Yes, you should quit your job.
Actually, that’s only true if you felt a huge sigh of relief when you read that sentence. If, on the other hand, you reacted with skepticism or apprehension, quitting may not be the right move.
Of course, it’s not that simple. Quitting your job can be risky, but sometimes, so can staying.
“Should I quit my job” is a question many of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives. For some, the answer is a resounding “yes!” while others may feel like they can’t leave their current position. So, when is it time to move on?
There are many factors to consider before making such a big decision, including your financial security, your work-life balance, and your career goals. If you have been unhappy at your job for a while, researching and soul-searching may help you decide your next move.
How you answer these questions will offer guidance when you’re asking yourself if you should stick it out or if it’s time to move on to a new opportunity.
Why do you want to quit?
You could be unhappy at work and thinking about quitting for many reasons. Perhaps you’re not being paid enough, your coworkers are hard to deal with, or the work is just so dreadfully boring.
Understanding your motivations can help you determine if leaving is the right decision. So why – specifically – do you want to quit?
Do you feel unfulfilled or unchallenged in your role? Or have personal reasons for wanting to quit?
Will you stay if something changes?
Quitting isn’t your only option. See if you can change something at work that will make you want to stay.
Is there a way to address your issues, such as speaking with your supervisor or seeking additional training or support? Are there other job opportunities within the company that might be a better fit for you?
Do you have another job offer?
Ideally, you’ll have another job lined up before you quit your current position. Having another job offer gives you options. You can decide to stay, accept this new offer, or use it to negotiate a counteroffer from your current employer to get a raise or promotion.
Unless you have a valid reason for quitting immediately, start job searching, so you can find a position that truly aligns with your goals and aspirations. Remember, with your skills and experience, you have a lot to offer to potential new employers.
Can you be unemployed?
Although they say “everyone is hiring right now,” it could take months to make it through the hiring process and start your first day. Are you financially stable enough to handle the transition? Do you have a plan in place for finding a new job or source of income? If you have a healthy retirement account, is retiring early possible?
Do you have enough money?
Financial security is essential to life, so what are the financial implications of quitting your job?
If you are the primary breadwinner for your family with a steady income and benefits, quitting without another job lined up could put you (and your family) in a critical financial situation.
However, quitting may be a good way to improve your finances. If you feel underpaid or have no room to advance, finding a new, better-paying job might be worth the risk. A 2022 study by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of workers who switched jobs earned more.
Just don’t make any rash decisions. Make sure you have a solid financial plan in place first.
Is your health suffering?
Constantly feeling stressed or overwhelmed may indicate that your current position is no longer a good fit for you. Injuries or pain caused by your job is also a sign that it’s time to reassess your work situation.
Employers don’t always prioritize the health and well-being of their employees, but you only have one life. You need to put yourself first.
Poor working conditions or a toxic work environment are valid and understandable reasons for leaving your job–perhaps sooner than you planned.
Do you just need to improve your time management?
Your work-life balance is another important factor to consider. If you constantly work long hours and never seem to have any time for your personal life, quitting may help you achieve a better balance. But maybe you just need to manage your time better.
Are you over-committing yourself and simply doing too much? Can you delegate tasks or responsibilities or say “no” to create more space in your schedule? What can you automate in your personal and professional life?
What do you want for your future?
Think about your career goals. If you are unhappy with your current job because it is not in line with your long-term goals, then quitting may help you to get back on track.
However, quitting may not be the right move if you are happy with your current job and are just looking for a change. Talk to your manager about your career aspirations and see if there are any opportunities for growth or development within your current role. Take on new projects or responsibilities or join a committee to challenge yourself and keep things fresh.
What do others think?
Talk to someone you trust, such as your partner, a friend, or a mentor, about your decision. They can offer guidance or perspective to help you make a more informed choice, especially if they’ve gone through something similar.
Contact a career counselor who can offer more tailored advice and support. They can help you identify your strengths, interests, and values and guide you through exploring new career paths or finding ways to advance in your current field. A career counselor can also provide valuable resources and tools, such as personality assessment tests, job search strategies, and networking tips, to help you transition successfully.
Gathering information and perspectives from others ultimately empowers you to make a decision that aligns with your goals and needs.
What are the other pros and cons?
Countless other factors can be either a pro or a con for your situation. It’s normal to feel uncertain about whether quitting is right for you, especially if you’re unsure about what the future may hold. One effective way to gain clarity and make an informed decision is to make a list and weigh the potential risks and benefits of making a change.
When making your list, consider your decision’s short-term and long-term implications.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Will quitting help me achieve my long-term career goals or set me back?
- What impact will it have on my financial stability and personal life?
- Am I being compensated fairly?
- Do I enjoy my work, or am I feeling unfulfilled and unmotivated?
- Is there a healthy work environment? Do I get along with my coworkers and boss?
- Would switching jobs make my commute better or worse?
- What is the job market like in my field? How easily will someone hire me if I quit?
Why are you reading this?
Something made you click that headline when you saw it. That same thing made you read most of this article. So yes, since you’re reading this, I firmly believe you should quit your job. The question is just a matter of how and when.
Now, before you start mentally composing your “I quit” email to your boss, take a breath and hear me out. I’m not suggesting you run out of the office right this second and never look back (although, let’s be real, that does sound pretty tempting).
But if you feel that itch, that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that something just isn’t right, then it’s time to listen to your gut. Life is too short to spend it doing something that doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than waking up every day dreading the thought of going to work.
So go ahead and make that pros and cons list. Weigh the risks and benefits. And when the time is right, take the leap. Your happiness and well-being are worth it.
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Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.