3 questions for Singaporeans planning to quit their jobs this year

Unless you've spent the past year glued to Korean dramas or DOTA, you probably know that the economy isn't looking so hot this year, with more people getting retrenched and slower employment growth on the cards.

However, that hasn't stopped Singaporeans from leaving their jobs-in fact, in a survey conducted in the third quarter of last year, 3 out of 4 Singaporean millennials were looking to change jobs.

If you've been seeing your recruiter more than you have your family, you've probably already made up your mind to leave. But before you press the eject button on your current job, remember that the job market isn't looking too hot right now. Here are three questions to ask yourself before you do the deed.

Have you already done everything you can to rectify what's wrong with your job?

Let's face it, a great many employees in Singapore feel downright helpless when it comes to their work lives. Thanks to a big power-distance between employers and employees in Singapore, the thought of speaking to a boss about one's grievances is alien to many.

That being said, if you're already on the brink of resigning, you have nothing to lose. Given that the employment market isn't as robust as it was last year, it's a good idea for employees to go all out to try and improve their current jobs before throwing in the towel.

8 questions to ask before quitting your job

  • While the prospect of a career move can feel exciting, motivating and refreshing, an impulsive or emotion-led decision to quit can spell disaster.
  • It's okay to consider quitting and moving on if there's an increasing number of cost-cutting measures and indications that your company is not doing well.
  • If you feel that you're not learning enough or taking on enough work responsibilities, speak to your boss about the possibility of handling more complex tasks.
  • If you've done that, and still feel there's no change, start looking for other options.
  • While we're not expecting you to be BFFs with your superior, you do need to have a good working relationship.
  • If you're not learning from them, it's an indication to move on before you become complacent or bitter.
  • If your actual job scope differs vastly from what you were led to expect, it might be best to quit before you get sucked into a position that will not make you happy.
  • Accepting a new job could mean an attractive pay rise, but you may be neglecting other factors like your career goals, which are equally important.
  • If money's the only reason you're thinking of switching things up, consider speaking to your boss about a possible salary adjustment before accepting a new job.
  • There's no such thing as a perfect job, so there are bound to be ups and downs. Whether it's a complicated project or an annoying colleague, consider if the issue can be resolved, and if you can turn the challenge into a learning opportunity.
  • Make sure your dissatisfaction is not just an emotional or reactive one.
  • Workplace friendships can make you a lot happier and more productive.
  • In truth, a diverse working environment can also broaden your horizons.
  • Ask where you'd like to be in one year's time in your current organisation. Are you on the verge of that big promotion? If so, don't let short-term gripes tempt you into making a quick getaway.

Two of the biggest reasons Singaporean employees quit their jobs are salary and poor work-life balance. If you are being underpaid, you should be aware of the fact that you won't be struck by lightning the minute you approach your boss to ask for a raise. The worst thing that could happen is that you get rejected and continue being paid your current crappy salary.

If work-life balance is an issue, you'll be looking at streamlining your own work processes, trying to be as efficient as possible and delegating wherever you can.

Only resign when you know you've done everything you can. And why bother to even try to make things work? Well, if the reason you're always overworked is because you're a micromanaging perfectionist who wants to do everything on your own, or you're being paid badly because you were too afraid to ask for what you were worth, these are problems that could well follow you to your next job.

Is inertia the only reason you're still in your current job?

If you want to leave your job because going to work isn't some fantasy where you're greeted by a bevy of good looking colleagues and enter the office all fired up to save the world, you need to come to terms with the fact that that unicorns and fairies don't exist either.

However, all the bad things about your job considered, there has to be something that drives you to go to work every day other than the salary. It doesn't have to be (in fact it's pretty unlikely to be) some burning passion. But you need to know at least why you're choosing to slog it out in that company.

You may not like this particular job in this particular company, but you should at least know where your job fits into the grand scheme or your career, or at least where you want to be in the next few years. For instance, if you want to be the creative director of a company someday, that could mean starting out as a graphic designer, even if the day-to-day drudgery of creating logos and layouts doesn't appeal to you that much.

But if you've been a company for so long your career and salary are stagnating, or your job isn't in line with your career aspirations, you might be staying put because of inertia. Maybe you're just too lazy to bother going for interviews and applying for jobs, or you're too tired to take the next step in your career.

So often, I meet people who are deeply dissatisfied with their careers but refuse to apply for new jobs because they've gotten "too comfortable"-a favourite Singaporean phrase we've all heard. If that's the case, you need to kick yourself in the head and do something.

10 more reasons you should quit your job

  • Whether you’ve entered a spiral of negativity, or your tasks are truly of a mundane nature, you can’t seem to see the big picture, or how your tasks make an impact to the company.
  • Every task you do is not done to your best ability as you normally would, because you can’t seem to muster the interest and passion to do so.
  • And this is simply because your motivation and your will to do so has been sucked out of you.
  • Even if you are motivated enough to take on more for experience’s sake, you somehow feel unappreciated, and almost like you’re settling for less. Yes, your responsibilities have increased, which means the management’s trust in you has too. But somehow, this has been conveniently overlooked in your increment.
  • You scoff at the idea of workaholics, but at the same time, you’re seething on the inside because you seem to be turning into one against your will. You find that even when you’re at home, you can’t relax because there are still things that need to be urgently settled.
  • You are normally (more) energetic and chatty, and are participative in meetings with lots of ideas and suggestions to share. But lately, your colleagues are surprised to see you for lunch, as no one seems to notice that you’re even there.
  • Anywhere, anywhere, is better than being at your desk in the office. Even a shabby bus stop in the middle of nowhere works for you.
  • You’re normally problem-free when it comes to health issues, but recently you’ve been getting anxiety attacks, headaches, unexplained body pains, and spiralling into depression. This is a major sign that you should rethink your current job.
  • Your strengths and skills are not being pushed like you want them to be, or they once were. And this is either because your job scope has evolved and doesn’t entail you to use them anymore, or you simply are demotivated and do not see the point of wasting your efforts.
  • You don’t feel challenged at work, not even mildly or occasionally. You look forward to your after-work activities every day as they are more mentally stimulating and rewarding to you.
  • If you find yourself getting bored at work because you have stopped picking up anything new, you may have hit a dead end at your job. Time to switch to one that is better worth your efforts.
  • If you find that you are overqualified for your job, try looking out for opportunities for growth within your company. If nothing pops up, it may be time to source elsewhere for better prospects.
  • Some jobs require you to deal with unpleasant tasks to advance in the corporate ladder; others are just bad fits. An easy way to differentiate between the two is to look at your supervisor's boss - if that's your dream job, then you are on the right track.
  • If you still feel like an outcast at your company after six months or so, you should probably look for a job that suits your character and values better.
  • Some bosses can be a bully, arrogant, or a poor team manager. But he or she may not be worth putting up with if your boss' flaws affect your productivity and happiness at work.
  • Is your company facing financial difficulties or an upcoming merger that threatens your department? Then it's probably time to find new work - there is no reason to go down with a sinking ship.
  • Health is wealth. If stress and anxiety from work are giving you excruciating body aches, anxiety attacks or leaving you in a general state of melancholy, changing jobs might be better for you in the long term.
  • When putting in long hours at work is causing you to drift apart from family and friends, you may want to weigh the costs of your job.
  • An increase in workload without a pay raise may sometimes be due to downsizing. But if management is simply taking advantage of you, it might be time to look for a job that compensates you fairly.
  • If you wake up every morning dreading work, try to pinpoint the reason and talk it out with your boss. And if, in the end, you find there is no way to escape misery at your job, then life is just too short - it's time to call it quits.

Do you have a plan for the future?

2016 is not the year you should be forced to quit your job without another one lined up. Despite the rise in retrenchments, 41 per cent of employers are intending to increase their headcount, which means it should technically be easier to find a job in general, although in reality it really depends on your industry and your own profile.

Still, unless you've saved up enough money to enable yourself to survive for quite a while without working, you need to know your next step. Quitting your job gives you an opportunity to really evaluate your career and plot your next move.

Don't just quit your job and then look another job that's identical to the last without having evaluated if that's really what you want. Too many young Singaporeans leave their jobs in favour of the first random role they manage to pick up somewhere else. And then they leave shortly after because they still feel lost or hate their jobs.

Each time you change jobs, you should be bringing yourself one step closer to what you want out of your career. Make sure you at least know what the next step will be when you throw in the towel, or else you're just running on a hamster wheel that will take you nowhere.

This article was originally on MoneySmart's Singaporeans Who Are Tempted to Change Jobs This Year Should Ask Themselves This First

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