Are you moping around the office this week, shaking sand out of your purse from Labor Day weekend? After a holiday, a vacation or a long summer of fun and adventure, it’s not unusual to feel a little reluctant to buckle down and kick back into gear at your job.
But what if that feeling doesn’t go away? What if you’ve outgrown the job, or reached a tipping point on workplace stresses, or you simply changed your mind about what you want to do for a living?
What if it’s time to quit your job?
Most people don’t come to this realization overnight, but let it build up until something forces them into action – be it a sudden opportunity or a slow burn out. It’s hard to pin down the pain point of a job you don’t like when you’re rationalizing the paycheck, the time commitment, the passion, the relationships, the investment …
It’s a big decision! If you’re feeling stuck, but not clear on the next steps consider weighing your current work situation against the following variables. If you can relate to any or all of them, it’s time to plot out your exit strategy and move on to your next big thing.
1. YOU HATE GOING
It’s more than just a bad case of the Mondays. If you dread going there every day, check what’s going on with your inner dialogue on your commute to work. Proceed with caution. The competing voices in your head can make a very convincing argument about why the job stinks and how none of it is your fault. If you have attempted changes and you’re still weighed down by a laundry list of general grievances (a toxic boss, an unrealistic commute, etc.) consider if it’s worth 47 hours per week being that unhappy about issues beyond your control.
2. IT’S TAKING IT’S TOLL
Work isn’t everything. A well-balanced life includes equal attention to all areas (at HG, we list 12 in total) from family and community to learning, adventure, and relationship to self. As the CEO of your own personal affairs, it’s your utmost responsibility to be allocate your time and energy across the spectrum in ways that are consistent with your dreams, not just your paycheck. If you are allowing your health, marriage, relationships, personal space or emotional well-being to suffer in the background while you toil away at work, it’s time to quit and do better for yourself.
3. YOU’RE NOT GROWING
Personal growth doesn’t come from places of comfort and ease. It happens when you accept challenges that push you out of your comfort zone. Even if you have a decent job, a great workplace or office friends, if you’re and stagnating, it’s time to move on. You may have outgrown your position and found that there is no opportunity for advancement, or you may just be ready for change. Whatever the reason, don’t let inertia stop you from moving in a forward direction.
4. THE DREAM IS GONE
As noted thinker Simon Sinek teaches, the why is everything. People who feel passionate about the purpose of their work can sustain more productivity and ultimately more fulfilling careers than those who are motivated by money or circumstance alone. Do you not believe in the company? Does your work feel purposeless? Perhaps the initial appeal of the job has worn off and you are no longer connected to the bigger picture; maybe your dream has simply changed. You might be able to rationalize sticking it out at a well paying position but if your heart isn’t in it, the weight of golden handcuffs will soon become a burden.
5. A BETTER DREAM IS CALLING
The biggest reason people stay at jobs they don’t like can be boiled down to fear. What’s your flavor of fear? Fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of trying and failing? This is especially true for those who already know what they wish they were doing but haven’t taken the necessary next steps. Reinvention is scary! Understand that fear is the driving cause of your discontent, at work or anywhere. Understand that fear doesn’t go away until you deal with it. Dealing with it means summoning the courage and integrity to forge a path that is true to you.
Though these scenarios are fairly straightforward indicators that your job isn’t working out, only you can determine whether to hang in there or call it quits. Stay true to yourself and how you want to be at your job, even if you wish you were somewhere else. How you feel about yourself will factor greatly in whatever decision you make, whether you burn out and get fired or leave as the office star.
Need help quitting with integrity? Not sure what your dream job could be? Listen to Lauren Zander’s RadioMD interview where she shares valuable insights on assessing your current job and crafting a career game plan you can play and win.