What to consider before you quit your job

Paper scrunched into a ball

So, you’re unhappy at work and you’re thinking about quitting your mining industry job. But is the grass really greener on the other side?

If you’re unhappy at work and you’re thinking about switching jobs, now is probably the best time there’s ever been to jump ship.

After all, it’s a rich market for job candidates, with opportunities galore across the Australian mining industry. What could be easier than handing in your notice where you are and applying for jobs up the road?

But is the grass really greener on the other side?

Sometimes the best option isn’t to up stakes and leave your current position. Sometimes the better option is to stay, communicate, tackle the issues causing the problems, and look for a resolution.

Here are some of my thoughts on what can be, for those of us in the recruitment industry, a bit of a sensitive question: whether to stay or go.

Take time out for self-reflection

When you’re unhappy at work it’s easy to assume you’re not part of the problem. But is that right? The first thing to do is to take a step back and look at your own contribution to creating the circumstances. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What part did I play in creating this situation?
  2. How clear was I about my expectations and understandings in the beginning?

If you regularly switch jobs just to avoid issues, without thinking about your part in creating those issues, you rob yourself of opportunities to increase your self-awareness. In other words, you’re not learning anything, you’re not growing professionally or personally, and you’re highly likely to find yourself in the same situation six months, a year or two years down the track. That’s not a solution.

Culture and conditions

If you’re at the point where you’re ready to go sit in the boss’s office and tell them exactly what you think and that you’re moving on, you’ve probably already put together what you feel are compelling reasons for leaving. These reasons will no doubt sound very logical and justified and you’ll make the move confident that you are “getting away from the issues”.

The reality is all you’re doing is removing yourself from that environment.

Now, in some cases the environment will truly be the problem. For example, if there’s:

  • A negative culture
  • Poor working conditions
  • Zero opportunities for growth
  • Corporate stress, or
  • Toxic human beings making your life miserable.

(Or, of course, all of or any combination of the above. In which case, finding a new position will feel like everything you’ve ever dreamt about for your life.)

Honeymoons come to an end

Often, though, the new environment creates a “honeymoon” period. And the problem with honeymoons is they come to an end. Pressure returns and it’s then many of the old issues are likely to reappear. The whole process then starts again.

If this is something you have experienced on more than one occasion before, it might be time to focus some attention on the one factor common to all these environments — you.

This is a big step towards taking responsibility for making a better decision next time. Ask yourself: What was my role in this and what do I need to learn? This is nothing more than building basic personal awareness and accepting what is often described as the first mantle of leadership — responsibility.

The big incentive of personal development

In our line of work we continually see that people who are capable of looking “within” make the greatest contributions and are therefore more highly valued.

Most mentors and coaches believe that people can change, but my experience is this rarely happens without awareness. If this is true, then allowing yourself (or encouraging others) to repeat the same mistakes over and over again is akin to going backwards.

If you sense you’re repeating mistakes, you might want to ask a few others what they see in you in the workplace. That way, you can make any improvements early. Then next time you decide to quit, you’ll know it’s for the right reasons — and that you’re not just taking your problems with you to your new job.

If you are looking for your next opportunity in the mining industry, get in touch with the team at MPI.

Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)

[email protected]