A typical conservation with Singaporean friends often rapidly devolves into complaints about work. Which really isn’t that surprising, since about half of Singaporeans are not satisfied with the jobs, according to this 2014 survey.
Still, it isn’t always so easy to know if quitting your job in a huff will solve anything. If your boss is this monster who slapped his poor intern, you need to lodge a police report, not just quit! In less extreme circumstances, however, it’s not a great idea to leave the company the minute someone gives you the stink-eye at work.
Here are four things to consider before you start searching for work elsewhere.
1. Find out if it’s your job or your life that sucks
When you wake up feeling miserable every day, it’s pretty damn hard to be cheery at work. Each time your boss calls out your name your skin crawls, and whenever the phone rings you get the urge to escape to the toilet. But before you quit, consider the fact that your happiness might have its roots in your personal life, in which case quitting your job wouldn’t solve much.
If you’re going through relationship problems, don’t have any free time or are in poor health, you can bet going to work is going to suck. Take a long hard look at your life before you quit. Fix the problems in your personal life first, and you might find your time at work passing more pleasantly too.
One big reason you might be exhausted and irritable all day could be lack of sleep—blame our ever-present smartphones and late-night malls. If you’re sleep-starved every day, every little setback is going to get blown out of proportion in your own head.
2. Identify what you hate about your job and see if it’s fixable
Unless you’re working at Disneyland, there must be some things you don’t like about your job. Maybe the aunties in the next cubicle gossip so loudly you can’t concentrate on your work. Maybe you spend longer hours at the office than you think are reasonable. Maybe your boss is an unappreciative tool.
Some of these things you can change, some you can’t. Before you quit your job, make a concerted effort to identify the problems and annoyances you’re facing at work and see if it’s not within your control to change them.
For instance, if you have trouble concentrating due to noisy colleagues, a set of headphones can easily solve the trick. Your working hours might be shortened by delegating tasks, increasing your efficiency or working on your commute to and from work. If you’re bored by your job scope, speak with your superiors to see if you can branch out to learning something new. On the other hand, if you are deliberately being treated like crap by your boss, the only solution is often to leave.
3. Make your work day more enjoyable
No matter how great your job is, getting out of bed at 7am and sitting down for upwards of 9 hours straight day in, day out can be stressful for the body. While it’s hard for everyone, some people have it worse—if you don’t exercise at all outside of work or are getting less sleep than you need (hate those people who can survive on 5 hours of sleep), going to work is not going to be something you will look forward to.
You are responsible for your own wellbeing, so do all you can to make the work day as enjoyable as possible. Go for a workout during lunchtime, listen to music while you’re seated at your desk, decorate your cubicle, organise lunch dates with your colleagues and, if you’re given the chance to telecommute now and then, do so.
When you hack your work day to be as pleasant as possible, you enjoy a boost in mood that helps you perform better on the job. When you’ve done all you can, you can then assess whether it’s the job that’s the problem or just the fact that work is hard everywhere.
4. Speak to your boss and colleagues
As much as you might like to think that you’re the only person keeping the company afloat, you can’t do it without the support and cooperation of your boss and colleagues.
Sadly, in typical Singapore SMEs, there isn’t nearly enough constructive communication amongst coworkers and between subordinates and bosses. People are afraid of confrontation, and as a result often choose to simply leave in search of another job rather than voice their concerns to their bosses.
Before throwing in the towel, make a final effort to speak with your bosses and colleagues and see if there’s anything they can do that will make you want to stay.
For instance, if you feel like you’re in a dead end job, explaining your concerns to your boss and hearing what he has to say will make it very clear whether or not he’s willing to help you to develop your career. If you feel your team members aren’t pulling their weight, you should certainly try to talk things out with them, as it’s possible they have no idea.
Once you shed your fear of communicating with your colleagues about the hard stuff, your situation at work could well improve. And if things don’t change even after you’ve tried your best to get everyone to cooperate, then you know the place is a gone case.
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