Understanding the difference between these three reasons can help you salvage your job, reclaim your sanity or get the clarity to get the heck out.

Each reason is going to be individual to each person; one person’s want is another’s need. These lists are generalizations and not all inclusive; it is important that you clarify in your own mind your needs, wants and have to reasons.

You Want To

A want according to the dictionary is a desire or a wish for; for our purposes this is a time that you are just not feeling good about where you are and this creates a bit of wanderlust.

  • You are not valued in terms of ideas, income, accomplishments or recognition.
  • You are stuck unable to advance or gain new knowledge and skills, there are no more opportunities.
  • You either dread going to work or it is mind-numbing, the passion or fun is gone.
  • You dream of doing something else, all may be just okay where you are, but you dream of something more.

You Need To

The dictionary defines a need as a requirement, duty or obligation; in a job situation this is when the situation is causing some degree of damage to you personally or professionally, although not on a catastrophic scale.

  • You have a bad boss who you do not respect, does not respect you or is not going anywhere. They may be incompetent, unsupportive or sabotage your efforts for their own gain.
  • You do not fit it or you clash with the corporate culture.
  • You no longer know what is going on or are the last to know; your boss is no longer including you in decision-making or projects directly related to what you do.
  • You have burned bridges or damaged your own reputation either by picking a fight with the favorite employee/suck up boss, behaved in a manner which is deemed untrustworthy, unprofessional or improper.
  • You or your family is stressed out; the environment, hours or anxiety is taking a physical or mental toll.
  • You have experienced a major life change; getting married, having children, losing a spouse – any situation in which your current position no longer supports your personal family needs.

You Have To

Have, according to the dictionary, is defined as being compelled or under obligation; in a job situation this is when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, the worst case scenario is to stay.

  • Your company is going downhill fast – losing clients, not paying its bills, laying off in numbers or needing upper level approval for the most minor of decisions.
  • Your ethics are being challenged; you are asked to lie to clients or coworkers, you see unethical business practices or illegal activity.
  • You are experiencing verbal abuse, bullying or harassment.

The Decision

If your decision is based on a want to list, take the time to make a pros and cons list and give yourself the opportunity to realign with your job or create new opportunities to correct the wants. Make sure you have explored every opportunity available to improve the current situation; this will help ensure that you do not jump into a similar or possible worse situation.

Once you have made a decision to leave, the key factor is time. Do you need to leave immediately or can you wait it out a bit while you look? No matter your timeframe, now is the time to make a plan.

  • Identify what you want to do – is it in the same industry, is it the same position, is it the next position up or is it a whole new direction for your career.
  • Identify what value you have to offer – not what you were hired to do, rather what you did. Who did you work with, how did you work with them, who received value from you doing what you did and what were the results of that value.
  • Create your branding strategy including your resume, networking and LinkedIn.
  • Start networking in your own circle and expanding to include new contacts.
  • Create a no list – these are the job specifics that you do not want included in your next job; having a no list rather than a yes list leaves you open to opportunities you might not have considered before.

Lastly, make sure you create a plan for leaving which includes leaving gracefully including a timeline and an explanation; there is no reason to burn bridges.

Leaving a job can have mental, emotional and financial ramifications. Take the time to evaluate why you want to leave and if there is the opportunity to improve your current position to best prepare for that next adventure: finding the next right job.