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.
1. 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.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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% 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.
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