what to do.

Take stock of the things that this job does give you, and practice gratitude. Be grateful for the things you’re receiving from work like a monthly paycheque, benefits and perks, a place where you are able to contribute and be part of something bigger. Even the small things count: the one person you work really well with, the cookies your coworker bakes when targets are met, the laughs you sometimes have with colleagues. Gratitude and negativity repel each other. Practice gratitude every day, and you might just make room for fulfilment and positivity to come in.

Use this time to focus on self-improvement. Draw up a list of things you could improve about yourself at work, and commit to it over the next month. If you’re disorganised and chronically late, change how you go about your day. If complaining and gossiping have become habits, learn how to stop them before they start. If there’s a coworker that you don’t get along with, reach out and get to know them. By improving yourself, you’re taking down the barriers that keep you from finding what you love about your job.

Create your work wish list, and talk to your manager about it. Flexible hours, a salary increase, working in another department—you’ll never know what you’ll receive just by asking. But reciprocate and listen to what your manager has to say about your performance—maybe he or she has a wish list, too. Be earnest, gracious, and open-minded. This is a rare chance to find out what you’re good at, what you could improve, what’s keeping you from being happy, and what opportunities were available to you all along.

What we often fail to realise is that it’s up to us to create the job that we love. Jobs come and go, but the opportunities to turn mere employment into a source of happiness are already within us. If after all this, you still want to quit, by all means, go. At least you’ve given it your all, and you’re already better prepared for what’s next in your life.


Photo by Andrew Neel

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