'This is the list I followed that helped me decide whether to quit my job.'

It can sometimes feel impossible to know decide whether to stay in a job or leave.

For Alisha Burns, the decision was made for her when she had a baby by herself, with the help of a donor sperm.

"I had changed so much in the year I took off after having my daughter," she tells Mamamia. "When I returned to work, it was made even clearer that she was my priority and I wanted her to only see me in a job that gave me joy. I didn't want to be stressed and miserable in front of her."

Watch: How to tell if your boss is a psychopath, with David Gillespie. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

With a career in banking, Alisha says she pivoted into an industry centred around other women who, like her, had children solo and with the help of a donor sperm.

But making a change like that isn't necessarily an easy decision, or a quick one. So Alisha created a list of questions she asked herself to help her manage her expectations and determine whether walking away from her high-powered career was the right choice.


1. 'Does the job fulfil me?'

At 43, Alisha quit her job in banking. She'd spent almost seven years launching and maintaining a project that she was passionate about.

However, when she came back from maternity leave, having been off from April 2020 to May 2021, she was forced to ask herself a simple question: "Is this what I want?"

"Initially, I was passionate about proving myself. I wanted a promotion for the extra income and the satisfaction in knowing I could do it," she explained. "But the job I had once loved and found fulfilment in changed. I no longer felt like I fit in with the culture of the company and I didn't have any confidence in myself or joy out of doing the job."

Eventually, Alisha realised the sense of fulfilment had left, too.

"I realised my daughter was my priority and because I'd had her by myself — without a partner — my passion had shifted to finding other women like me and offering them support," she said.

2. 'Do I feel valued? Do I feel safe?'

It's the hardest question to ask yourself, Alisha confessed, but there comes a time when the purpose and value of a job become the most important factors at play.

Research suggests that while 82 per cent of employees want to be seen as a person by the organisation they work for, only 45 per cent of those employees actually believe that they are seen as such.

Alisa was among the many who didn't feel valued or respected in her workplace.


"The management changed while I was on leave. They didn't align with my personal values anymore and the work environment became incredibly toxic," she said. 

"I started comfort eating to cope. It felt like the only thing I ever spoke about was work. I would avoid going into the office just so I didn't have to see my boss, and when I did, I'd have panic attacks. I couldn't sleep. I was negative. I second-guessed myself.

"The person I became went entirely against my natural self. These were flashing, blaring signs that I needed to leave."

3. 'Am I growing in this job?'

Before maternity leave, Alisha loved her job. She saw her workplace as one that fostered growth and provided endless opportunities. However, when she returned, with the change in management had come a change in the ability for growth.

"I was proud of what I had created and achieved, and had great working relationships with my wider team," she explains. "A lot changed while I was on maternity leave. I no longer felt like I had any opportunity to grow or learn."

Alisha said having her baby also helped her realise it was no longer a culture she wanted to be part of.

"The company changed a lot, but also becoming a mum the way I did (via donor conception) sparked a drive and passion in me I never had before," she said. "I fought so hard to have my daughter, I didn't want her to be exposed to a miserable mum and that was what I was becoming because of the toxic culture and management styles."


4. 'Is now the right time?'

You might have accepted it's time to jump ship and move companies, but are you set up to do so? For Alisha, it took two years before she was ready to leave and pursue her own passion.

"My primary concern was financial. I am a solo mum so my daughter and I only have one income. I based my resignation on when I knew I would have enough saved to support me to take time off and focus on growing my business," she said. "I hope to make that a success so I never have to go back to corporate.

"If I was leaving for another job, I would have left earlier to support my mental health as I was struggling. Once I decided and had the date in my head, it made it easier to get through the day and the terrible interactions knowing there was an end in sight."

5. 'Is there something better for me?'

Three months on from leaving her job, Alisha is an author, podcast host and the founder of Solo Mum Society, an organisation that provides resources and community for women who are solo mothers by choice via donor conception.

"I have never been happier," Alisha explained. "If I had not left, I would be miserable. If I had not left, I would not have the life I have now."

Feature Image: Instagram @solomumsociety

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