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Should you leave your job during the pandemic?

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You keep looking at the clock waiting for your day to end. The thought of Monday mornings just won’t let you enjoy your weekends. You can’t wait for the next day off – even if you just spent an entire week on leave.

We’ve all been there – I’ve been there. Remaining stuck in a job that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled is something everyone experiences at some point, and there’s always that little voice inside your head that goes like this:

Should I quit my job during Covid?

But we are in the middle of a pandemic, aren’t we? There isn’t much we can do apart from waiting, and waiting, and hoping that this all gets resolved soon. Leaving your job right now certainly feels like a bad idea. But to what extent that’s really true?

You shouldn’t be putting your mental health and general wellbeing at risk, especially in such a challenging year. There are several things to consider to help you choose whether you want to leave your job or not. And you need to make some careful considerations before you take such an important step.

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Image credit: AnalogFolk

Do you have enough financial stability?

It is generally best to leave your current job if you already have another offer lined up. That puts a lot of stress out of the equation, and it allows you to jump from one source of income to another with little to no issues.

However, that is the dream of any jobseeker, and many won’t be allowed that luxury. Many will feel the urge to quit their job before they have another offer. Now, this here is where you should stop and really think about your options.

Do you have enough financial resources to keep you going? Keep in mind that we might well be into this pandemic until mid-2021, and even after that, the job market will still be quite troublesome to hack. You should be ready to head into a period of long-term unemployment. And according to Mike Simpson from the Interview Guysyou can’t even count on unemployment income to keep you going. If you quit, unless you have a pretty darn good reason to leave, or unless you are laid off, you won’t be eligible to receive unemployment income.

Which leads me to the next point.

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Image credit: Stephen Berry

Do you have an exceptionally good reason to leave?

Maybe your work environment is toxic. Maybe you’re having to deal with constant abuse from your top managers. Whatever it is, the environment where you’re currently working just isn’t healthy. Whatever your gender, age group or else, you need to take good care of yourself and that should be one of your top priorities.

If the above isn’t your case though, Karla Miller from the Washington Post advisesagainst listening to that urge to leave right away. Keep looking, but try to hold onto what you currently have for as long as you can. Unless you are having to cope with a toxic environment, you really need that financial stability right now and you really need to have a backup plan in case your job hunt doesn’t work out.

Prospective employers will always understand mental health or general wellbeing issues, especially if they come from a person with a good track record of being loyal to their employer. If you are just starting out with your career, however, don’t make any hasty decision that you might regret later.

Especially seen the current situation in the job market.

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Image credit: Chelsea Mann

The job market is quite competitive

Jumping from one retail job to another may be relatively easy (though this pandemic has made that a hefty challenge too), but the creative industry isn’t like retail. There are a lot of talented people out there and they are all going for the same jobs as you. Having some competition isn’t a reason to give up, but when some nations in the world record up to 11% unemployment, that really puts things into perspective.

Our very own coronavirus survey has found that the job market is in a pretty rough shape and over 60% of companies in the industry are not currently hiring. A huge amount of highly qualified candidates will be applying for a very limited number of roles, making things all the more difficult for you if you wish to re-enter the job market in these months.

With the usual and expected wave of new hires in January, there may be more opportunities for you – though probably still not enough to consider leaving what you have before Christmas. Try to hang in there for a couple more months, take a look through Creativepool or other platforms during this time and try to see if there’s anything that you could go for. Again, having an offer before leaving your job is pretty much where you want to be.

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Image credit: Christian Cornia

Think about your long-term goals

Sometimes your feelings about your current job will just be due to a sudden rush of emotions. There are some projects that are less exciting, tasks that just don’t seem to click for you, and generally periods of time in which you feel like you’re not doing enough for yourself. These are all temporary, and will go away with time. But sometimes there’s more in what you feel, including the signal that your time in your current role is actually up.

Do you feel satisfied in your job? Have you exhausted all of your opportunities for career development, or are your skills challenged on a daily basis? Are you still learning on the job, or do you move from one meaningless task to another? Is a promotion in sight?

Ultimately, where do you see yourself one year from now? If the idea of staying where you are for one more year makes you shudder, maybe it’s time to consider a new role. But you should be one-hundred percent sure of what you want to do, where you want to go, what you wish to achieve. The risk of causing more long-term issues to your career is always lurking behind the corner.

Satisfaction on a job can’t be reduced to the amount of time you spent in the team or working for your current employer, but you should factor in that too. How long have you stayed with your employer? The BBC recommends staying in your job for a maximum of three years, though some believe that two years is the perfect milestone to start looking for new opportunities.

You don’t want to be seen as a job hopper, nor you want recruiters to question your commitment capabilities. At the same time, changing employer well shows an open attitude to change and pursue new opportunities. Should you remain in the wrong place just because you’re afraid of a negative impact on your CV? Probably not. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which path is yours.

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Image credit: Sarah Bailey

Take care of your mental health

Sometimes you don’t quite know why you want to leave. Sometimes it just feels right. When I worked for the Disney Store in Oxford Street, I had a store manager who suddenly chose to retire from retail and re-skill entirely. She had been in the business for over 10 years. But her heart and guts were telling her that this was the right time for a change.

Listen to your guts. If you feel excessively stressed or approaching burnout, chances are there is an underlying problem that you should address. Whatever you choose, make sure to keep your mental health on check. You don’t want to compromise that out of sheer loyalty to your employer, or out of fear to remain unemployed for the foreseeable future.

Should I stay or should I go?

Yes, this pandemic is a crap time to think about career development, and if you have just been entering the workforce, it can be even harder to make a bold move and risk it. But Christmas is coming, news of a vaccine rollout are in the air, and it could be a matter of months before we go back to a semblance of normal – though that will only mean more jobs for an even fiercer workforce than today.

If you can hold on to your current job for a while longer, by all means, do it. Talk to your employer if you can, see if there is a way to get out of your rut and do all you can to dig yourself out of your hole. It is all going to pay off in the long run, with more experience on your CV and more confidence under your belt.

But if you just can’t do it, do not, ever, sacrifice your wellbeing out of fear. You will always have the chance to address the issue in your cover letter.

Thinking to take that step after all? Find hundreds of creative industry jobs here!


Header image: Grand Central Recording Studios.
 

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