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Career Transitioning - 3 Questions You Must Ask Before You Quit Your Job

One thing is certain. Staying in a passionless job is a career killer. If you are not passionate about your current job others can surely tell. Managers, clients, peers, and potential employers will see you as someone who lacks desire, drive, and enthusiasm. You can identify someone who is unhappy in their career because they lack energy and so rarely, if ever, offer their ideas, or volunteer for any tasks or projects. I once worked in an office where the first thing everyone did when they came to work in the morning was get together to decide what to have for lunch. If lunch is the highlight of your day, then in you are in the wrong job!

Would you like to have a job that challenges you, as well as provides purpose, meaning and great personal satisfaction? Then what is it exactly that you need in your career to feel great personal satisfaction and fulfillment? Do you know? This article provides strategies and recommendations to help you measure the benefit or value that you are currently getting from your current career, and the one single thing you MUST DO before you decide to leave your current work situation and transition into a new role, company or industry.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "What do I really want in my career?"

What is it that will give you the feeling of being happy and fulfilled in your job? Is it status? Prestige? Fame? Respect from your peers? Credibility within the industry? Money? Less stress? An easier lifestyle? Stop a minute and think about it. You need to define the specific things or “gets” that you want to ultimately achieve in your career. You should be able to narrow it down to one or two very specific objectives. Once you are able to identify your ultimate career objectives, then the next thing you need to do is take stock of your current career and where you are today.

So the second question you need to ask yourself is, What are the “gives and gets” in my current situation?”

This means taking a quick inventory of what you are currently giving to your manager, company or clients, and what you are getting in return. Let’s first look at the “gives” of your job. Write down the value that you are providing to your employer by being in your current job role.

For example, do you have knowledge, experience and skills that are valued by your manager or clients? Are you an expert in your job and providing work that is valued? Are you consistently delivering high quality projects that are on time and on budget? Are your clients thrilled with your work? Does your manager think of you as a valued contributor? Do you have the most relevant training and certification to do the job effectively? Are you adding to the bottom line by bringing in new business and maximizing opportunities, or saving costs by streamlining processes or bringing in advanced technologies? Are you leading projects and initiatives? Are you training and mentoring team members and peers? Are you providing some kind of unique expertise and viewed as the “go to” person for that knowledge or skill?

Measure the Gives and the Gets

Look at yourself from your manager’s perspective. Consider the fact that your employer probably had several, if not many, candidates applying for your job and that they gave the job offer to you. Are you meeting their expectations? Are you delivering what you promised in the interview? Are you contributing the skills, expertise, and accomplishments that your company or clients value? Define what it is that you bring to the role. These are the “gives” of your job.

Next, let’s identify the “gets” of your current work situation. This means the benefits that are you receiving for your work. Are the benefits that you are getting, the benefits that you want and need?

For example, if you are getting paid for your work, and maybe even receiving health benefits, a retirement account, or some company stock, then write all of that down. Those are big “gets”. What else are you getting? The opportunity to create or launch a new product? The thrill of working on a specific challenge? Leading a “hot” project? Strengthening a skill? Developing a new skill? Pride from working for a prestigious company or with prestigious clients? Training or advanced education? The ability to telecommute or have a flexible work schedule? The opportunity to work with friends? Identify all of the benefits, or “gets” that you are attaining in your current work environment. There may be many “gets” in your current job and it’s important to identify all of them.

Think about how these relate to your ultimate career objectives that you identified earlier. Are the benefits in your current position helping you achieve your career objectives? If not, then are you gaining the knowledge, experience and skills you need to attain another job that will help you reach your career objectives?

Now, before we go on to the third question you must ask yourself before you decide whether to leave your current work situation, there is another kind of “get” that you must also define.

And that is, the negative “gets” in your current position. Every job has a certain amount of frustration and stress, but does your job give you an excessive amount? Does it make you feel inferior? Incompetent? Overwhelmed? Undervalued? Underutilized? These negative “gets” should also be identified. Think about any negative gets that you have in your current situation and write them down.

Is your company getting too good of a deal?

Now it’s time to review all of your “gives”, “positive gets” and “negative gets”. Are the gets that you are receiving the gets that you really want and need to be satisfied and fulfilled?” Is the mix of gives and gets in balance, or out of balance? If either side is out of balance, then either you, or the company, are getting too good of a deal.

So if your lists are out of balance, does that mean you should leave? Not necessarily. There are THREE MORE FACTORS you must consider before you decide whether or not to leave your current work situation.

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- Sherri Thomas

Sherri Thomas is the author and President of Career Coaching 360. Sherri has successfully transitioned into the radio, television, advertising, finance, professional sports, and high tech industries, and now she teaches others how to do the same. Career Coaching 360 provides tools, resources, and personal coaching to help professionals take their career up to the next level.