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Questionnaire: Should You Leave Your Job?

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 2 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Career Break Career Break Job Employer

People go on a career break for a variety of reasons. Some people love their job but want time out to improve their qualifications or learn a new skill that will help them perform better at work. Others just need a short-term break, perhaps to travel around the world, visit friends in far-flung destinations, or pursue a long-forgotten hobby.

Yet other people choose career breaks as a testing ground to see if they can find another way of life that can make them happier. Maybe they want to try out a different profession, or perhaps gain a skill that will help them move on to something different.

If you're considering a career break, you may look forward to returning to your old job. Then again, you may not. Take this brief questionnaire to see if you're really ready to leave your job, or whether you'd be better off sticking with the employment you have...

1) Do you look forward to going to work in the mornings?

  • a) No. I have hated my job ever since I began – it was supposed to be short-term employment but I've already been here nine years!
  • b) Perhaps. Sometimes I feel as if I am really learning something and making a positive contribution, at other times my job feels like a joke.
  • c) Yes. When my alarm goes off I usually jump out of bed, looking forward to a productive day doing something worthwhile with colleagues I respect – who respect me as well. It's been a steep learning curve but boy, am I learning!

2) Will going on a career break mean you'll lower your standards when you return?

  • a) Yes. I am gaining qualifications and skills in many areas but have been told there is no room for upward progression, and that I will have sit tight – or leave.
  • b) Perhaps. There has been so much staff turnover that I have no idea who my boss will be when I get back – it might be someone helpful who will recognise the importance of what I've gained on my career break, or it might be someone I've never even heard of!
  • c) No. The office has set out its plan for staff upward mobility, based on how and when we gain skills, qualifications, experience. Based on this, I know I will have a pay rise when I get back from my career break – and be given a lot more responsibility. I will have earned it!

3) Is there growth potential when you return from your career break?

  • a) No. Although I will be learning Spanish in Spain for six months and my company has lots of Spanish-speaking clients, I've been told there is no room for another Spanish-speaker at work.
  • b) Perhaps. I've told my boss the things I hope to accomplish when I'm away, and she may be able to move me into another department when I get back. Then again, maybe not.
  • c) Yes. My employer is very excited about the work I will be doing on my career break, and has already factored my experience in for when I return – I might even get a pay rise!

4) Will you be doing the same thing when you return?

  • a) Yes. I've been told that in today's climate I'm lucky to have a job, and that I should be thankful for any work I get.
  • b) Perhaps. I've been told I have to suck it and see – just sit back and wait.
  • c) No. My boss has already told me that I will be overseeing a different section and has earmarked several new, exciting accounts for me to work on.

5) Are you in your dream job?

  • a) No. I thought I loved this profession, but after three years it's become glaringly obvious that I should be in a completely different line of work.
  • b) Perhaps. Some days are good, others are bad. I think I love it but then my colleagues cut me down and I realise I don't really know what's going on.
  • c) Yes. I wasn't sure this was the job for me, but since I started I have loved every minute of it – and realised that I have the skills and talents needed in this field. My career break is only making me feel more confident and qualified, as I am gaining needed and pertinent skills.

How Did You Do?

Mostly A's
You clearly need to find a new job, as you've been stagnating in this one for years. Hopefully, the career break will open your eyes to what you've been missing!

Mostly B's
It might be a good idea to play things by ear when you get back but keep both those ears open! Both your job and your boss sound wishy-washy, but things could go either way.

Mostly C's
You are appreciated and there is ample space for you to grow and develop at work, both personally and professionally. It sounds like you love your job – and they love you!

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