work-life balanceChange is hard. It’s even harder to determine the right time to jump to ensure a proper work-life balance. Research shows that women are less likely to be promoted and more likely to feel burnout and leave jobs due to toxic cultures. So, if you feel stagnant, held back, or stuck in a negative workplace, you need a sound strategy. Knowing when to compromise, when to quit, and when to “coast” until conditions are favorable will be important in navigating your career path properly.

Compromise, Quit, or Coast:

When to Compromise

Setting and communicating clear boundaries, exploring flexible work arrangements, and being willing to compromise can resolve many workplace issues.

  • Manage Work-Life Integration: Establish and communicate clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout and maintain well-being. Not taking work calls after hours, for instance, is a healthy boundary. Communicate your needs with your employer and coworkers.
  • Seek Flexible Work Arrangements: Show you can be more productive in an alternative arrangement by proposing options to your employer like remote work, flexible hours, or job sharing. At least 40% of women feel they are more productive working remotely, and, according to FlexJobs and Forbes, 80% of people say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.

When to Quit

If you are on the fence but seeing red flags and not sure how to plan for the future, pay attention, take notes, and prepare.

  • Identify Red Flags: Pay attention to signs of burnout, lack of growth opportunities, or a toxic work environment. According to a Gallup survey, 30% of women report feeling burned out often or always, compared to 27% of men.
  • Navigating Gender Bias: Research by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey reveals that women are less likely than men to be promoted, with only one in five C-suite executives being female. Sexism is inherent in many workplaces. Stay vigilant against gender bias and advocate for yourself in the workplace.
  • Take Notes: If you are potentially dealing with serious or legal issues in the workplace, take detailed notes including dates, times and witnesses, and consult with HR or an attorney.

When to Coast

Maybe you’ve noticed a temperature shift in the work culture, or maybe you’ve made up your mind, but it isn’t urgent. No need for “quiet quitting”. If you have time to prepare, you can be ready for a better opportunity when it presents itself.

  • Trust Your Instincts: If you constantly dread work or feel undervalued, it may be time to consider a change. Research indicates that women are leaving their jobs for higher pay (52%), less stress (51%) and better work-life balance (48%).
  • Prioritize “Yourself”: Maintain boundaries, work-life balance, and self-care activities. Pay attention to red flags and journal to keep track of perspective on concerning issues. Use this time to prepare in case you need to move quickly.

Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

You know what they say, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” If all you are doing every day is getting up and going to work without a North Star that guides your day-to-day decisions, then you will find yourself drifting wherever the wind blows you. It is all about the action! Take the proper steps to ensure there are guardrails that keep you on the path to what you deem to be success while achieving that work-life balance you seek:

  • Asses Your Skills: Evaluate your strengths, and areas for development. Seek feedback from mentors or colleagues and consider any training or education that may enhance your resume.
  • Define Your Career Goals: Set clear objectives for your career trajectory, considering both short-term and long-term aspirations and work-life balance priorities. Build skills and interests that align with potential networking opportunities to ensure an intentional transition.
  • Curate Your Resume and Online Presence: Update your social media and/or website so that it is relevant to your desired role. Consider utilizing professional resume services to enhance your job application materials and maximize your chances of success (c’mon, you had to know that was coming, right?).
  • Leverage Your Support Network: Surround yourself with mentors, sponsors, and peers who can offer guidance and support as well as job leads or referrals. Seek out female-led networking groups and communities for community support. According to Zippia, 85% of jobs are filled through networking.

By recognizing the signs for change, building healthy boundaries, and assessing your skills and goals, you can make informed decisions, at the right time, and thrive by achieving a healthy work-life balance that maintains your sanity and allows you to enjoy life.