Should I Quit My Job? – How to Know if it’s Time to Leave

Should I quit my job? You ask yourself, staring blankly at a fresh batch of unanswered emails. The question is usually followed by a string of built-in answers, including the most common one: this job is secure and you need the money. But I hate my job, you answer back, convinced that there’s a better opportunity waiting for you, but that you have to quit in order to find it. And what if I hate that job? You ask. And the internal cycle continues.

First and foremost: you’re not alone. Statistically speaking, lots of people hate their jobs. In fact, there’s probably a co-worker just yards away undergoing the same tired routine: Should I quit my job? You can’t quit your job. But I hate my job! But you have bills to pay. I’m going to march into the boss’ office and quit right now. But quitting can be so awkward and you hate confrontations.

Then there’s the type who goes out, finds a new job, and quits on the spot. Admirable, perhaps, but often hard to pull off. Hence, the question of what to do when you hate your job remains a hard one to answer for most modern-day professionals. We can’t walk in your shoes, but we can provide a little clarity. Here’s how to know if it’s time to leave.


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Sad lego man at desk

Hate Your Job? Figure Out Why You’re Not Happy with Your Job

Lots of people know they hate their job, but only some people really try to figure out why. Sure, there are obvious reasons such as a terrible boss, obnoxious co-workers, or a toxic environment, but virtually none of those reasons require introspection. If you’re saying to yourself, “I hate my job and I want to quit,” it’s important to look inward before making your next move.

To be clear, we’re not implying that you’re the problem, only that you should assess the situation in full before proceeding. After all, the last thing you want to do is quit your job and end up in another one just like it. When trying to figure out why you’re not happy with your job, consider the following questions:

Are You Bored?

Sometimes, the problem is a mere lack of excitement or motivation. For instance, maybe your job simply doesn’t inspire you, or challenge you, or put your desired skill set to use. Boredom frequently overlaps with both depression and anxiety, and all three mindsets are virtually guaranteed to make you hate your job.

Is Your Job No Longer Compatible With Your Lifestyle?

Presuming you’re over the age of say 18, then you’re aware of the fact that life can change rapidly, and your lifestyle can change along with it. Therefore, you might not be the same person now that you were when you started your job. What’s more, your job may no longer accommodate the person you’ve become.

Is There a Lack of Upward Mobility?

“Promotion” and “raise” are two words that go hand in hand with any given career path. Unfortunately, not every job delivers upward mobility. If you’re stuck at a dead end, this very well might be why you hate your job.

Do Others Not Appreciate What You Do?

It’s hard enough doing good work, and even harder when that work gets overlooked by others. If your boss or peers aren’t acknowledging how great you are at your job (assuming you are, in fact, great at your job), it can lead to a serious drop in morale or motivation.

Are There Better Opportunities Elsewhere?

They say the grass is greener on the other side, and in the professional world, that idiom certainly applies. Perhaps you’ve been approached by a recruiter, and now you keep thinking there’s a better job just waiting for you somewhere else. This can easily lead to a sense of dissatisfaction with the job you have.

Man using laptop

Is it Time for a New job, or a Career Change?

Should I quit my job is posited more often than should I change my career, but in some scenarios, the latter question might be the one to ask. Indeed, there are all too many of us who simply follow a path because it’s the one put in front of our eyes, which doesn’t always lead to happiness. If you hate your job, it might not be the job itself that you hate, but the industry within which you’re working. Before you hop from one situation to another just like it, consider pursuing a different career altogether. The sacrifices will be great, but your decision can make a world of difference in the long run.

Things to do Before You Quit Your Job

It’s official: you hate your job, you know why, and you’re ready to quit on the spot. A quick word of advice: don’t. No, we’re not suggesting that you stay at your job. All we’re saying is that you need a game plan before you just grab your things and go. Don’t utter those two glorious words—”I quit”—without performing the following actions first:

Make Sure that You Really Want to Quit

Before quitting, make sure that the solutions to your problems aren’t already staring you in the face. Consider telling your boss that you feel underappreciated to see if it changes his or her attitude. Along similar lines, don’t forget to actually request a raise or promotion before assuming you won’t get one. And if you’re bored at work, look around your own company to see if there’s a peripheral opportunity lying in wait. In other words, exhaust your options before seeking employment elsewhere.

Start Your Job Hunt While You’re Still Employed

Okay, so you definitely want to quit. To which we still might say: “Not so fast.” That’s because you should start looking for a new job while still working at your current job. Start by getting all your ducks in a row, i.e. update your LinkedIn profile and your resume, build your network, talk to your friends about their work, etc. Next, use job search engines to see what kind of opportunities are available. When ready, begin taking interviews, making it clear that you’re still employed. Your hunt should be discreet, to say the least.

Don’t Blow It

Even if and when you’ve found a new job, resist all temptation to spread the word until after you’ve officially quit. Anything can happen in the working world (i.e. your new job can fall through) and you don’t want to make any premature miscalculations.

Give Notice

You might hate your job, but don’t forget that it’s put a roof over your head and food on your table. If there’s a window of time between your current job and your new one, demonstrate proper etiquette by giving at least two weeks notice (or whatever amount of time your employment contract specifies) before you leave.

Man in Business in city

How to Resign

At long last, the time has come for you to quit. While it’s tempting to stand up at your desk and holler, “So long suckas!”, a little decorum can go a long way. It’s a smaller world than you think, after all, where your reputation can precede you. When it’s time to officially resign, take the following measures:

Demonstrate Proper Decorum

No matter how much animosity was going around the workplace, keep everything as professional as possible when you quit. Specifically, don’t storm into your boss’ office to announce: “I’m quitting because I hate my job and I hate you, too.” Instead, submit your resignation letter through the proper channel. If prompted by your superior, say something in the vein of “I’m submitting my two weeks notice because I no longer feel like this job is a right fit for me. Thank you for the opportunity to work here.”

Write a Solid Resignation Letter

Everything is an art form in some way, including resignation letters. Yours should have a date at the top and be addressed to the appropriate person. The opening paragraph should be basic in its delivery, stating your intention to resign and the date of your final day. Be as helpful as possible, making it clear that you’re willing to train your replacement and that you’ll prepare your team for your departure.

Along similar lines, offer assurances that you’ll complete your current tasks and give your peers or superiors all the information they might need to move forward accordingly. Last but not least, express your appreciation for the job and for the people you worked with. Overall, the tone should be concise, positive, and professional throughout. This is not an opportunity to air your grievances, no matter how tempted you might be to do so.

Don’t Burn Any Bridges

As we said before, the working world is smaller than it first appears. Therefore, maintaining good relationships can prove fundamental to your ongoing success. No matter how much you hated your job, your boss, or your peers, you should move on with class and professionalism. To do anything else is to potentially burn a bridge you might one day need to walk across.


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