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2nd Nov, 2022

Victoria Sartain
Victoria Sartain
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

Counter to anticipated optimism, the post-pandemic reality is yet a new crisis: the cost of living. It has, for some, meant casting dreams aside to put food on the table, with the added pressure on employees to earn more just to maintain the same standard of living.  

Changing jobs may seem riskier at this time, but it's important to remember the serious impact work misery can have on your health and wellbeing. In April 2022, the Stress Management Society reported that employee burnout had increased by more than 5% in the previous 12 months in their Global Burnout Study of 3,000 participants in 30 countries.  

If salary, status, or job satisfaction are no longer the driving force behind your career, or your role is becoming untenable for any reason, it’s important to voice your concerns with your line manager as early as possible, to see how your work might potentially be altered to ease the strain. Equally, if you wish to stay with the business and sidestep into a different position, climb down a rung or two or leave for pastures new, there are ways to smooth the transition. 

Admitting the truth

The prospect of a higher salary and impressive LinkedIn profile may have appealed initially but now your job is making you miserable. You might be feeling a range of emotions in admitting you want to quit or turn down a promotion: guilt, shame, anxiety, exhaustion, sadness to name a few. Recognise that although this particular role hasn't worked out there are many other channels to explore – timing is everything and it may be that in a couple of years the current level of responsibility would better suit you.  

Identify what you don't want

Take some time to define what would make you happier, more productive, and where your strengths lie – and think of the changes you're making as a step forward, not back. Identify the aspects of your current job that you least like and have a frank conversation with your boss about your concerns and options.

If you're in a management position and find administrative duties taxing, there may be a practical solution but if you don't enjoy the emotional ups and downs of managing people day-to-day, this could be trickier to resolve – people skills are vital in senior roles and you’ll be expected to fulfil certain tasks for your team in any management role.  

Look internally 

If you don't wish to leave the business, first see what job opportunities are available internally. If you have transferable skills, you may be suited to work in another department. If you found managing people difficult, perhaps there's scope to be more of a mentor to others, overseeing their work or taking an unofficial leadership position without the challenges of a traditional management role. Ask HR to keep you posted of changes in the business that may lead to a job opening.  

Consider the impact of your departure on your colleagues. If you're a manager, this may involve some succession planning

Money matters

Seriously consider how a lower salary will impact your lifestyle – from both a practical and emotional perspective. This year's so-called Great Unretirement has seen many people return to the workplace just to make ends meet. In these times of escalating prices, your new budget will likely not stretch as far in coming months. 

Following orders

If you’ve decided on a role with less responsibility, be prepared to take instruction from senior leaders. If you've been used to being the boss, this might take some time to get used to, especially if you have particular ideas about completing a project. That said, there's certainly no harm in suggesting to your new manager alternative ways to go about a task if you know they work from past experience.  


If you want a less pressured role, there's no shame in heading back down the ranks to a job you once enjoyed – though be prepared to do the job differently. Even a couple of years can make a big difference to a role you remember with rose-tinted specs. It may now mean learning new ways of working, have different types of pressures or limited workplace flexibility.  

If you're moving to a completely new industry, be aware that as well as the training involved, it may be that you are working with people much younger than you who are on their way up the ladder and looking to one day be your boss. 

Dust off your CV

Now's the time to start networking. Reach out to your LinkedIn contacts for help and advice, and overhaul your CV. If you haven't been long in your current role, be sure to flag up your achievements and clearly outline your strengths and vision for your career. Download our free guide to securing the perfect role.

Be prepared for competition from ambitious candidates with less experience. You might think being overqualified is a good thing, but your CV may raise red flags with employers who don't see your change of direction as a positive. At interview stage, be ready to answer questions about this.  

In conclusion

Sometimes, just planning your exit may be a helpful start. Visualise your ideal situation, make notes, research your options and be honest with yourself and your employers about what you need. Don't leave it until you're at breaking point to have what may seem a difficult conversation. The sooner you own up to issues, the quicker a resolution can be found.  

If you’re looking for your next opportunity, find your nearest Reed office and speak to one of our specialist recruiters.