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Should I Stay or Go: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Making Career Decisions

Updated: Feb 8

A person typing on a laptop
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

***Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical, legal, or health advice and is not a substitute for mental health services

The start of a new year can lead many people to think about their life choices in different areas - relationships, housing, finances, and career.

You might find yourself thinking about what's still working for you - and what's not. In this phase of re-evaluation, you will choose what to continue with and what to let go of.

In terms of your career, if you feel unsettled in your job and have been debating for awhile if you should stay in your position or move on to a new opportunity, consider asking yourself the questions listed below as a starting point. These questions might bring you some clarity so that you can make this important decision and find comfort in knowing you made the right choice for you.

1. Am I affected by the Sunday Scaries?

As your weekend winds down, do you feel a sense of dread or anxiety as you get ready to start the work week ahead? Or, are you looking forward to what you plan to accomplish this week?

The trepidation you might be feeling is known as the "Sunday Scaries": you anticipate with fear what the week ahead will look like for you. Some people may have difficulty sleeping - tossing and turning as they worry about the tasks that await them the next day. For others, they feel their anxiety rising as their Sunday comes to an end and Monday morning begins. It might be hard to concentrate, attention might be negatively impacted, your appetite could be low, etc.

Take a moment to notice what comes up for you on Sundays as you get ready to start another work week and use this as a clue to help you figure out your next steps.

2. What are the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving my job?

With any decision, there are pros and there are cons.

When you think about remaining in your job or changing roles, here are some points to consider:

  • Stage of life

  • Job stability

  • Safety net

These are just a few examples of categories where you can weigh the pros and cons. Consider other categories that are also important to you as you try to make a career decision.

3. How to I feel over time?

Reflect on how you feel as the work day progresses.

Are you:

  • fulfilled and engaged?

  • bored and stagnant?

  • under-stimulated and overwhelmed?

  • motivated and energized?

  • well supported by your coworkers and manager?

  • uncomfortable with the team dynamics and culture?

This wide range of emotions offers a window into capturing the types of experiences you may go through in your day to day work life. Consider where you fall in this range and feel free to ask yourself more questions as other thoughts and feelings come to mind.

4. Do I find it hard to say "no" or set boundaries?

If you struggle to say "no" to excessive demands on your time and energy in your job, then you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, and possibly burned out.

You might notice that you hesitate to speak up in meetings as you tend to avoid conflict. Or, you may realize that you agree to do what everyone else asks of you because you are a people-pleaser and find it hard to define limits in terms of what is realistically possible in your work day. You want to appear helpful, likeable, and easy-going to others even though you feel unheard, unseen, and under-appreciated.

Or, perhaps you are being mistreated by another staff member in the workplace and find it difficult to advocate for yourself out of fear that you will be let go or that others will believe them over you.

Consider whether setting boundaries will enable you to feel more at ease in your role or whether there are too many hurdles to overcome and you feel it's best to start exploring new opportunities.

5. Is Thank God It's Friday (TGIF) on my mind every Friday?

Is "Thank God It's Friday (TGIF)" on your mind every Friday? Do you feel like you're rushing through your week just to get to Friday? Or that the week seems to drag on leading up to Friday? Does Friday represent a light at the end of the tunnel that signals freedom, peace, and relaxation?

While work-life balance is important, you may find that you are craving an escape from your job due to feeling overwhelmed and anxious, which is a possible reason why TGIF is a constant fixture in your mind.

Are there things you can do to help make the work week feel less stressful? For example, can you get outside at lunchtime for 10 or 15 minutes? Can you try to schedule something enjoyable in the evenings after work so that you have something to look forward to during the week - not just on the weekends?

The goal is to have a life that you enjoy - not a life that you need an escape from. Finding satisfaction in both your personal and professional spheres of life and making decisions in support of this value can go a long way toward helping you feel fulfilled in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Wishing you well on your mental health journey.

Davina Tiwari  MSW, RSW, CSFT

Registered Social Worker and Certified Solution Focused Therapist

If you are an adult in Ontario or Alberta seeking online therapy and would like to request a free 15 minute phone consultation, please Book An Appointment.


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