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Great Resignation: 5 signs it’s time to go

(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

Australians are leaving their jobs en masse, with October recording the highest number of job advertisements posted in a single month since 1998.

It’s part of the global war for skills. Closed borders and movement restrictions have blocked the flow of talent, and it means Australian workers are in high demand.

But before sending in your resignation letter, it’s worth considering whether you’re quitting because of small deficiencies at work that can be solved, or whether there are larger issues at play.


According to leadership strategist and performance consultant Shadé Zahrai, there are five clear red flags that it may be time to look for a new job.

1. Micromanaging

The problem with feeling like you’ve been micromanaged, is that essentially it’s a sign your boss doesn’t trust you.

“[It] leads to a lack of autonomy [and] undermines your sense of self-efficacy, which erodes your sense of self worth and value over time,” Zahrai warned.

“It’s really damaging because often by the time you realise it’s happening, it’s too late and your confidence has suffered so much. It becomes really difficult to go and get a job elsewhere because you’re so full of doubt.”

2. No work-life balance

Just like micromanagement is a sign of a trust issue, poor work-life balance can be a sign there’s a lack of respect.

Employers need to understand and respect the fact their employees do have rich lives outside of work.

“We all know what it’s like when we’re in an environment like that - it’s horrible. You feel like work is taking priority. Your self worth drops as well.”

3. No recognition, or stolen credit

A 2018 study by Reward Gateway found that a greater percentage of workers (44 per cent) are motivated by credit for their work than the 38 per cent who are motivated by a pay rise.

And if workers aren’t being appropriately recognised and appreciated, this represents a problem at the management level, Zahrai said.

“We know that most people leave organisations because of bad leadership.

If you’re in a position where you feel you’re being taken advantage of, you’re being underappreciated, you’re also more likely to find favouritism in these environments.

“This can be really hard to see because it’s a lack of fairness and a lack of justice. Unfortunately, some leaders and managers make it very difficult for your growth.”

That’s when it’s worth looking somewhere else for those opportunities.

4. Integrity deficit

Have you ever been told to enjoy your lunch breaks, only to return from a break to 15 missed calls and even more emails?

The disconnect between a company’s outward values and actual actions can be jarring, uncomfortable and a good sign that the fit isn’t right anymore.

“This is where the organisation might say one thing, but they do another,” Zahrai said.

“It’s one of the biggest red flags there is because it can lead to that feeling of discontent.

“They call it ‘cognitive dissonance’, where you feel that you’ve got these great personal values, but you feel that when you’re at work, it’s conflicting with that, so you’ve got this internal struggle.”

5. It just doesn’t feel right anymore

More broadly, the leadership coach believes that if your gut is persistently telling you something is up, then something probably is.

“You might enjoy your job in the sense of the tasks that you’re doing, but if something doesn’t feel right, you’ve got to honour that feeling,” Zahrai said.

It could be that you don’t understand the purpose of your work, or it could be that the culture isn’t a good fit anymore.

“There’s no use going to work and not feeling like you can be your best. We spend so many hours working, you’ve got to make sure that it’s an environment where you feel empowered.”

I like my job, but I’m bored. Is that enough reason to move?

Shadé Zahrai has some advice for people mulling a career change. (Source: Supplied)
Shadé Zahrai has some advice for people mulling a career change. (Source: Supplied)

The solution to boredom at work isn’t always a new job.

“If you’re getting itchy, it could be for any number of reasons,” Zahrai said.

“It could be a by-product of the intense uncertainty we’ve all gone through and the changes in the working environment.

“So if you still enjoy your job, that’s a really good sign. It might just be that you need a shake-up and to add a little bit of spice into what you’re doing.”

This could be as simple as changing up your daily routine or picking up a new hobby, or it could be finding new challenges at work.

“If you’ve mastered what you're doing, this is an opportunity to use your voice and actually ask for a new opportunity, or to contribute in a new way in the workplace,” Zahrai said.

She suggests testing out mentoring, or joining workplace groups to see if that scratches the itch for something new.

And if that doesn’t work, then it could be time to look elsewhere.

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