It’s most likely time to leave your job if any, all or some of the following rings true for you: 1) You’re not happy, 2) You’re not learning, stretching yourself and feel bored, 3) You think it’s just easy, 4) You feel golden handcuffed, the money is too good for you to leave; or 5) You don’t see a future (next 3 to 5 years) for yourself there.
And there’s a way to quit your job so that you walk out the front door instead of slinking out the back. The following exercises will help you shift your thinking so that your exit strategy can become a powerful experience rather than a slow motion trainwreck.
Even if you think it’ll kill you! Show up on time every day for a month, complete your tasks, adopt a positive attitude, don’t gossip, and don’t complain to anyone. You can make it a game: what would you have to do in order for them to BEG you to stay? Now, do that and watch what a difference it makes, for you and for others. It won’t just build your integrity and make you feel better, but it will set a precedent for the future. Remember, no one ever got hired for their dream job by slacking off on their last one.
This is an empowering writing exercise for anyone who feels trapped in their “lame” jobs. Write out your “If I stayed” plan and visit the facts: what would the next 6 months look like, financially, emotionally? Is there room for growth where you are? Next up, write your “If I left” plan with the same measures. What would change? What would your goals look like? Think of Alexander the Great standing above his maps, contemplating the movements of his army. Be bold and honest about the options in front of you.
If you’ve had a “dream career” in mind, demand of yourself to bring it to the forefront now. In another writing exercise, craft the vision of your dream career. There is an art to this, and practicing it is wonderfully rewarding. Write it in the present tense, and go into detail. The minute you start writing a dream, it becomes possible. Post it on the fridge and tell everyone about it. Read it every day and connect with it.
Essentially, this work is meant to refocus you on what you really want – a job where you are inspired and engaged – instead of what you don’t want. And although these exercises will require your time and attention, you owe it to yourself to take careful consideration when thinking and dreaming about your next career move.
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Lauren Zander is the co-founder and chairwoman of Handel Group.
Originally published on Quora.