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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


It is so easy in life to say ‘I have no regrets.’ In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have any. However, a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps found that 15 per cent of Canadian workers said they do have regrets about leaving their former job. The grass isn’t always greener.

Biggest regrets include departing for the wrong reasons, (28 per cent), leaving friends and colleagues (24 per cent) and not exploring other opportunities within the company (13 per cent). Add to this four in 10 workers would consider rejoining a previous employer, but to really make the leap back it would take better pay (54 per cent), promised opportunity for growth (12 per cent) or a flexible work schedule (nine per cent).

Accountemps suggests the following to ensure you don’t leave prematurely and have regrets:

1. Address dissatisfaction. Try to resolve the issues that are making you consider a move. Request a meeting with your manager to discuss why you're unhappy, and try to come to a resolution.

2. Talk career path. Use the meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth opportunities within the company. If you do not feel challenged, ask for opportunities to work on bigger projects or ways to gain new skills.

3. Take a break. A heavy workload may be causing added stress, as you try to balance demands of the job and personal responsibilities. Use vacation time to relax and recharge. You may come back feeling satisfied and doubts may have disappeared.

4. Do your research. If salary is the primary reason for wanting to leave and your requests for a raise have gone unanswered, investigate what someone in your position with similar experience is making in your market. Resources like the Robert Half Salary Guides can shed light on starting salaries.  

5. Network. Reach out to contacts in your industry to see what the employment market is like for someone with your skills and experience. If demand is low, be cautious about making a move. If demand is high, try to learn which companies are hiring, their corporate culture and other details that could help in your decision.

And if it is time to move on:

6. Exit gracefully. If you decide to accept another job offer, schedule a private, in-person meeting with your boss to discuss your decision to resign. Try to give at least two weeks' notice. Demonstrate respect and professionalism by offering to help with the transition during your final days.

7. Be wary of counteroffers. Now that you've quit, don't look back and renege on your agreement with your new employer by accepting a counteroffer. It not only burns bridges, but it likely won't resolve the original issues you had with your current job.

8. Give helpful feedback. If an exit interview isn't offered, request one. Be honest but tactful in your feedback. Your constructive criticism could help improve the workplace. 

9. Stay in touch. Leaving good friends and mentors is one of the hardest aspects of changing jobs. Exchange personal contact information, add them to your professional

Do-overs are hard in the corporate world, so you want to get it right and have no regrets.