Everyone has bad days at work when they swear they would quit. But how do you know the difference between ordinary, occasional dissatisfaction and a genuine mismatch?
Quitting a job can have negative impact on your career and disrupt your personal life, but staying in an undesirable situation can be worse. Here are some tips to help you decide whether it is time to quit your job.
Watch for signals
Start by figuring out whether you lack excitement about the bigger picture or the day-to-day activities. For example, one of the most obvious signals is that you keep promising yourself you’ll quit but never do. It is often an indication of a much bigger problem. Another signal is that you don’t want your boss’s job. If you can’t stand the idea of having your manager’s job, you need to think hard about what’s next. Chances are that your hungrier peers will soon pass you, creating more job dissatisfaction.
You might also find yourself consistently underperforming. If you keep trying to get better but you’re not seeing results, it may be time to consider whether you have what it takes, or if your boss and colleagues value what you have to offer. It might be the sign that you’re up against an impossible task — the job is too big, the politics are too tricky, there aren’t enough resources, or you don’t have the required skills and experience.
If you notice one or more of these signs, pay attention and ask yourself whether the costs of staying in the job are reasonable and acceptable to you.
Know the risks
Before handing in your 30 days notice, make sure you’ve assessed the downsides. Even if you’re certain you’re in the wrong job, there are risks to leaving, such as damaging existing relationships, losing needed income, or blemishing your resume. Quitting your job too often might result in an unpleasant stereotype of job hopper. This could hurt your professional reputation and your chances of getting jobs in the future.
Always leave toward something
You can mitigate some of the risks by deciding what’s next before you leave. It’s always best to have a plan, or at least an inkling of what you want to do. If you truly hate what you’re doing, you should absolutely leave but not before you identify something that you have a good chance of loving in the future.
You can start by questioning yourself of what you need your job to do; what you want to achieve through your job. If you don’t find it in your current job, leave it; but make sure your new career choice can provide it to you. For example, you might want a job that would prepare you to someday lead a start-up venture, so you need a job which trains your operational and leadership capabilities. If your current job does not provide it, leave it for a job that will give you what you want for your future.
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