Q: Dear Nikki, I am on a two-week vacation for this purpose: I feel like resigning from my job. But I am learning so much from it. My job requires collecting primary and secondary data. I do the consolidation, analysis and interpretation. I prepare the electronic presentation of results as well. I also perform in-depth review and evaluation of project proposals forwarded or submitted to my boss’ office. I’ve been working for a year and seven months with no salary increases made or even at least promotion I think I deserve. I don’t think he could notice me that I am drowning. Please advise.

– Fivers

A: I hope these last few days have been a good time for you to rest and recharge yourself. Feeling like you’re “drowning” at work is never a good feeling. From your e-mail, it sounds like you’re torn between enjoying your job (“I am learning so much from it”) and burning out (“I feel like resigning really from my job… I am drowning.”). Allow me to ask some questions for your own self-reflection. I hope these questions will help in providing direction, if not answers, to your current situation.

What is most important for you at this point in your life? Is it compensation, promotions, or growth?

You have been with this company for a year and seven months; is this your first job? If it is, growth or learning on the job would be most important. There is still a long way to go and if you’re a good performer, compensation and promotion will naturally always follow. If this is your first job, give yourself time and room for a transition period from the theory-based academe to actual corporate life. You say you are learning “so much” from work; enjoy it! There are jobs out there with very little growth and learning for their employees.

Is compensation most important to you? Salary increases are made after each year, be it calendar or fiscal. In these last few months, many companies were not able to give any salary increases because of difficult times. Most companies base their compensation package/salary increase on the performance of their people. How has your last 19 months been? Did you meet all your goals and targets? If so, is your boss aware that you have? You say your boss does not notice you; have you spoken to him about your situation? Maybe your boss does not notice that you are drowning because he is results-oriented. Some bosses are results-oriented, others are process-oriented.

Results-oriented leaders are primarily concerned about outputs and may overlook their staff’s overwhelming workload and feelings. They may not be openly expressive of their own feelings. However, they allow you enough room to flex your muscles and so you can do your work in your own way and strategy. On the other hand, some bosses are process-oriented. They are always checking on you and asking for status reports and updates on a regular basis. Is your boss results- or process-oriented?

His orientation might affect his decisions for your possible promotion in the future. It could be helpful to speak to him openly and calmly about your situation. Take the initiative and ask for a performance review. Explain that you are “drowning”: give specific examples. Express that you are still learning so much from your job. Be honest but maintain professionalism as well. Ask him for time to have a career planning discussion. Before you think of resignation, think of your options.

Once you resign, what will you do, where will you go, how will you get there? They say the grass is always greener on the other side; are you sure you’re willing to jump to “the other side” now? Are you certain that things are greener or better in another organization? Also consider that there are hundreds of thousands of new graduates searching for a good job. It would be wise to resign only if there is a stable job waiting for you. Otherwise, you might be spending a considerable amount of time looking for a new job instead of building your skills and learning more and continuously (albeit slowly and surely!) working your way to a promotion and a salary increase!

If, after this two-week vacation and some time for self-reflection, you still feel you ought to resign, learn from this experience. What is most important to you and what would most motivate you in another job or in another organization? Are you looking for a job that offers many promotion opportunities, formal recognition, and high levels of interpersonal support? Are you looking for an organization that is lean and mean, values diversity, and promotes personal growth? Match these motivations with what the position and the job offer. The better the match, the greater your motivational fit; the greater the fit, the happier you will be. Good luck and I hope you find yourself on safe shore soon!

Yours truly,

Nikki Dy-Liacco works with SGV-Development Dimensions International (SGV-DDI) a joint venture between SGV and Company, a management consultancy firm and Development Dimensions International (DDI). SGV-DDI specializes in aligning people systems with business strategies to improve business performance