How to know it's time to leave your job
Updated: May 17, 2022
Moving on is hard, but being miserable is worse
It’s not easy leaving a job. Taking that leap of faith when the next step is new or unknown is really hard. BUT…that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you're on the fence, I hope this blog post will give you a little more clarity about what's the right decision for you.
1. Your job is negatively affecting your physical health or emotional well-being.
A little adversity or stress in your work can be healthy and motivating, but there’s a tipping point when it starts to really bring you down. You get sick a lot, you feel unsafe or disrespected at work, your stress feels unmanageable, etc...Even if the unhealthy nature of your work or work environment is widely accepted by others, that doesn’t mean it has to be okay with you.
2. You’re not learning anything new.
You’re bored, and there are no opportunities for growth. If learning new things is important to you (and it is for most people), then being bored is not sustainable. No matter how much online shopping and personal chores you get done on the job, you will still feel restless and dissatisfied.
3. There’s a mismatch between your values and the work you’re expected to do.
When you can't live out your values through your work or you are required to do something that is in direct conflict with what you believe, things will feel misaligned. Either something feels slightly off (it's uncomfortable or feels yucky) or there's a giant red flag warning you that you're doing something that will make you feel awful.
4. You complain about your work to anyone who will listen.
Your friends and family hear a lot about your terrible job. It's ok and important to find an outlet for venting, we all need this. However, it shouldn't always be the go-to topic of conversation.
5. For 9-5ers, Sunday nights are the worst part of your week.
The wave of dread starts to roll in Sundays at around 5 p.m. as you think about going back to work the next day. You don't necessarily have to be thrilled to go back to work after the weekend, but dread is a whole other level of anticipation. It's that pit in your stomach, the negative swirling thoughts, the clouds descending over your evening.
6. The only thing your job has going for it is income, stability, and routine.
All of this matters! But other jobs offer this too. You get attached to one way of doing things, even if it's not making you feel good anymore. You get used to how you feel, and it becomes safe and familiar. Leaving a job is scary, ABSOLUTELY. But it's also exciting. Fear and excitement are two sides of the same coin.
Yes, these signs are familiar, should I quit my job?!
I’m not here to tell you when to quit your job. Only you know that. There may be circumstances when it makes sense to stay despite seeing the signs.
Ask yourself this: Why am I staying in this job?
Be honest with your answer.
Then ask: Does it feel ok to me that this is the reason I'm still here?
If the answer is "yes," then perhaps you sit tight.
If the answer is "no," then maybe you need a nudge, or even "permission" to leave your job. I'm giving it to you here!
It's okay to leave a job when one or many of the signs above are present. Your job doesn’t have to feel terrible to leave.
In fact, it is not good to wait until you’re miserable to take action. The action you take when you’re burnt out or completely dissatisfied is not going to be pretty and might result in burned bridges with your supervisors and colleagues, poor performance, poor health, severe burnout that takes time to recover from, etc…
If you know it’s time to leave your job, but you’re afraid or worried or confused or lost or all of the above, I can help. In the meantime, take a few baby steps to move you toward your goal of finding new work. Talk to someone doing work that interests you. Experiment with something new and exciting at work or in other areas of your life to get motivated again. Take a day off to rest and reflect on what you want for the next chapter of your career.
I'd love to hear what you think! How have you decided it was time to leave a job in the past? What was the last straw or the moment the scales tipped the other way? Share with me and others in the comments below or send me an email at email@example.com.