“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein
At some point in our working lives, we ask ourselves:
How do I know when it’s time to quit my job?
Should I quit my job if it makes me unhappy?
It’s not always black and white.
So knowing when to quit your job is about learning the warning signs and acting on them.
Let’s get started:
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1 | You Dread Going To Work
If going on your lunch break feels like you’ve just been let out of jail, then you’re in need of a change.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly normal to have stress related to the job itself. But you shouldn’t always dread going to work.
So answer these three questions:
1. Do you have the boss from hell?
Your boss’ demeanor doesn’t just affect your time at work; it rolls over into other areas of your life.
I once had a professor say:
Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you know how to manage people.
How many of us can relate to that when it comes to our bosses?
Here’s the thing:
If you’ve tried everything to survive and your work-life still sucks, then it’s time to pay your favorite job board a visit.
2. Is the company culture a good fit for you?
For example, the culture may be disorganized with no clear job duties or responsibilities. You might prefer a more structured culture.
Or your job requires irregular shifts but you prefer a steady schedule.
No matter what your situation is, one thing is true:
You’ll never find yourself reaching your productivity potential. You’ll never be satisfied.
So search for a company that has values and goals that align well with yours. That way, you and your company can grow together.
3. Does the stress make you vent about your job?
Think about your most typical conversations.
Do your conversations fall back to venting about coworkers, your boss, or about the job itself?
This not only affects you, but it affects the people around you who have to hear about your workplace woes.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.”
– Steve Prefontaine
2 | Your Friends and Family Comment on The Fact That You Hate Your Job
Knowing when to quit your job comes down to this:
Take it from the people who know you best.
The people we spend time with are more perceptive to our emotional well-being than we think.
While we may think we just happen to be in a not-so-great mood today because the printer wasn’t working, our friends will pick up on the fact that we’ve been venting about our job every time we see them.
So first things first – don’t get defensive if they bring it up.
Most likely, they’re not complaining about the fact that you’ve been venting. Instead, they’re concerned about you investing all your time into a job you dislike.
So if you’re complaining about your job, make sure you’re actively trying to do something about it.
“If you stay for the wrong reasons, your eventual exit will likely not be on your own terms.”
3 | Wages Stay Stagnant
So it’s time for your performance review and you’re expecting a pay increase this time.
You enter the meeting with your manager prepared with a mental list of reasons of why you deserve a wage bump:
- You’ve taken on extra responsibilities since a coworker left
- You pick up extra shifts
- You consistently get positive feedback from customers and coworkers
With valid reasons like these, you’re confident that you’ve got it in the bag. But as the meeting comes to an end, you’re only left with a pat on the back.
You know it’s possible to get a raise because some of your coworkers have gotten one.
But whether it’s this scenario or something similar, you need to start planning your next step.
Knowing when to quit your job comes down to knowing what direction you want your career to take.
People who are unsure of their next step often get taken advantage of. They need the job more than the job needs them, and they don’t have a clear career plan in place.
At some jobs, you’re asked to work more without getting a raise. Hours increase, but wages stay the same.
When this happens for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks, then it’s no big deal.
But if you’re investing months into longer shifts and see no difference in pay, then it’s a problem.
“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”
Here’s another thing:
Are you having to take work home with you?
If you’re anything like me, you really value your work-life balance.
But if you’re counting down the hours until you can go home – only to be disturbed by work at home – it’s likely that you’re ready to search for something else.
4 | You’re Overqualified And There’s Little Room For Growth
There are times when we take substandard jobs to get by. But, you shouldn’t feel stuck at a job that you’re overqualified for.
Have you’ve looked for opportunities to advance at your company and realized you can’t?
And don’t be afraid to have some faith in yourself when it comes to applying for other jobs.
Harvard Business Review made a surprising discovery about job searches:
So why is it that women only feel comfortable going after an opportunity once they’ve checked every requirement off?
No one is the perfect candidate, so don’t be timid with your job search.
You can learn skills in your new job. You shouldn’t feel pressured to know everything right away.
I’d recommend shooting to meet at least 80% of the qualifications before applying.
Chances are, if you find a job that allows you to learn new skills then you’ll be more fulfilled.
Because knowing when to quit your job comes down to this:
Why would you waste your time at a company that won’t encourage the advancement of your career?
If you aren’t careful, staying at this job can foil your career development in the long-run.
“Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.”
5 | You’re Getting Contacted About Other Opportunities
What’s the most intimidating part of starting a new job search?
It’s not knowing if you’ll find one.
Putting yourself out there can be time-consuming and scary, and it’s all too simple to persuade yourself that you’re stuck where you’re at.
But, invest some time to figure out your current situation.
Are there currently plenty of open jobs in your desired industry and career field? Even better, have you been getting contacted by hiring managers and recruiters?
If you answered yes to those questions, then you owe it to yourself to see what’s out there.
“80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
– Richard Branson
As a starting point, I always recommend creating a LinkedIn page.
Recruiters and headhunters scan this site like crazy, and chances are you’ll be surprised when you realize how many people are looking for your skills and qualifications.
Plus, it never hurts to discuss new opportunities with potential employers.
Once you realize there’s more out there to offer you, it’ll make your decision to leave a little bit easier.
Besides, even if you don’t dislike your job, it never hurts to look for better opportunities.
As a former manager, I learned that the best employees leave first. Why?
They find better opportunities and they go after them. They don’t leave things up to chance.
Let us know in the comments what you think:
When is it time to leave your job?