Itching to Jump Ship? First, Remain Calm


The Script

Office morale is not great right now. People are overworked, held back, and afraid the next axe is going to fall on them. So a lot of folks are thinking about making a move – if not now, then as soon as they sense a real shift in the economy.

If you’re one of them, you don’t want to get fired because of a bad attitude or slipping performance, especially if you haven’t lined up a new job.

You’ve got to put up with the demands of your boss and the idiosyncrasies of your co-workers until you know exactly what your next move is. So, how do you keep your cool?

Once you’ve made the decision to leave, let go of your negative thoughts. Remember it’s only a matter of time before you’re working somewhere else. Imagine your future career, but be sure not to disengage completely: Keep your performance high and don’t expose your exit strategy.

Okay, this one’s a cliché, but it really works. When you feel frustrated, take a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee with the funniest guy in the office, or take a mental health day.

Don’t respond immediately to increased work demands from your boss. If he makes new demands, take some time, think of ways to meet them that won’t increase your workload, then get his buy in.

Next, focus on your job. If someone’s annoying you, work in an unoccupied conference room or ask if you can telecommute a few days each week. If people wonder why you seem so distant, just tell them you have to focus in order to get everything done.

Balance always tops the list of remedies for facing down workplace stress. Now, you can actually practice the concept. Go home as close to 5 as you can and do things you like to do so you can take your mind off the office.

Remember: Sooner or later, you’ll be working hard at your new job – and probably won’t be able to leave early.

I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

15 Responses to “Itching to Jump Ship? First, Remain Calm”

  1. Absolutely do not advertize your exit strategy!

    Especially in a small industry because it will get around.

    And if you are feeling stress, so are the rest of your co-workers. So give them a break, treat them with courtesy and respect; don’t snap back if they are grumpy.

    This actually works as a great search strategy as friendly co-workers are more likely to tell you of interesting opportunities in your industry.

    And remember, no one is shooting at you or trying to blow you up, so it isn’t as bad as it could be!

  2. Professor jwn


    Once again, like our friends in the UK say “You are Spot on”!

    I resemble your remarks and it is good to know that:

    1.) I am not alone as others share this predicament

    2.) My “coping strategies” are valid

    3.) Balance of work/play really helps to reduce frustration. Good to remember when things improve as well.

    What is your spin on “Covert Exit Strategy”



    BTW – whazzup with this Zombie thing from everybody lately?? It creeps me out.

  3. One more comment in response to Aaron’s comment about bad managers: bad managers never respond well to anything except rumpswabbery. Even then the rumpswab is expendable. Believe me, if the manager is that bad the entire office will be unhappy but the bad manager will never even imagine he/she is the cause. Generally speaking, if only one person believes the boss is great then either the entire office is nuts, or there is a rumpswab.

  4. lovelyRita

    Wonderful video. The job sucks but what is irksome is the bosses know we can’t move. People are actually yelling at each other . I have never been in such a work condition, but I need to get something going first.
    Till my acceptance letter comes… meditation and workouts.

  5. Jump ship because you are stressed and annoyed and maybe overworked? Would you rather be more stressed to find out the job market is the worst in 30 years? Hang on to your job, don’t take riciculous advice from “experts” who do not have to live through the situations they preach advice to others about.

    Stressed at work? Take a walk and and remind yourself you are not (at least yet) part of the millions of unemployed professionals who wish they had a job to be stressed about!

  6. In some offices morale is always low, and that’s a direct reflection on management and leadership, or rather a lack of either. Morale does not sink because of a bad economy or lots of work. It sinks because leadership wants to treat people like a liability rather than an assett. Lots of luck getting a “buy in” from a boss who is the direct cause of low morale.

  7. Mike and Jo are right of course, but that’s not the point of Cat’s message. If you are unhappy with your job, it’s better not to show frustration. Bad managers NEVER respond positively to openly unhappy workers. Take a deep breath and plan your strategy for the future without showing your cards.

  8. Filomena Mendonsa

    Life is Good – whatever the prespective is at work that is just a perspective. Change the perspective and everything changes. Remember only you can change yourself not anyone else. There are jobs out there the only thing is that there is alot more competition.

    Take it easy everyone let’s not all get into fear LIFE IS GOOD. You have your health and all the jobs or money in world can’t buy you that.

  9. What ever you do, do not show your hand. Work like your mortgage is on the line, until after you get your offer letter. Even then exit gracefully and do not make time to burn any bridges. After a day, a month or a year, you could realize that as bad as it was there, its worse where you are and you will need the contacts and the references.

    Good luck

  10. All advice is relevant and free. Just because you work hard and bend over backwards just to kiss the bosse’s posterior, doesn’t mean you won’t get the axed (fired). Do all you can to keep your job but not at the expense of your health. Getting a heart attack or a mental breakdown, if you don’t recover fast enough, you still will be out of a job. Don’t think they can’t do without you. There is always someone waiting to take your place. Nothing is promised to you, so be prepared for whatever happens. All else be happy and positive, losing that nerve racking job and screwed up boss might be the best thing that ever happen to you. Yes, it is tough to find a job, but you can always start over in life, being healthy and in your right mind. Those that look to a “high power” other than themselves, will always overcome life’s challenges.