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New year, new job? How to know when it’s time to quit

An expert shares her top tips for changing jobs in 2024.

January tends to be the most popular time of the year for people to quit their jobs. But how do you know if now is the right time for a change? Or if the urge to say ‘I quit’ is just a new-year fantasy?

Margot Faraci, a leadership coach with more than 20 years’ experience at banks like Macquarie, NAB and Commonwealth Bank, said January was a popular time for people to reflect on their career goals and future.

“We have time to reflect and we have a natural close to the year. There’s also time with loved ones and time for recreation and doing the things we love that makes you think, ‘Am I doing what I love [at work]?’ Faraci told Yahoo Finance.

'I quit!' post it note on computer. Quitting job.
An expert explains why January is such a popular time for job changes and how to set yourself up for success. (Source: Getty)

Do you have a story to share? Contact tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

“If you’ve had two weeks off and you’re feeling a little bit resentful about being on a schedule, but actually excited about the year ahead - then it’s probably not time to quit.

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“But if you come back and, a couple of weeks in, you are still feeling upset about being back then that’s a pretty good sign.”

It’s also important to consider your longer-term goals, Faraci said, and whether your current job could still be a “means to an end” and get you where you want to be in five or 10 years’ time.

“If it’s not and you’re not enjoying it, then the real question is, ‘Why am I doing it?’” she said.

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Is now a good time to switch jobs?

That would depend on your specific industry and organisation, Faraci said, as well as your own financial situation.

Australia’s unemployment rate is still at a low, with November recording a slight uptick from 3.8 to 3.9 per cent.

“If financial security is your foremost consideration - you’re the primary breadwinner, you have dependents and you’ve got a big mortgage - then it's not time to resign unless you know you have something secure to go to,” Faraci said.

“But if you don’t have to worry about that and you are absolutely miserable, then maybe a rest is what you need.”

How can I set myself up for success?

If you’ve decided now is the right time to start looking for another job, Faraci said there were a few ways to help set yourself up for success.

“Start with the end in mind and where you want to be in five years' time. Set your intention and clear a path for that intention,” Faraci said.

“Work out what it is that you aren’t getting in your current job. That will motivate you to find that new job. It might be a great leader, it might be more money, or something closer to home.”

Faraci recommended people start tapping into their existing network and be disciplined about finding new work.

“You have to be disciplined and prioritise it,” she said. “You want to be having two to three coffees a week with your network and asking for help. Ask for advice and people in your network will want to help you.

“Every coffee should lead to another introduction, another email or whatever it [might be].”

What if I can’t quit right now?

If now isn’t the right time for a job change, Faraci recommended writing down a list of benefits for your current job to help motivate you.

“Even if the benefit is financial security, that’s a big benefit with so many people facing rental pressure and mortgage pressure,” Faraci said.

“The other benefit could be a new, exciting project. Even if you have a terrible boss, the benefit could be learning how not to be a terrible boss. So, look at ‘What am I learning?’ ‘How am I developing?’ And, ‘Am I being pushed to do things I wouldn’t otherwise do?’”

Faraci also recommended setting clear boundaries at work and making sure people gave themselves a proper break to switch off.

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