If you’re reading this, you’re probably already seriously considering quitting your job. It normally takes a while of being unhappy in a job for people to get to the Googling stage.
The reality is that, much as our jobs don’t and shouldn’t define us, we do spend the vast majority of our waking hours doing them.
What we choose to do to earn the money we need to survive has a huge impact on where we spend our days, who we spend them with, and what kind of mindset we spend them in. It can have drastic effects on our physical and mental health.
If you’re considering quitting your job, then you need to give it a lot of thought. This isn’t a decision that should be made the way they do it in the movies, when someone snaps, yells “I quit,” and storms out of the office.
Much as, sometimes, we all fantasize about publicly shoving our jobs in our boss’s face and sauntering out of the office confidently whilst people look on admiringly, in real life things don’t quite work like that. Sad, I know.
It’s something you need to do calmly and for all the right reasons, following the right procedures. Although that might not be what you want to hear, it’s the reality of this ‘adulting’ lark we’re all trying to pretend we’ve got under control.
On the other hand, I’m not encouraging anyone to stay anywhere they’re truly unhappy. Whilst being practical is key, if a job is affecting your physical and/or mental health, you should be leaving it sooner rather than later. Nothing’s worth that.
To help you figure out what the next step should be for you, here are a few of the questions you should be asking yourself before you make the leap.
1. What is it exactly that makes me hate this job?
Before you do anything drastic, you need to have the reasons why you’re doing it very clear in your mind. It’s pen and paper time. Brainstorm the reasons why you want to leave. If there are many, you can divide them into categories like work environment, colleagues, responsibilities, etc.
Make sure you get absolutely everything off your chest and down on paper. Articulating those frustrations will help you understand the situation you’re in more clearly.
2. Is it me, or is it them?
Who is it that’s causing the problem here? Be honest. Is it something to do with you? I’m not implying it might be your fault, but is there some element of your character that just doesn’t fit? Is this not the best use of your skills? Would you be better working freelance? Being your own boss? Have you got a case of frustrated wanderlust?
Or is it a problem with the company itself? Is it your colleagues? Your boss? Your working hours, responsibilities, or working environment?
3. What would have to change for me to stay?
Look back at the things you’ve written on your list. Is there anything on there that’s fixable or changeable? And if it was fixed, would that be enough to make you stay?
If, for example, it’s something to do with your working conditions or responsibilities, would renegotiating those be feasible? Would that then mean you could continue working there happily? If so, it’s definitely worth trying to tackle that problem head-on and attempting to sort things out before you consider quitting.
If there’s absolutely no change that could be made that could convince you to stay, then you’ve got your answer.
Is it this specific job and working environment that’s the problem, or is it the industry as a whole that’s not a fit for you? Consider whether what you need is a complete career change, or if a different company within the same industry with a different working dynamic would be a better fit.
5. Have I been here long enough?
If you’ve only been in the job two months, then consider giving things a little time to settle to see if they improve once you’ve got more experience in the job under your belt.
Similarly, only sticking at a job for a couple of months might not look great on your CV. Can you stick it out for a couple more months? Can you bring yourself to stay there for a year, or at least six months?
The time you need to make it look a little better on your CV could also be time you could use planning your next move and applying for jobs.
6. Is this affecting my mental health and wellbeing?
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress at your job, it can take a major toll on all aspects of your health. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health for, so if it’s that bad, then it’s time to put yourself first and leave, no matter what your answer to number five was. Your CV will recover, you might not.
7. How many lists like this have I read?
Have you already read a few lists on similar topics to this one? If your Google search history is nothing but variations on ‘reasons to quit my job’ or ‘reasons to stay in my job,’ then that’s a pretty good sign that you’re really serious about this.
8. What’s the plan?
You already know this, but most of us don’t have the luxury of just being able to quit our jobs without any kind of backup plan in place. Before handing in your resignation, you need a clear idea of where you’re heading next and what steps you’re going to take.
An actual new job lined up is, of course, ideal, but there might not always be time for that if your job is really taking its toll on you. Either way, a concrete plan with steps that you can take toward getting a better job and being happier is incredibly important.
Taking a look at your finances is also vital, as we all have to eat and pay the rent. Make sure you have a clear idea of where you are financially, so you know how long you can realistically be unemployed for. Having things clearly set out in front of you should help take some of the stress out of the situation.
Tap Into Your Support Network
This definitely isn’t something you should be going through alone. Make sure your family, friends, partner, or whoever it is that you trust and rely on are aware of the situation, and ask for their advice.
It might not always be that constructive, but they need to know you’re going through a tough time, and, who knows, they might come up with a suggestion or a solution that had never occurred to you.
Take a few weeks to let the dust settle if you can before making the big decision, and if you still feel the same way, then take the leap.
Life is far too short for you to be miserable 40 hours a week, so leave the negative experiences behind you, take with you all the lessons you learned, and make sure that your next move is a more positive one.
Good luck on your journey, and remember, everything’s going to be okay.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.