If you’re wondering whether you should leave your job, then keep reading. This article will cover everything you need to know.
We’re going to cover:
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I leave my job?”, then these are the most important factors.
While this is the same criteria the vet recommended when deciding to euthanize my childhood dog, it’s a good gauge and can be used as an indicator of when to move on to a new place. Believe me, we all have bad days. But once you have more bad days than good days, you need to start looking.
A (vast) majority of your time at work should be enjoyable or at the very least tolerable. So which surprises you?… a bad day or a good one? Everyone has a few bad days at work but if that’s what you’ve come to expect, and you’re surprised by a good one, you should leave your job.
I’ve been asked a few times, “Should you leave a job if you are unhappy?” and my answer is always “Yes!”
You should “Work to live, not live to work.” While you should invest in your work and enjoy your career (I hope that you truly do; I love mine), your job should not consume your life. Instead, your job should only take up about a quarter of your time.
Since there are 168 hours in the week, if you are using more than a quarter of them (about 40 hours) to work, you are not spending enough time enjoying life. If you plan your day right, 40 hours should be enough time to get your job done.
You should be able to leave work at work, allowing you to turn off your phone, log out of email and be present when home. Unless you’re an ER surgeon (or some other on-call professional that truly requires you to be available after hours), you shouldn’t regularly be getting called/emailed/texted outside of your regular work hours unless it’s an absolute emergency.
And while there may be the occasional work emergency that intrudes into your personal life, these emergencies should be far and few between. If you are constantly getting contacted by work after hours, or are bringing work home regularly, you need to learn how to set better boundaries.
And if it’s not possible to do that with your current employer, you should leave that job. Some employers have unrealistic expectations or ridiculous policies that kill your health – both mentally and physically. It’s not worth it and it’s definitely a good reason to leave your job and find a better one.
I had a job that kept me awake for hours at night. I was miserable not only because of the job itself, but also due to the lack of sleep. And this started the second week of working at this place (big red flag!).
Thankfully, I was able to get out of there in less than two months and now have a job I absolutely love. But if your job keeps you up at night (unless you work a night shift of course), it’s a sign that you need to start searching for a new job that won’t interfere with your ability to sleep and rest.
We all have days where we just don’t want to go into work. Some days we just want to quit and never come back. This can happen from job-related stress, but also if the work you are doing isn’t interesting or fulfilling.
We may even type up a draft resignation letter (I did this for the job that kept me awake at night; it was therapeutic).
But if you regularly think about ditching your current gig and it’s been going on for months, that’s a clear sign you need to create an exit plan and start taking action instead of fantasizing about quitting your job. Trust your gut, update your LinkedIn and go for it!
Make it your aim to find a job where you will feel more relaxed, enjoy the work, and be able to utilize your strengths. You’ll feel happier (and healthier) in the long-term if you do this.
Be real with yourself. Are you experiencing any of these? If so, you need to start searching for a new job.
Above, we covered some of the personal reasons for leaving a job, like unhappiness, stress, etc.
However, there are also many reasons to quit your job that are based solely on your career goals or work.
So we’ll look at those next
Even if things are going great in your current job, you may want to leave if you’re unexpectedly offered your dream position.
This may happen if a recruiter contacts you, if an employer that you spoke with previously is slow in getting back to you, etc.
This happened to me once, right after I graduated from university. I applied to a job related to my field of study (Finance) and didn’t hear back. I ended up taking a job doing customer support for an e-commerce start-up, and then two weeks into training, I heard back from the finance company!
I spoke to my manager and told him that I wanted to give two weeks notice, and he understood.
It wasn’t ideal for the company, but I explained that this new job I was offered was my dream role, and fit more closely with what I had studied in school. He understood.
One career mistake I see a lot: Staying far too long in a job due to comfort, when you’re not building new skills or learning anything new.
If you care about career growth and earning as much money as possible, this is a mistake. So while a company may feel like home, at some point, it’s a good idea to quit the job if you find an opportunity where you can learn more and grow professionally.
Change comes with risk, but it usually pays off well. Just make sure that you have a good feeling about the next company you’re joining before you quit your job! Don’t rush the decision.
This is another good reason to quit your job: If you simply don’t enjoy the work environment, you may be happier elsewhere.
For example, maybe it’s a very casual environment and you’d like to be in a more formal setting. Or maybe it’s a very large corporation and you’ve always wanted to work in a small, casual start-up.
These are good, solid reasons to quit your job.
And in fact, experiencing a variety of work environments is a good way to build more experience and prepare yourself to perform better in leadership roles (if that interests you!)
From my experience as a recruiter, most Executives and CEOs had a variety of experience in large and small companies. They didn’t just stick to one type of work setting for their whole career.
Doesn’t matter if you love the people, the company, etc. If the job isn’t what you want to be doing, then you’re wasting time by staying. Of course, you could also ask the company if they’d consider letting you change roles. For example, if you love a company but aren’t passionate about your HR role anymore, you could ask to transfer to marketing or another area that you think will interest you more.
Of course, there’s no guarantee they say “yes,” but it’s an option you can explore with them.
Note that they’re a lot more likely to help you with this if you’ve been in your current role for at least a year. Make sure you’re not asking for this if you’ve been in a role for a few weeks or months.
There’s a saying that people don’t quit companies, they quit bad bosses. It’s true, in my experience.
One reason I quit my job in the past was a boss who I didn’t feel supported me. So this is a very valid reason to resign!
A boss should support you, be open to teaching you (it’s literally a part of their job!) and trust you without micromanaging you!
If you don’t feel trusted, supported and encouraged by your boss, then it may be a sign that you should leave your job.
We’ve now looked at 9 tips to help you answer the question of whether you should leave your job. Only you can make the final decision, though. Use the tips above as a guideline for when you should consider leaving your job, but talk to friends and family, too!
And take your time deciding. If you’re currently employed, you’re in the great position of being able to job search while also earning an income! This means you can be a bit pickier about the job you take.
About this guest author:
Kyle Elliott is a well-caffeinated career coach and freelance marketer, writer & editor who has helped more than 300 clients to date. He has a knack for branding and marketing, love for resumes and LinkedIn, and healthy obsession for details and coffee. Email Kyle at Kyle.Cromer.E@gmail.com and mention this article for $15 off your first hour of Interview Prep or Career Coaching. Or learn more about Kyle’s consulting work (and his Starbucks addiction) at CaffeinatedKyle.com.