A question I get asked a lot is this: How do I know if I should quit my job?
Here’s my answer:
I do not EVER tell my clients things like:
“Leap and the net will appear.”
“Just follow your passion and things will fall into place.”
“Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
“Do what you love and the money will follow.”
“Always go with your heart.”
I can’t guarantee that any of that stuff works or is true. As far as career advice goes, if you are getting any of the 5 pieces of advice above from anybody, you might want to run.
That being said, sometimes we play things too safe. We stick it out at a job that is sucking our soul or worse, where we are suffering physically or psychologically. Sometimes the job isn’t great but there’s really nothing compelling us to move towards something that might be better. Situations can be all over the place. Situations can be hard. They can make us want to walk out or not show up or show up but not engage. They can make us grit our teeth to get through the day and then immediately want to crawl into bed when we get home.
How do you know if you should quit your job?
Try asking yourself these 5 questions:
Why do you want to quit?
What’s making you feel this way? Do you hate everything you are doing? Just some things? Do you dislike your boss or someone you work with? Do you not like the hours? The location? Try to pin down the root cause of your unhappiness. Sometimes just listing out what stinks about your situation can help you strategize solutions or an action plan to help make things better. Over the course of a week or two, take notes on what your beefs are. While you are doing that, you might as well jot down anything you come across that you like about your gig too.
Next, ask yourself this: How long have I been unhappy?
Are we talking months, years, days, minutes? No matter how much your job might fit, there will always be the odd bad day, or week or maybe season. We all feel tired of certain aspects sometimes or have parts of our work that are not our favourite thing. That’s normal. Don’t let strong short-term emotions dictate your next move. If you are unsure, sit tight to avoid making any decisions you might regret. Also, if you are new to the role or have had recent big life changes (new baby, relocation, divorce etc.), perhaps give yourself some time to adjust and adapt before adding any more life upheavals into the mix.
Now ask: Is your work unhappiness seeping into your life outside of work?
If it seems as if you are bringing work baggage home with you every night and your personal life is being impacted, you need to take a close look at this. Don’t sacrifice your well-being, family and relationships for your job long-term. Of course, you might have busy periods or seasons where things get a bit off balance. That is different from letting work problems take over your life. If they are, do things to try to fix this before throwing in the towel. Most things can be fixed if you approach them with a realistic and solution-focused perspective. It’s one thing to be unhappy at work, but if your job is sinking your marriage or other relationships, or your mental and physical health is suffering, start pounding the pavement.
Finally ask: What do I want next?
Go back and review the information you gathered up about what you like and dislike about your current job. You should have some good intelligence on what you want and don’t want in your next position. Start researching and networking where you think you might like to go next. Don’t overlook opportunities within your current company.
You’ve asked yourself the right questions and thought things through. If your answers to these questions point you in the direction of finding something new, line something up first and then give your boss the old “heave ho”. Of course, as nice as it would be to actually do that, don’t burn any bridges. Always leave on good terms. You just never know what the future holds!
Ready to make a move and want some support to make it easier and more successful? I can help!