Is It Time To Quit Your Job?
August 2019, by Sonia Riverin
Candidates
4-minute read

In an employees’ market, it’s easy to switch positions or companies as soon as things get a little difficult. But should you? And how do you know when it’s the right time for a change? We take a look.

If it’s a struggle to get out of bed and go to work in the morning, or if you can’t wait for each day to end, it may be a sign that you need to change your job. But before you leave, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Sonia Riverin, Senior Partner at St-Amour, shares her expertise below. 

Leave for the right reasons

“People who feel totally fulfilled at their job are reluctant to change,” says Sonia, a seasoned headhunter who has met with thousands of candidates during her career. As she explains, if the work atmosphere is good, the challenges are stimulating and the pay is fair, there’s little reason to move.

Employers also look for people who are able to commit to a job long-term. While you may have solid reasons for changing, think about what impact your explanation would have on a potential employer. Here are a few reasons that Sonia and her colleagues at St-Amour often hear in interviews which offer a valid explanation for seeking a new job:

  • You would like a promotion, but no higher-level positions are currently open or within reach at your company. You’ve been offered a transfer to Toronto, but you don’t want to move to another city for family or personal reasons. 
  • Your company is in sharp decline. This is a perfectly valid reason for finding a new job. If you remain in your current position, you risk losing value on the market.
  • You’ve been doing the same thing for 12 years. Even though you love your work, you think maybe you should change your job—and you’re right! You’ll gain more by experiencing another environment and expanding your skills.
  • You did not receive new benefits that were promised to you or your bonus structure was revised downward. You should be aware, however, that this kind of reason may be interpreted as reflecting underperformance on your part. Carefully prepare what you’re going to say on the matter before your interview. 
  • You are working in a toxic environment. If your anxiety level is suddenly higher or your health is at risk, it may be beneficial—if not necessary—to seek new pastures. Take care, though, not to explicitly criticize your employer during an interview. Stick to the facts.

There are plenty of other factors that may prompt you to leave, but whatever they may be, the key is to take stock of the situation before making a decision.

Weigh the pros and cons

“You absolutely should not hesitate to weigh the pros and cons of your job. What do you like about it? What do you not like, and why?” 


For the younger generation, quitting may be driven by a desire to seize the day. Some want to travel, while some want to work on a project that’s unique or gives meaning to their life. Others may have a family situation that requires more flexibility in their working hours or greater financial security, resulting in them looking elsewhere.

Try to integrate these desires or requirements into a broader career view.

“People often focus on the short term. It’s important to keep things in perspective and consider your career path over the long term.”

 

If you feel trapped in your job, talk to your manager or human resources.

“Communication should be the first step in finding a solution.”


Do your homework on the new company

At the same time, don’t charge headlong into a new job without first learning about your future employer.

“Before you leave a position, you have to do your homework and learn as much as you can about the company, its culture and the working conditions.”


When there’s a shortage of skilled labour, employers sometimes engage in one-upmanship in an effort to attract workers. Besides taking stock of the position and environment that you’re leaving, it’s therefore important to ask the right questions about what the new organization is offering you.

Sonia recently reviewed a candidate who left a position at a large corporation for a start-up promising the opportunity to work on innovative projects. He made the leap despite several people warning him about the risks. The company’s culture turned out not to be a good fit, so a year later, he found himself back on the job market again. This lesson learned the hard way could have been avoided. 

To give yourself enough time to thoroughly appreciate the value of your current job and meet the standards for employability, you should ideally stay in the same position for three to five years.

“If you’ve held five similar positions in seven years, the employer who’s recruiting is going to have doubts. But if you’ve taken on more and more responsibility and been promoted three times in seven years, it’s a very good sign in terms of your potential.”


In short, think twice before changing your job and don’t be afraid to seek solutions within your current professional environment. After all, finding ways to keep their top talent is in employers’ best interests. 

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