If you've followed my blog for any length of time (and if you have thank you so much!) you will know that I left my old job a few months ago. It was a good job, stable and I was able to do it with my eyes closed and twirling a few plates at the same time! Despite that, there were several reasons for leaving and I wanted to share a few of them for others who might be having thoughts about their 9-5 grind.
#1 Feeling a lack of appreciation
I think one of the biggest factors in my decision to leave was the sense of not being appreciated for the skills and experience I brought to the job. I was an expert in the field I worked in - I knew much more than I needed to do the job and that made my boss's life a LOT easier. I never expected to be patted on the back all the time, but a little acknowledgement of what I brought to the job would have gone a long way to making me decide to stay.
#2 Lack of pay rises
This goes hand in hand with number #1 - if someone is doing a good job then reward them for it. The pay rises don't have to be big but an annual increase makes the person feel that the effort they put in is seen and appreciated. If the business is struggling then this might not be possible, but I worked for a man who made millions and he begrudged his employees an annual pay rise - no wonder there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that continually seethed below the surface!
#3 Changes in my family situation
When I started working virtually full time we needed the extra income to pay for the added costs that come with having a family. Our children weren't costing us a lot, but we had health insurance to pay for, weddings to fund and other expenses that pop up when you have teenage children who are turning into young adults. Over the years our children became independent and weren't costing us money but I still continued working at the same pace until my moment of clarity when I saw that our outgoings were reduced and my mindset could change along with them.
#4 My husband only worked part-time
Part way through my last job, my husband was made redundant and decided to embark on full time study accompanied by some part-time work. He went from a full-time, well paid job to a fluctuating freelance income that was extremely unreliable. My job was the rock that I clung to for paying the bills and making sure we had a steady stream of finance. Ultimately this is not a good reason to stay in a job that makes you unhappy - it just led to me resenting working while he stayed home.
#5 The "what if" mentality
This is a big one for me - What if I couldn't find another job? What if we couldn't survive financially on my husband's part-time income? What if we used up all our savings? What if our income didn't meet our needs? etc etc. And you know what? the "what ifs" were the thing that held me back the longest and they were the least of the worries in the end. What we worry about so rarely happens and in the end none of them came to fruition - and even if some of them had, we would have coped and found a way through.
#6 Having faith in myself
The buck stopped with me - I needed to have faith in my own abilities and in what I had to offer. I needed to be confident in myself and my ability to win a job that suited me better and wouldn't suck the joy out of me. I also have a strong faith in God and I believe he looks after his people, so I threw it into his lap and took some comfort in trusting in a higher power to oversee the process (I don't believe God hands you life on a plate - just that he is someone else batting for your team and that's an added confidence booster for me.)
Ultimately, whether you stay in a job or not is an individual choice. Sometimes we stay when we should bite the bullet and leave, other times the job is taken from us and we are left "hanging out to dry". But really, in midlife - if we have made good decisions leading up to this stage - leaving our job is a luxury we can afford and taking the leap into the unknown can be the best thing we ever did. If you're thinking about it, my advice would be that we're not getting any younger - just do it!