By Janice Burch, Executive Resume Writer, Career Coach, Co-Owner at Pro Resume Center, LLC

You are an executive at the burnout stage, ready to seek a new challenge or
just get out of a negative situation.

You are not alone in your discontent. According to a survey from Future Forum, a think tank focused on workplace issues, 40% of today's executives say they are burned out –  dissatisfied with their work environment — up from 34% in fall 2021. Why such discontent? In addition to the fluctuating economy and stock market, supply chain issues, and trying to replace employees who quit during the Great Resignation, the rapidly rising costs of doing business and having to fight with employees about the return to office policies – has created a situation where today's corporate leaders are questioning their career choices, the roles they have been in for years, and wondering – what else is out there?

As a career coach, I ask questions about my client's work history and job performance in order to best prepare them for the job search, career transition, promotion, or a tough interview.

One question I ask of those clearly at their breakpoint in a current position?

Based on what you did over the last week at work, WOULD YOU HIRE YOURSELF?

Why is this self reflection important? As you prepare to change jobs, if you are in a slump, you may still have time for emergency triage to preserve reputation and references to come out of this challenge with our integrity and references intact, ready for your next step.

AdobeStock 631120645 300x200Keep Bringing Your “A” Game

This is hard to do when in the workplace slump stage, right? It becomes easy to obsess over all the reasons you dislike your job – maybe it’s a CEO or Board Chairman breathing down your neck, maybe you are frustrated with lack of support on the leadership team, a devious colleague taking credit for your work, unreasonable last-minute client requests, a pending reorganization that you are certain will result in losing your job or being told you have to relocate.

For the sake of that next career move  – it is important to  take a hard look at what we are doing on the job.

Don't read this wrong – especially if you have exhausted all channels to rectify a rotten situation which I assume you have already done. But if possible, you still want to set yourself up as best you can to get a decent reference from the employer, especially if you have spent significant time in this job.

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The pride we take in our work reflects in how we view ourselves and that reflection
shines onto others and impacts how they too, view our value in the workplace. 

Burning bridges by slacking off during a pre-exit slump could come back to bite you in a big way.

At worst – an early termination and at best – an iffy job reference – and employers are checking. Many companies hire third-party agencies that only do candidate background checks. A lukewarm or outright negative response or slip in the tone of voice from a reference – “Oh, yeah, her….Ummm,” can tank your chances for a job in today's competitive job market.

So here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding your current situation as you begin your search for a new position. If you answer “no” to any of these, do some job reference triage now -it will be worth the effort:

  • Are you doing what you can to meet the needs of your organization? Your clients?
  • Are you honestly handling  your responsibilites with the dedication and commitment you did a year ago?
  • Is your group hitting its quotas? If not, are you rethinking strategy, seeking help or just riding it out?
  • As a company leader are you treating your staff and direct reports in the manner in which you would want to be treated?
  • Are you preparing an exit plan, making sure the next person an step in seamlessly to take over – with strong notes from you on what's going on?

The best time to go is when you are at the top of your game.

Even though you know you may be on the way out,  try your best to rack up accomplishments and responsibilities for your CV and play out your last weeks or months on the job as if it were an interview for your next job. Do try to show your value right up until you turn off the light for the last time in your office.

I promise — you'll be glad you did.

Lastly, be sure to consider these points regarding your references:AdobeStock 626330931 300x200

  • Write down your biggest contributions, accomplishments and impacts you made while in the role – and what result it brought to the company, clients, shareholders, owners,  or team.
  • Be sure to check in with the references you plan to use – call and ask. This is especially important with any older references you may have from a few years back. Also make sure you double-check the contact information you have on file – email and phone number, their current title, and company. Let them know what kind of roles you are shooting for and a few tips on some things they could offer up to the reference checker about your time there

To learn what big wins to share and why it is important on your resume, see this article Executive Resumes: Showing Big Wins Helps You Win

If you need help mapping out an exit strategy, discussing new career options or goals, preparing for a job search, or prepping to ace your next interview, visit to set up an appointment and view our packages.

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