McKinsey, in partnership with the Lean In organization, recently released their “Women in the Workplace” report for 2020. Now women have always had a unique journey, to say the least – but 2020 hands down disproportionately affected working women. In fact, McKinsey reports that one in four women are considering downshifting their career, or leaving the workforce altogether; something many would have never even considered the year prior.

You may be that one in four women who are considering leaving the workforce. I faced that same dilemma at the end of 2013; I believed my only option was to quit my job and completely leave my career in order to save myself and my family. But before you seriously consider that, before you initiate any type of action toward leaving your career, I want to offer the three questions you should be asking yourself before you quit your job.

So, number one: have you asked for changes in your workload or additional support? You may be completely overwhelmed and feeling the burnout at your job because you have too much on your plate. You have more priorities and more tasks than you can possibly manage, which is causing you to work extended hours, bleeding over into your personal life. But have you had a conversation and asked your manager for either some changes in the support, additional people, maybe something is pushed off to someone else?

Have you delegated some of your work to somebody else who’s on your team, or possibly a peer? Just because the current workload was assigned to you, it does not necessarily mean that that’s how it has to stay. So have you had a conversation with your manager about reducing or changing your workload, or having additional support with it?

Number two: have you asked for any type of flexibility? Whether that means reducing your hours, potentially working part-time, or working from home. We know that this is an opportune time to have some sort of hybrid situation, or potentially permanently work from home. Or is it possible to maybe take a leave of absence? I know there are some organizations that offer leaves or sabbaticals, have you researched that?

Is that a possibility? And that may be scary; it may be absolutely scary to think about asking for that or researching that. But look, if you’re a highly valued employee in the middle of what is “The Great Resignation,” where people are leaving in droves, you may have some leverage. So if you’re going in and kicking ass every day, you may be able to ask for some of these modifications.

And then finally, number three: before you quit your job, ask yourself, how will this impact your future? Oftentimes we believe that leaving the workforce for a year means you’re just losing one year’s worth of salary – but that is not the case. Research has proven that over and over again, it could be three times your annual salary that you’re losing.

Because now you are reversing your experience, so now you’re losing years in the field, you’re losing contributions that were potentially made by your employer toward your retirement, you yourself aren’t contributing toward your retirement so you’re reducing that compound growth, and you’re possibly missing out on other medical benefits. Have you realistically sat down, crunched some of those numbers, and not just from a financial standpoint, but in regards to your career aspirations, where do you potentially want to go in the future, and how could quitting your job, taking time out right now, impact those aspirations?

Before you quit your job, ask yourself those three questions!