questions to ask before leaving your job

When Running Away Is Running Toward

“Hello, How are Y…?” “Carl” interrupted my greeting before I could finish. “Karin, I have to leave my company.” Not your typical Saturday morning phone call. He was fired up. He’s an old friend, and he’d been with his company for nearly two decades.

I figured he was calling to have me talk him off the ledge. I’m familiar with that ledge– I’ve been there, and I’ve talked more than a few off it over the years. So I opened the window, climbed out, sat next to him, and listened.

Running Away or Running Toward?

I’ve always believed that running away is not the answer, much better to be running toward. His urgency had all the signs of a full-out sprint in one direction– away. But then I heard his story:

  •  “I’ve lost all respect for leadership.”
  •  “I fundamentally disagree with the values at play here.”
  •  “The wrong people are losing their jobs.”
  •  “I’m a Christian, and this just feels wrong.”
  • “I was raised better than this.”
  • “At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and feel like I wasted my years.”

Questions From the Ledge

Oh boy. This was going to be harder than I thought. If even half the stories were as bad as they sounded, the situation was extreme. “Why aren’t more leaving? I asked, already knowing the answer. It’s tough to leave the security of a well paying gig. I continued with my line of questioning.

  • Are you sure you have the whole story?
  • Have you shared your concerns with leadership?
  • Have you talked with HR?
  • Have you done everything in your power to improve the situation?
  • Have you looked seriously at other job prospects?
  • Are you financially prepared to make less?
  • Can you take some time off to think about it?
  • Does your wife think you should go?
  • Will you please wait until you have an offer to resign?

He answered, “yes” to all.

And then he shared, “Karin, it’s almost Spring. I have a sense this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening. New growth, new life.” You write of Seasons. It’s time for a new one.

I realized my role was not to be talking him off the ledge, it was holding his hand while he jumped. I stand corrected.

Sometimes running away is running toward.

Carl was running toward authenticity, wholeness, adventure, integrity, and peace. Amen.

See also a great article on this topic from Jordan, Ever Consider Firing Yourself? 17 Reasons to Leave a Job You Hate 

AND our new Infographic 5 Stages of Manager Soul Loss