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Should I Quit My Job? 6 Reasons Why & What To Do Next


This article covers knowing when thinking “Should I quit my job?” should really mean you should quit your job. This article also discusses what your next steps should be, if you decide to quit.

Quitting your job is a difficult and often scary decision. It’s completely normal to think long and hard about your reasons for wanting to quit before making any changes.

Maybe you’ve reached the point where your job no longer makes you want to jump out of bed every morning, or maybe you physically dread walking into the office each day.

But how do you tell the difference between a workplace slump and a really justifiable reason that you should quit your job?

The good news is that you’re not alone – lots of people think about quitting their job. 33% of Americans feel like they’ve reached a dead end in their career, and 21% are eager to change careers.

But there’s a big difference between wondering “Should I quit my job?” and actually quitting.

Leaving your job can involve serious financial, professional, and emotional risk. It’s an important decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.

While your tolerance for risk and your individual situation is unique, this article will work to identify some real-life signs that it may be time to quit your job – and provides practical advice on what to do next, if you decide handing in your notice is the best next step for you.

1. You always dread going to work

It’s completely normal to think “I really wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow” on a Sunday evening – this feeling is popularly known as the “Sunday Scaries”.

However, it’s quite another situation if you always dread going to work all the time.

It’s completely normal to think “I really wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow” on a Sunday evening – this feeling is popularly known as the “Sunday Scaries”.

There is a big difference between not wanting to go to work the next day (for short-term or contextual reasons, like being tired) and feeling fearful, scared, or deeply apprehensive about going to work (also known as dread).

If you find yourself unable to sleep the night before work, or if you can’t fully enjoy your time off because negative thoughts of your job consume you, this may be a sign that it’s time to move on.

Think about the reasons why you dread going to work. Is it something that might be able to be fixed, like changing desks or swapping shifts so you don’t have to deal with a coworker you don’t get along with?

If there’s no easy fix to prevent you from dreading going to work, or no fix at all, this is a good sign that it’s time to look for another job.

2. You’re not engaging with your work

While nobody is expected to be fully engaged with their work 100% of the time, if you find yourself spending more time procrastinating than actually doing your job, it could be a sign that it’s time to quit.

It’s easy to chalk up being distracted at work up to laziness or poor time management skills. However, it’s possible that you’re not engaging with your work because it no longer motivates or interests you at all.

Not everyone is looking for a career they’re passionate about and not everyone has the ability to be able to work in a job they’re motivated by.

However, if you’re able to, you should try to seek out work that you can find interesting or stimulating in some way.

Even if you can’t leave your job right now, you can still look for an alternative place of employment in your free time, and quit your job when you find something better.

Chances are that no matter what your skills are, there is another job out there that would be a better fit for your interests.

3. Your work environment is toxic

No matter what your job may be, we all have to deal with difficult people from time to time. However, there’s a big difference between having an unpleasant coworker and operating within a toxic workplace.

A workplace can have many different cultures or atmospheres. Some work cultures can be neutral and some work cultures can be healthy, where everyone in the organization can work together in a productive and engaging way.

However, some workplaces can be very negative to work in. Toxic workplaces are an extreme example of a negative workplace.

Toxic workplaces are generally understood to include 1+ of these factors:

  • Workplace bullying and infighting
  • Negative, unfair, mean-spirited or illegal workplace or employee practices
  • Unethical or manipulative workplace actions or behaviour
  • Unsafe or illegal business practices
  • Discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity, or other reasons

When your workplace is unsafe for your emotional, mental, or physical health, it is a good time to look for another job.

Is your employer is practicing unethical, unsafe, illegal, or discriminatory practices? If so, please considering filing a formal complaint with the appropriate authority in your area.

4. Your physical or mental health is affected

A toxic work environment, an overwhelming amount of pressure, and other factors can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

In a 2017 Harris Poll survey for the American Psychological Association (APA), 1 in 5 respondents reported quitting a job due to workplace stress. Additionally, 62% of respondents ended their day with work-related neck pain. 34% had difficulty sleeping because of their stressful jobs.

It’s time to consider other jobs if:

  • You find yourself in physical pain after a long day of work (and there are no easy fixes that can be made in the workplace, such as an ergonomic desk setup)
  • You need to take a lot of time off work due to health problems caused or aggravated by your work
  • Your time off is spent recuperating from the stress or fatigue of your job

5. You’re overqualified (and there’s no room for advancement)

It’s possible that you’ve been in your current job for so long that your experience and capabilities outweigh your responsibilities and salary. Or maybe you started your job because it was all that was available at the time, and you’ve now stayed longer than you’d anticipated.

If you feel like you’re overqualified for your job and that your skills are not being put to good use, first check to see if there are opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization.

Ask your boss if there are any new responsibilities you could take on, or check with your HR department for job openings.

However, if you’re truly unfulfilled by your work and there are no opportunities within your current environment, it may be time to move on to another job that suits your qualifications better.

6. The job is no longer a good fit for your career and life goals

Being overqualified for your job is just one reason why it might no longer be a good fit for you.

Maybe the work culture doesn’t match your personality, and you feel out of place within your team. Perhaps your expectations for the position failed to match reality, or you’re looking for a job that offers a different kind of lifestyle.

If your job doesn’t connect with the career path and life you’re envisioning for yourself, that’s normal. People change and so do their needs.

Maybe you’d like to work remotely, work from home on occasion, or have a shorter commute. Don’t quit your job in haste: first, make a plan and start looking for opportunities that speak to you.

What to do next (if you decide to quit)

No matter what your reason may be for quitting your job, it’s important to have a plan in place. Here are three things you should do once you’ve decided to quit.

1. Think about what you want and search for opportunities

You may not be able to afford to quit your job right away. It’s important to make a plan that includes saving some money to tide you over while you find another job, and to start identifying opportunities that might be a good fit for you.

Brainstorm what your dream job looks like. You may not be able to get it right away (for example, you won’t be able to jump from entry-level to a C-level position), but doing this can help you think of the steps you need to take to get there.

What kind of cultural fit do you want? What about work/life balance? Ask yourself as many questions as you can, then look at job listings to see what’s possible.

2. Update your resume & start looking

This is a step you’ll likely want to take right after you’ve thought about what you want to do next. The earlier you start looking, the better place you’ll be in to find and accept a job you love.

Even if you’ve only been in your current position for a couple of months, your skills and experience are bound to have changed. Think about the ways in which your job has helped you grow and start updating your resume.

You should always update your professional resume with the latest changes in your professional life, whether you’re leaving current job or getting hired by another employer. Using an online resume builder that saves your resumes to the cloud makes updating each section of your resume simple and fast.

When you’re finished updating your resume, you can share your new resume with job boards like Indeed, which will help you start looking for new opportunities right away.

3. Give your notice

Most people quit their jobs when they absolutely need to quit, or when they’ve found an alternative job.

If you can, try to give at least two week’s notice to your current employer or longer, if your contract requires a longer leave notice period.

Providing notice to your employer that you’re quitting ensures that you won’t leave your current employer short-staffed. It also helps to ensure that your boss will give you a positive professional reference in the future.

However, if you think that staying longer at your workplace is unsafe or you really feel that you need to quit right away, you should always use your best judgement!

In the end…

Quitting a job is never an easy decision, but it’s important to recognize the warning signs that a job isn’t the right fit for you.

By putting your best foot forward, you’re on track to a satisfying career and a job that leaves you feeling motivated, if not inspired.

Good luck!

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