Should I quit my job?
You’re not alone.
People often tell me they are unhappy with their jobs. They fantasize about getting out and like most fantasies, it doesn’t happen.
The good news is:
Those who do make the switch don’t regret it.
The bad news is:
This doesn’t make the decision any easier for you.
You have responsibilities and quitting your job in this economy seems a bit reckless. On the flip side, staying at a job you should be leaving is downright foolish.
So how do you know when to say goodbye to your employer?
Look for the five warning signs below. If you see any one of these signs, begin planning your exit strategy. If a few of these hold true for you, start updating your résumé now.
You should quit your job if you’re:
Only in it for the Money
If the only thing that is keeping you at your job is your compensation, then you may want to consider other career options. If you:
- look to do as little as possible during the workday,
- would leave immediately for a higher paid job,
- stay in bed until the absolute last minute before being unacceptably late for work,
then money is probably the main reason you’re staying at your job.
Money is important but use it to enhance your life NOT dictate it.
Looking to Retire
What do you want from your professional career?
If your answer is to retire early, then you should probably look to quit what you’re doing now. You can get an idea about what you should be doing by looking at what you would do if you could retire.
We’re not promised tomorrow so it is always risky to put up with something undesirable (e.g. your current job) for a future reward that may never happen. Why not choose a path that will allow you to enjoy yourself along the way to your desired destination?
Successful people rarely retire even when they are eligible to. Look at Warren Buffett, William Zinsser or Frances Hesselbein. They are well over the retirement age and have the means to retire yet they still get up in the morning and go to “work”.
“You have to love something to do well at it“
– Warren Buffet
Not Learning What Matters
The more value you add, the more desirable you’ll be for employers.
Your value comes from learning skills that people are willing to pay for. If you want to be wildly successful, cultivate skills that combine your natural talents with what people will pay you for. If your current job doesn’t allow you to learn the skills that matter to you, you are wasting your potential.
One common mistake people make is to confuse learning what matters with learning new things. While there are many benefits to learning new things, it is important to make sure you devote a good amount of your time learning marketable skills that play to your strengths. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, test your aptitude to find out.
You spend most of your waking hours working. If you’re not given responsibilities at work where you can build your key skills, you’ll have a hard time becoming valuable. People who don’t add value become obsolete and are eventually let go. Always look for the job that will challenge you (in a good way).
Working for a Horrible Boss
People don’t leave their companies. They leave their managers.
A horrible boss can take many forms:
- Someone who is disrespectful.
- Someone who doesn’t develop you.
- Someone who steals all the credit.
You’re in trouble if you have a bad boss. If there is no sign that your boss will be leaving the company, it’s a good idea to start looking elsewhere for work.
Remember: Your environment exists because you either wanted it, rewarded it or allowed it to happen. You can choose to stay or your can choose to leave. Don’t ever give up that power.
Pretending to be Someone Else
This is a deal breaker for me.
If being yourself is detrimental to your success at work, you’re better off leaving.
It’s too tiring and stressful to be someone you’re not. You won’t do it well and it’s not sustainable. You’ll eventually burn out from selling out.
Please don’t confuse this with professional development or stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m referring to instances where you’re asked to do something that goes against your principles, your morals or any other strong belief. In these instances, consider speaking with Human Resources to transfer right away.
For example: If you’re told to be more “aggressive” to get the job done, you need to decide whether this is a good strategy you weren’t aware of or if it is something that goes against your principles. If it’s a good strategy, understand that it’ll be awkward during the learning stage. If it goes against your beliefs, look to find another approach or another role.
Your standards are for you to set and there is no right or wrong. Don’t ever let your employer decide what you should believe.
If any of these situations reflect your work life, quitting may not be a bad idea. Before you type up your resignation letter, keep these important points in mind:
- Take time to figure out what job best suits you – consider reading What Color is Your Parachute or attend my Know What You Want Workshop.
- Evaluate the job before you accept the job – do informational interviews with current employees and prepare the right questions to get the answers you need. There is no point blindly jumping from one bad situation into another.
- Ease the transition – no need to reach your dream job in one try. Take steps towards it.
- Start saving money NOW – the better your finances, the more freedom you’ll have to transition.
- Be responsible for your future – only you can make it happen.
Have you ever left your job? What made you quit?
For those who see these warning signs in your professional life, what do you plan to do about it?
Share this article with anyone who is unhappy with their job.Photo by fuzzcat
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.