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17 Sep 2020 Austin Belcak

How To Know When To Quit Your Job

Your first clue is right in front of you. Think about it. Wouldn’t you agree that even opening up this article could be a tell-tale sign that you might be ready to quit your job?

But I get it. As much as you may want to quit on the really bad days, is it worth throwing in the towel? Should you try to stick it out a bit longer?

Maybe yes, maybe not. But there are some other clear signs that you can look out for, which is exactly what we’re going to look at in this article.

And if you happen to find yourself nodding your head to many of them, well, then you may just have your answer.

In which case, I’m also going to show you how to quit your job in the most professional way possible, so you can move on to the next step in your career without burning any bridges.

Let’s get right to it!

Clear Signs That It’s Time To Quit Your Job

Sometimes it’s difficult to accept the things we don’t want to acknowledge, so below you’ll find some warning signs that it may be time to quit your job.

You’re always complaining about work

No one expects you to always love everything about your job. But if you find yourself complaining day in, day out, pay attention! Sure, there are some things you could do to try to make it better, like speaking up about pressing issues or asking for a raise. But if you’ve already tried those things and nothing is working, then it’s now up to you to make a decision on whether it’s time to just move on.

You don’t have any opportunities to advance your career

Wanting and striving for more out of your career is perfectly normal. In fact, 87% of millennials value professional development or career growth opportunities as very important. If you feel stuck performing the same tedious tasks you’ve been doing forever with no room to advance your skill set or take on new challenges, it’s probably time to start looking for your next career move.

You’re overqualified and underpaid

Maybe you took your current job at a moment where you just needed any job to get by and pay the bills. Or maybe you’ve been busting your butt to improve and gain new skills outside of work, making it reasonable for you to expect a promotion, higher pay, or both. If these are things your current company can’t offer, it’s time to start thinking about how you can get a job at a company that can.

You’re chronically over-stressed

Some stress at work, whether it be over important deadlines, new projects, or meeting KPI’s, is normal. And you’re right to think you could experience that kind of stress anywhere. But chronic stress – the kind that has you always taking time off or suffering throughout the workday because you feel physically and mentally drained – is not. No job is worth sacrificing your physical or mental health.

You don’t feel like you can be yourself at work

You shouldn’t feel like you always have to pretend to be someone else just to get through the day. Sure, this could mean that you just need to invest more time in getting to know your coworkers. But, if you feel like that wouldn’t make a difference, it could also mean that the company culture is just a bad fit for your personality and values. If it’s the latter, you shouldn’t give up finding the company that’s right for you.

You’re not treated with respect

Even if mistakes are made, you shouldn’t feel like you’re being disrespected at work. If your boss or coworkers has a habit of putting you down, dismissing all of your ideas or gossiping behind your back, you have more than enough reason to want to get out of there as soon as possible.

You’re not excited about any of your responsibilities

Do you find yourself procrastinating on all of your tasks at work? Well, despite what you may think, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy. It could just mean that you’re forced to work on things that you find no joy in. I promise work doesn’t have to be this way! You can and should keep searching for a job that does involve work that excites you.

You’d discourage a friend from applying for a job there

Be honest. If your friend told you they were applying for an open position on your team, would you let them? If your answer is a resounding “NO!”, then ask yourself why you still work there. It may even help to think about what advice you would give to a friend if they were in your position.

You’ve realized you’re on the wrong career path

It’s not always easy to find the right career path. Often, it takes figuring out what you don’t want to do first. This may be what you’re realizing about your current job. This is common. So, if what you’re currently doing isn’t leading you to where you want to go with your career, start exploring and make a plan to find a career path that does.

You don’t believe in the company’s mission

Does your company’s mission make you embarrassed to say that you work there? If so, you need to do something about this! Whether you’d like to admit it or not, where you work reflects something about your own values. And, unless your values are completely unheard of (which isn’t likely), then you can definitely find somewhere to work that has a mission you’re proud to help work toward achieving.

You’ve been offered a better opportunity

Being offered a better opportunity elsewhere is by far the most ideal reason to quit your job. So, if you’re unhappy at your current job and you’ve been approached by a recruiter or headhunter for a new opportunity that excites you, don’t let the idea of change deter you. Go for it!

You know you can do better

This last sign probably takes the most courage to use as a reason to quit your job. But it’s also the most powerful! If you honestly feel that you’re meant to do more with your life and career than what you’d ever get to do at your current company, then it’s time to commit to making it happen. It may seem like the worst thing that can happen is that you try and fail miserably. But really the worst thing is to end up regretting down the line that you never even tried at all.

How To Quit Your Job In A Professional Way

Now, if you’re thinking “wow, I identified with so many of those signs! I need to quit my job NOW!”, hold on just a minute.

While it may be tempting to quit a job you hate as quickly as possible, it’s not always the smartest decision.

Unless your work environment is so toxic that you can’t physically or mentally bear going there another day, you’re better off using this impulse to quit as a catalyst for creating a graceful exit strategy.

Here’s what that looks like:

Give notice. For most jobs, the standard notice period is two weeks. But make sure to check your contract or with HR to be sure. Either way, you’re going to need to write a resignation letter. This letter doesn’t need to be complicated or go into too much detail about why you’re quitting. Just make sure it states:

  • Your intent to resign from your current role
  • When your last day will be
  • An expression of gratitude
  • An offering to help with the transition

To make things easier, you can even use a notice letter template.

Offer to help with the transition. Whether you leave today or two weeks from now may make no difference to you. But your boss and colleagues likely see things differently.

Depending on your role and daily tasks, your boss and colleagues may respond to your resignation with panic due to not knowing how they will manage to pick up the important tasks you’ll leave behind.

So, if you want to leave a good impression, offer to do things like help train other members of your team to take over your responsibilities or let your boss know exactly what skills a new hire needs to have.

Leave on good terms. The world is small. And the professional world is even smaller. So, don’t burn bridges by spending your last few days or weeks slacking off, showing up late, or gossiping about what drove you to quit.

Instead, secure yourself the potential for a good reference down the line by staying committed to your final tasks and helping your colleagues in whatever way you can.

Final Thoughts

Despite what you may have been taught to believe, sometimes quitting your job is the right move.

You’re not crazy or entitled for believing you deserve to have a job you love. You 100% do deserve that! And with the right strategy, you can find a job that’s too good to even think about quitting.

If you want to learn how you do that, check out my step-by-step guide to landing an interview and then getting an offer from the company of your dreams!

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

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