Is quitting your job the answer?
She had been working at my school for seven years. The students loved her, she had passion when she taught and she continually worked hard to teach in an easy-to-understand way. Then it seemed like overnight, she changed. She started showing up late, complaining about our meetings, claimed we treated her unfairly and that we didn’t support her like we used to. After finally taking the time to sit down and hear her out, I discovered her husband had been unfaithful.
It’s amazing how outside factors can change how you feel about work. What do you do when you’re ready to throw in the towel and quit? There are moments when you’ll want to. There are times when walking away seems so much easier than sticking it out. Even if you have a somewhat valid reason to leave your job, don’t ever make a rash decision based on emotions.
When I get called in to speak with someone who is thinking about leaving, 80 percent of the time the root of it is something external—parents, kids, spouse—something outside of the classroom doors. But there are cases when a bad review, a student complaint or an employee fight will cause someone to want to leave. I’m a believer that when the going gets tough, any problem can be worked through.
Here are my rules before you hand in your notice and quit:
■ Identify the problem. Is an external problem causing this minor work problem to seem major? If something else in your life is the root of your issue, then finding a new job won’t fix it.
■ Find someone you can confide in. Maybe it’s another employee, an HR specialist, a family member or a therapist. Problems need to be talked through. What you need is someone who will listen to you.
■ Make a list of your successes. It’s not fair to punish yourself because one student complained about you. List out your accomplishments, your highs and the reasons you once loved your job. When you’ve had time to cool down, go back and read this list and see what you’ll be missing out on.
■ Write out a new 30-day plan. So, you want to leave—now what? Where will you go? What will be different this time? What will be your new challenges? The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You might have it better than you think.
■ Don’t quit while you’re emotional. Handing in your notice when you’re furious is something you’ll regret. Don’t burn bridges or do something you’re going to have to apologize for later. If you’ve decided to move on, do it calmly and always leave on good terms.
Never underestimate the power of an educator!