When to quit your job. . . Should you stay? Should you go? Is The Clash playing in your head right now?
Maybe you go back and forth in your mind with the reasons you should stay at your current job, and then the reasons you should go, and you just. can’t. make. up. your. mind.
I’m here to help you weigh your decision, so you can know how to think about when to quit your job – and when you shouldn’t.
How to Know When To Quit Your Job
1.Your Job Is Toxic
If your job feels toxic, it’s probably time to get out. Risking your physical and mental health over a job is probably not worth it. However, on the flip side, if you are unprepared to be unemployed, you will also be taking this risk. You’ll need to evaluate the level of toxicity, your ability to withstand or mitigate it, and your ability to escape the scene quickly.
2. You don’t like what you’re doing.
It’s time to leave if you really don’t like what you’re doing – however, don’t move so fast. There can be a lot to learn in a job situation you don’t love, and if you’re earning a paycheck you can use that stability to search for something you love better. You owe it to yourself and your company to be doing work that you care about and to be working to your highest potential. If you’re not there today, strive to get there. If it takes a while to make it happen, don’t run out the door just because you’re not in love with every moment between 9 & 5.
3. You’re no longer being challenged.
Much like #2, you deserve to be doing work that lights you up. However, it’s a goal to be working toward, and for some people, reaching that goal can take a long time. If you have a job that pays you, don’t quit and be unemployed just because your current job isn’t perfect, and don’t think there’s something wrong with you (or your employer) if your job isn’t perfect either. Strive to get to more perfect work, either at a new employer or with your current one.
4. You’re underpaid and it’s not going to change.
If you’ve asked for a raise (made a good case for one, showing why you’ve earned it), and you’re still underpaid given what you could make in a different company, you should probably jump ship. Don’t be hasty just out of anger though, you’re only hurting yourself. Take the time to land a position, and get the money you deserve!
5. There’s something else you’d love to do.
Maybe you dream of doing other people’s taxes, but right now you’re not doing that. 🙂 Whatever you really want to do, if you are serious about going out there and doing it, do it. However, I always advise my clients to have a plan! No matter what you love, it doesn’t take long to lose those starry eyes when you’re starving.
6. You’re about to be fired.
Without a doubt, you’re going to be fired. Your improvement plan has been working its way in that direction, or the toxicity and persecution just seems too much. . .
It might be a better idea to hand in your letter of resignation. This way, the story you tell to future employers is one that’s in your control, rather than one that you have to make up for.
When NOT to Quit Your Job
Figuring out when to quit your job is also about deciding when NOT to quit your job. Here are some situations you may want to put on the brakes.
1.You’re burned out.
So often, people are burned out of their jobs and they think that’s a reason to quit. They might be right. It could be that the overall pace or structure of the job doesn’t suit them anymore. However, in my experience, what I’ve seen is that people actually need a break. They need a good, long vacation.
I’ve seen people come back from 2-week vacations to jobs that they were sure they were going to quit, only to feel like they had a fresh new perspective.
I’ve also seen people come back to those same jobs after a break to see their belief about quitting re-affirmed, but this time, they have new clarity on how, when and why they’re going to do it. Usually, it doesn’t feel so hasty. It feels more thoughtful and less desperate.
If you’re feeling burned out don’t quit. Give yourself a break if you possibly can, then reassess.
2. You’re angry.
There’s anger you can come back from, and anger you can’t. Decide which your anger is. See the advice from #1 and follow it. Realize that quitting only hurts you, not them.
I’ve seen this play out both ways, and I’ll tell you, it can get very ugly. If you have anger you can’t come back from, don’t let it rule you. You still get to be in charge and make decisions, not your anger.
3. You don’t have a plan.
If you don’t have a plan about what you’d do next (for food, for your mortgage, for your Netflix subscription) think long and hard about quitting, because no matter what else is happening it’s (almost) never worth putting your basic needs at risk to quit your job.
You can get a plan together relatively fast, but it can take a while to land a new position, especially a high-level one. Getting help with your job search and making fast decisions about what’s next for you can help you get out of a bad situation faster.
When to Quit Your Job: Have A Plan
Overall, if you have another job, you can quit your current job any time you want.
Sure, there might be more to learn at your current job, more directions you could go, but as long as you’ve given your employer at least a year, quitting is in your court at that point.
Things get much, much trickier when you have no other job. Then, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons, the risk you’ll be taking, and what each scenario is likely to look like for you.
Good luck with your decision!