How To Avoid The 'Great Regret' When Switching Jobs – Forbes

Ensure that you are leaving for the right reasons and not just following the trend.
The media amplifies the Great Resignation on a daily basis. The commonly held narrative is that people are leaving their jobs en masse to pursue their passions and fulfill their desire for an opportunity that offers meaning and purpose. This is true, but it’s not the full story.
Humans are wired in their DNA to do certain things, such as the fight-or-flight instinct kicking in. Like it or not, people also tend to have a herd mentality. You see it play out on social media every day, as two groups form around the daily outrage and argue with each other. A similar occurrence happens in real life and in the job market.
If you start seeing your friends and colleagues getting cool, new, well-paying jobs, you are both happy for them, along with feeling a little envious. When you read about 11 million jobs being open, it’s logical to feel that you may be missing out on something. On LinkedIn, the social media platform for job seekers, when a person announces that they have secured a new job, the site offers an eye-catching banner and dozens or more people give their best wishes.
In your office, if someone leaves, you wish them well and go back to work. When a few more people depart, you start wondering what is going on. A combination of FOMO (fear of missing out) and a worry that maybe they know something about the organization that you don’t sets in. Your herd instinct to jump on the bandwagon and become part of the Great Resignation, Great Realization or Great Reshuffle—or whatever you want to call it—kicks in.
There is a catch to be aware of when you switch jobs. A recent Harvard Business Review piece reported that 30% of people who left their jobs for greener pastures didn’t have a good outcome. Within only 90 days of employment, respondents to the survey said that they resigned due to “organizational culture and the mismanagement of workplace expectations.”
It appears that a large segment of the people who changed jobs during the Great Resignation regret quitting and have buyer’s remorse. The career site, the Muse, conducted a study about this matter and found that about 72% of respondents replied that they were disappointed in the new role and it was different from what they were led to believe during the interview process. Kathryn Minshew, the CEO of the Muse, described the trend as « shift shock.” Minshew said, « They’ll join a new company thinking it’s their dream job and then there’s a reality check. » It didn’t live up to the expectations and hype.
Given that the statistics are so astronomically high, it makes you wonder if companies also oversold the roles throughout the hiring process out of desperation to fill the positions.
Over the last 25 years, I’ve seen too many people quit their jobs for the wrong reasons. The decisions may have been prompted by a perceived slight, not being offered a promotion, a disagreement with a co-worker or other matters that could have been smoothed out through a rational conversation, without having to take sudden drastic action.
Unless the situation is completely horrible and untenable, don’t quit without another offer in hand. It will make finding a new job much more difficult. Interviewers will be concerned over your “impetuous” decision to resign for a relatively innocuous reason. They’ll form a bias that you may be too rash and volatile.
Without a job lined up, you lose negotiating power for a high salary and better benefits. If you are currently working or have another offer in hand, the candidate can demand a large premium to their current compensation, as they have the comfort of already being in a job or have another offer, in case this one doesn’t work out. Although it’s a hot job market, for white-collar office workers, the interview process can range from one to six months, with up to about six or more interviews scheduled. In between meetings, there will be communication gaps and you may get ghosted by the end of the process.
If you are tempted to quit in a pique of rage over something that happened, take a breath and don’t act. Here’s what you need to do instead of hate-quitting. Smile, act as if everything is fine and dandy and play the game until you can find the job you really want. Be extra polite and helpful so no one suspects that you are starting to plan your exit strategy. When you find a new job, be courteous in victory and don’t use the occasion to trash your former boss, co-workers or company. If you burn bridges behind you, it will be hard to get the necessary references for when you move onto new jobs in the future. Boomerang hiring is a big thing now. Several years down the line, you may consider returning to your old firm in a higher-level, corporate-officer capacity.
When you switch jobs without having rationally thought it through, you’ll be tempted to take something quickly to get away. Fairly soon after starting at the new job, you’ll question why you acted so impulsively. The recruiter may have touted the role too aggressively. The interviewers made over-the-top promises. In your haste to join the resigning club, you overlooked the red flags.
You find yourself stuck in a rebound job. Now there’s a dilemma—do you quit after only a couple of months or try to stick it out for a year or so to make your résumé look good. You rightfully worry about being perceived as a job hopper. Every time you go for an interview, you’ll be grilled over the short stint. It’s not fair, but this is what happens.
To make matters worse, being unhappy in the new role, you start searching again. Feeling unhappy and desperate, it’s likely that you’ll take the first offer to escape. The odds are high that this wasn’t the best offer or job. Now, you’re in another dead-end role. These will be two instances you now have to suffer through explaining to human resources for the rest of your career.
To make matters worse, when the topic of your job switches arises, you’ll understandably feel angry and frustrated. This isn’t a good look in the interview. The hiring manager may question your decision-making process and surly attitude and take a pass for someone with a “cleaner” job history.
Kenneth Lang, cofounder of My Networking Central, conducted a poll on LinkedIn about the Great Regret. Several career experts offered their insights on the matter.
“I think that a lot of the Great Resignation was about running away from, rather than running toward anything in particular, and that often can lead to rework on someone’s part.”
“The classic saying, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side,’ comes to mind. What we expect and what we get can be different!”
“It makes sense that people started running from their jobs rather than running to new ones. I attribute most of it to being totally miserable where they were, but I think some of it was a follow-the-leader mentality.”
“Many are victims of the bait and switch—jobfished.”
“It’s important to be diving deep into the culture and environment during interviews. Ask questions about their employee engagement, expectations, metrics, challenges that are being faced and how long people historically have stayed in the role. Tenure is important to look at.”
“This is why it’s so important to explore what you DO want and not just work to escape where you are.”
Before you make any decisions about leaving your job, take some time to analyze your situation and map out a well-thought, thorough plan. Speak with career coaches, mentors, trusted peers, recruiters and people, whose judgment you value to share your feelings about moving on, to gather some market intelligence and insights.
Ensure that you are leaving for the right reasons and not just following the trend. With so many responsibilities, it’s easy to fall into the trap of acting first and thinking when it’s too late. It’s important to take the time and effort to make a clear-headed decision about your next move to avoid regretting it three months later.

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