Career Resources / Should You Leave Your Job?
You might have chosen a nursing career because of your desire to help others. Despite wanting to serve, sometimes your job may no longer be a good fit. Burnout might be a motivator in wanting to change fields. Data indicates that roughly 1 in 5 healthcare employees have quit their jobs since 2020. Yikes!
Burnout, career dissatisfaction, lack of effective leadership, or a stressful work environment, are all signs it’s time to leave your job. Some healthcare professionals know when it’s the right time to make a change, while others benefit from a checklist of clues the time has come to move on.
Recognizing the winds of change is only the first part of the process. Preparing emotionally, financially, and physically for the next stage in your career can make or break a successful transition. Let Incredible Health help you!
In this article, you will learn:
- How to recognize signs you need a change
- How to prepare for the transition
- Tips for finding a new job
- How to prepare for starting a new job
How to recognize signs you need a change
It can be easy to ignore that nagging feeling that something isn’t right with your career. You probably choose this field because of a passion for helping others and may ignore the fact you aren’t happy anymore. You see the signs all around but choose to ignore them.
On the other hand, you might not recognize the writing on the wall. Learning to recognize the red flags can help you take the necessary steps toward transitioning into a new career path. It’s time to move on for your own health and wellbeing.
Most people experience the following warning signs guiding them toward a career change. Recognizing one or more of the indicators we’ve listed might help ease the feelings of guilt.
Lack of enthusiasm toward your job
One of the first signs it’s time for a career change is a lack of enthusiasm toward your job. What does that look like? Showing up to go through the motions while consistently underperforming is a surefire indicator you have mentally checked out of your job.
Professional burnout is a real thing. There is a real danger when you become complacent in your job. When it becomes difficult to muster enthusiasm for tasks that once brought satisfaction, it might be time to reevaluate your current role.
Negative impact on your mental health
The stress of some healthcare jobs can have a lasting impact on mental health. Toxic colleagues, angry patients, and short staffing can leave you feeling anxious about your next shift. How can you tell if your job is having a negative impact on your mental health? Here are some warning signs:
- Difficultly having positive emotions at work
- Taking several days off to recover
- Difficulty sleeping on work nights
- Tempting to take a lot of personal days
- Acting like a different person – crankier, short-tempered
When thinking about work, getting anxious and unhappy should never be the normal reaction. Everyone has tough days or stretches at work where they feel mentally and emotionally drained. That should be the exception rather than the rule. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to carefully consider a future somewhere else.
Negative impact on your physical health
Stressful and toxic work environments don’t just stress you out mentally. Constant exposure to an unhealthy work setting can cause lasting physical health effects as well. Whether it’s from working long hours without rest or difficult patients, physical symptoms from job stress take many forms.
Some of the signs a job is impacting physical health include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent headaches
- Sleep disturbances
These symptoms can interfere with your job performance. They can also lead to more lasting health effects like heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
Poor work-life balance
Unhappiness in the workplace can overflow into your home life, leading to a poor work-life balance. Bringing the stress of a job home can affect relationships. Exhaustion and other physical issues can interrupt an active social life. Being called into work on days off can upset friends and family who were looking forward to spending time together.
When you find yourself sacrificing your personal life for the job, it may be time to reevaluate priorities. There are ways to help your work-balance to help improve your life.
Dread going to work
If you dread the start of your next shift, that’s a good sign you may want to change jobs or a career.
Dread can take on many forms, including dragging your feet before a shift starts. Getting a headache or upset stomach are other signs of stress building. Figuring out what is causing the dread can be the first step toward resolving it.
When toxic coworkers or poor management are the sources, ask if these are things that can be resolved. If the answer is no, then seeking a new position elsewhere might be the best solution.
How to prepare for the transition
Checking off all the boxes on the “it’s time to change careers or jobs” checklist leads to another question. How should you prepare for the transition to your next adventure? From preparing personal finances and finding a new position to leaving an old job on good terms, there are plenty of considerations.
Preparing personal finances
One of the most important parts of preparing for a new position is to secure personal finances. Changing jobs can sometimes mean going for stretches without regular income. While it is not recommended to quit a job without a new position to go to, sometimes that happens.
Having at least six months of income saved is a solid strategy for preparing personal finances. You might wish to have the ultimate backup plan by putting aside a year’s savings first.
Emergency funds are a must for any career change. Not only can you rely on your savings during the changeover, but you also can revert to it for living expenses if the new position doesn’t work out as planned.
Leaving an old job on good terms
Burning bridges at any job is never a good idea. Crafting a formal resignation letter can help with a graceful transition. Never submit a resignation letter without prefacing it with a face-to-face conversation with a supervisor. Although it can be tempting to unload about toxic work cultures or other unpleasant situations, the resignation letter is not the place for that conversation. Here are some tips on how to write the perfect resignation letter.
Tips for finding a new job
Once personal finances are in order, the next move is to start looking for a new job. Whether staying within healthcare or looking to change course entirely, you need a resume and cover letter to send with your applications. Some healthcare workers, especially nurses, focus all their energies on developing their resumes and they neglect their cover letters. This is a perfect opportunity to shine a light on your talents and goals.
Matching a cover letter to keywords within a job listing can help boost the chances of it making it past the first round with AI bots and into the hands of a hiring manager.
A killer cover letter is just one step in finding a new job. Preparing for an interview with a prospective employer can make or break the chances of landing a preferred role. Here are 17 of the top nursing interview questions, plus tips on how to ace them. Check out more career resources that Incredible Health has to offer – we’ve got your back!
Preparing to start a new job
Landing a new job can be exciting and scary. Preparing for the first day in a new role can help ease the anxiety. Some steps to ensure a smooth transition:
- Time the new commute to work: Arriving late on the first day of a new job can set the tone (not in a good way). Practice making the drive during different times of the day to have a firm grasp on travel times.
- Buy all necessary equipment and tools. You probably have what you need to transition from one healthcare role to another. When shifting careers or advancing to a new role, be sure to have everything needed to get started on the first day.
- Refresh (or update) knowledge. Having physical tools and resources for a new role are important, but so is updating knowledge about best practices. You can prepare through continuing education to update your abilities or brush up on existing skills.
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- “Roth IRA.” investopedia.com. March 11, 2022.
- “Why Health-Care Workers Are Quitting in Droves.” theatlantic.com. March 11, 2022.
- “Workplace Stress: A Silent Killer of Employee Health and Productivity.” corporatewellnessmagazine.com. March 11, 2022.