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Time to Move On? 7 Signs it’s Time to Quit … and How to Exit Your Job Gracefully.

Posted February 25, 2021

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

Ever leave the office feeling drained or even angry? Do you come home and dump it all on your family and friends? While no job is perfect (they don’t call it work for nothing!), there are offices that are perfect for us. We all have a bad day or week at work, but some of us have more than others. If you have bad days on a fairly regular basis, it may be time to move on. Sometimes everyone around us sees the writing on the wall, and yet we are the last ones to recognize signs that it’s really time to quit.

If you’re not sure, listen to what your gut is telling you, as well as any thoughts and patterns in your life that might point you to the exit signs.

Here are 7 signs it may be time to quit, move on, and find a better fit.

1. The cons outweigh the pros.

If you find yourself justifying reasons to stay and are regularly defending your job to your family and friends, that should be a red flag. If you’re making statements like, “I make less than other hygienists and I work with “mean girls,” but it’s close to my house so I have a great commute.” Or, “My boss is a bit too flirty, but he pays well and I get to make my own schedule,” you get the idea. 

2. You’re constantly complaining and venting to others.

No one wants to be around someone who is always negative and complaining. We are contagious, and our thoughts become our actions. Surrounding yourself with positive people will attract more positivity to your life – this includes your work environment.

3. The office itself is toxic.

If your co-workers are constantly complaining or bullying someone (or bullying you!), or if your boss is a poor leader (or worse – doing things that don’t jive with your values), it can be toxic for you. Make a plan and find somewhere better to work.

4. Your office culture is a bad fit.

Maybe you’ve tried your best to fit in but you always feel on the outs, like you don’t belong. Or perhaps your work style is not valued by your office. There are other offices that may be a better cultural fit, and better-suited to accommodate your work preferences, schedule, and other professional goals.

5. You don’t feel valued as a team member.

If you feel like you can’t contribute to the overall company and are not heard, eventually that will take its toll. You should feel respected when it comes to operations and your ideas on how the office can be more efficient or patient care can be improved. It doesn’t mean that your ideas will always be implemented, but they should at least be heard.

6. Your job is starting to affect your health.

Are you maxing out your vacation days because you are literally, physically sick or simply need a mental health day? Or maybe you self-medicate by drinking wine every night when you get home from work to de-stress? Are you losing sleep mulling over the stresses of your job? No job is worth your wellness.

All of these are good reasons to move on. But if you’re still not sure, you can take the DentalPost Job Satisfaction survey to help give you clarity. It’s free and can be accessed via your DentalPost profile page.

7. Your don’t feel comfortable with how Covid-19 is being handled.

Is your office cutting corners on PPE or not providing adequate PPE? Are they not adhering to the new OSHA standards to limit infection spread? Maybe they are requiring team members who should be  quarantining to come to work in the office. Whatever the case may be that is making you feel uncomfortable or not safe in your work environment, it is not worth staying. There are plenty of offices out there that are doing their best to prevent infection spread and protecting their team.

If and When You Do Leave, Exit Gracefully.

If after all the soul-searching, you decide it’s time to quit and move on, there are right and wrong ways to make your move. We all know not to “burn bridges” with our employers and colleagues, but beyond that, leaving a job is an opportunity for you to build a reputation as a person of superior integrity and character. In today’s world, where people with these traits seem to be an endangered species, doing this will make you stand out.

Why should you care what your former employer thinks of you, you ask? Because the dental community is smaller than you think. And you never know who your dentist is friends with. Always leave them wanting more. You never know if you will find yourself in the position to be working for them again.

Give More Than 2 Weeks’ Notice.

Two weeks’ notice is standard, but it’s really just doing the bare minimum. Giving your dentist and team a four-week notice gives them more time to rework the schedule, find a temp, and get a start on finding your replacement. If you want to be a real rock-star give six weeks or more. But if you’re truly in a toxic workplace and you haven’t been treated well, then get moving to your next position. Your new employer will be impressed that you are not leaving your former employer in a lurch. It speaks volumes about who you are.

Provide Feedback in a Professional Manner and Don’t Slander.

If you’re leaving a toxic workplace, it’s tempting to get off your chest all the grievances you’ve been carrying, but don’t slander your current employer to your future employer. And be professional if they ask you why you are leaving. Refrain from immature negative talk. If they don’t ask why, ask the dentist/owner/manager if they are interested in doing an exit interview so you can respectfully and professionally tell them about your experience. This will help them learn how they can prevent the next hire from experiencing something similar, especially if it’s something they can control or improve upon.

Life is Short. Work Somewhere Awesome.

Whatever you do, allow yourself the time and space to truly do what is best for you and your employer. In the end, it’s best for everyone – yourself, your employer, your friends, and family – if you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, and if you transition in a graceful way that leaves you and everyone involved with closure.

Updated February 25th, 2021
Originally published January 17th, 2020

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