I’m all for sticking things out for the big picture payoff. I mean, especially when you consider the hardship that comes from being under- or unemployed. We should all be happy that we even have jobs, right? Eh, for the most part yes.
I believe that every experience, good or bad, adds value to your ultimate goal so we should just learn to trust the process. But I also understand that there comes a time when you must walk away from unnecessary strife. Sort of a “save yourself from the sinking ship, before you go down with it” mindset. So how do you know the difference between quitting while you’re ahead or simply giving up? Read on to discover when it’s time to quit and questions to ask yourself before taking the big plunge!
It’s time to quit when:
- The thought of staying long-term becomes more painful than the thought of showing up for the short-term. Monday’s suck but you can’t even imagine being there for another 6 months because that equals at least 24 more Mondays. Yikes!
- You’ve stopped growing. You’ve been through the fire, learned the lessons, and honestly feel that you have been made better for the experience. Once you’ve been positively transformed by a bad experience, there’s no need to keep reliving that nightmare; just move on.
- The environment is toxic. There’s a huge difference between an undesirable experience (unpleasant; something you don’t particularly enjoy) and a toxic environment (harmful and high-risk). I’m a big advocate for being protective of your environment (and here) but it is possible to be outnumbered by the bad apples. If your light isn’t strong enough to overtake the darkness of others, get out of there before you get sucked in permanently.
- It has become hard to even tolerate (let alone like or accept) your coworkers. Beyond workplace gossip you don’t have much to discuss with them. Your professional goals are not the same as theirs, you don’t look up to them as people you can learn from, and you aren’t proud to counted as one of them. Your colleagues should be mentors or your partners in success; anything less is just too risky.
- Your work or workplace drains you. You leave everyday feeling empty and waking up to return the next day feelings daunting. The lack of energy might also be impacting your performance; you just don’t care enough to give it your best effort. At this point, you staying doesn’t benefit anyone.
I do not encourage leaving your employer high and dry, and especially not before you have another stable job lined up. But I do encourage being mindful that mental effectiveness does depend heavily on your emotional happiness. Quitting your job is a huge step that requires significant thought and planning. Before you make any final decisions, ask yourself these top 10 questions before quitting:
- Why do I really want to quit my current job?
- Is there something I can do to have my work needs met? (take on special projects, restructure my work schedule, participate in more professional development, etc.)
- What is my ultimate professional goal?
- Does my current job, in any way, contribute to my progress toward that ultimate goal?
- What do I like about my current job that I want my next job to include?
- What do I dislike about my current job that I want to avoid from now on?
- What takeaways do I want from my next job? (because even that next job will end at some point and you want to go in with a plan)
- How much money do I have saved and how long can I live off of it in the event that I don’t find a new job right away?
- Who on my PBOD will support me through this difficult transition (because it will be difficult)?
The next step is totally up to you. But whatever you choose to do, always strive to do work that you love with people who you respect to achieve results that you can be proud of. Not everyone’s job impacts their life’s purpose, but if you’re going to spend 40+ hours per week there you deserve to be happy.