- A common mistake people make is thinking that just moving to a new business will make them happy.
- “Most businesses are set up exactly like your existing business,” Marcus Buckingham told Insider.
- Instead, you should find the parts of your job that you enjoy the most and base your move around them, he said.
Why do you really hate your job? And more importantly, are there parts of it that you love?
According to consultant, researcher and author Marcus Buckingham, these are important questions to consider when thinking about quitting. He explained to Insiders how a failure to do this often results in people making a common mistake when they quit their jobs.
“If you leave your company because you think the new company will do things differently. That’s the mistake,” Buckingham told Insider. “Most businesses are set up exactly like your existing business.”
Although there’s often a honeymoon period when a person is more engaged and productive after moving to a new company, simply doing the same thing in the same industry can quickly feel like your old job, Buckingham argues.
If you want to make the right move instead, “look for yourself,” not the company, Buckingham said. You need to know what specific parts of the job you enjoy doing and enjoy the most (and which ones you don’t).
Find what you love as you strive for a happy career
Academics have long studied the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. There is evidence that employees work harder, are more productive and are less likely to quit when they are happy.
Other researchers have highlighted that happiness itself is difficult to measure and can have some potentially negative consequences. For example, an obsession with striving for happiness can make people feel worse if they believe they haven’t achieved it.
Buckingham is Head of People + Performance Research at the ADP Research Institute, which monitors employment trends. In his latest book, Love+Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life, he argues that people can make their jobs happier by sticking to what he calls theirs “red threads”. These are the small parts of your job that you enjoy doing or are naturally attracted to.
Say you wake up every morning and can’t wait to answer the phone to connect with your customers, or find that time flies when you’re researching emerging markets before a product launch. Everyone’s common threads are unique, Buckingham said.
“If you haven’t bothered to figure out what your common threads are or what you haven’t really looked at, what you love about what you do and the ins and outs of it, [before you move] then you won’t find that in any new job,” Buckingham said.
Rather than quitting, finding a way to spend more time working with those common threads might make you happier. Paying more attention to them might make you reconsider what kind of job you’re in overall, according to Buckingham.
When is the best time to stop?
It may turn out that after finding those common threads, there is little about your role that gives you energy. If that’s the case, it might be best to move, Buckingham said.
At least you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for – and what’s not.
Buckingham said there’s another “smart move” people tend to take when they quit that doesn’t depend on what you love.
“People leave their manager, not their company,” Buckingham said. It’s an important part of your job,” he said.