Here at MONERE Development Services, we are often asked to do one to one sessions with people who are not fully content in their current role. This can be for many reasons – some with very little or nothing to do with the work such as a long and tiring commutes. Very often, however, the reasons are centered on long hours, little or no recognition, unrealistic workload, poor working conditions and poor relationships with colleagues or line manager. While we are not psychotherapists or psychiatrists, we have to step back and start with that question: “Why are you looking for another role”? The floodgates usually open at this point. Some of the most common answers are:

  1. The hours are too rigid – not enough flexibility
  2. I’m not being challenged sufficiently/or too much
  3. I’m stuck in a rut and don’t look forward to each day at work
  4. I can’t cope with the increasing demands expected of me
  5. I want something part time and less demanding
  6. I am not getting along with a colleague
  7. I can’t see any opportunities for promotion or furthering my skills

Based on the response to the question “Why are you looking for another role”? there are a few further questions that we put to our clients – some of which they like less than others:

  1. Have you spoken to your line manager about how you are feeling?
  2. Are you contributing in your role to the standard expected?
  3. Would there be any chance that you are coasting (we consider coasting to be where someone is enjoying the perks of employment but not working to the best of their ability – some people will say that they are coasting but have not done anything about it because the job is so ‘handy’.
  4. What are your ideal hours, role and contribution to the business?
  5. Have you tried to address the situation with your colleague?

Depending on where people are in their life-cycle, they want different things from their work; for example, an eager 22 year old might be hugely ambitious and mad for responsibility and will therefore not have a problem with long hours and travel. That same person, at 32, may have a young family and want less travel and by virtue of the fact that they have a very busy home life, they may not be quite so ambitious for these early years of their children’s lives. So basically, you never know what might suit your employer until you share your feelings. They may well be in a position to give you more responsibility while removing some from someone who wants to work less hours, or vice versa.

Smart employers recognise the need to work with the individual to strike a balance between what the employee wants so that they have a happy lifestyle and what the business needs from this person.

The overwhelmingly common answer to “Have you spoken to your line manager about how you are feeling” is No. This is usually the first piece of ‘homework’ that a client will be given to do – communicate with their manager. There can be much time and effort put into getting a new role, only to find out when you are giving in your notice, that your manager would have been happy to provide these things for you if you had asked for them.

The main reason for asking these tough questions of yourself before you jump ship is that you may be able to leave your employer behind but you cannot leave yourself behind. Your personality, fears, skills, attributes and your attitude will have to come to the new role with you. And guess what? Within 6 or 8 months of being in your new position, you find yourself with the exact same set of challenges. So you ignore them for a while but eventually, you are back to being frustrated so you may very soon find yourself back on the circuit of job-hunting. So when we say you may need a new outlook, this means that you should start your job hunt by talking to your manager and sharing your concerns whatever they might be. This takes courage and not all managers are as available as they should be – but I guarantee you they will prefer to hear your wish list first to see what can be done as opposed to learning that you are not content through your resignation letter.