You’ve had it with your current job. Whether you feel frustrated, devalued, or stuck, you know that flat out quitting is a big step to take, and you want to make sure leaving is actually the right decision. However, everyone’s situation is different and there are no set rules for defining when it’s your time to move on.
Quitting is an intensely personal decision and only you can determine what works for you. Whether you’re thinking about staying and waiting for things to get better, going to start job searching and quit when you have something new lined up, or going to quit without a new job lined up, you should assess how all of your options impact your job narrative, finances, and overall wellbeing.
Good things come to those who wait…or so we’re told. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee a situation will improve, or that a pay raise or promotion is coming your way, even if you deserve it.
Is it Time for You to Quit Your Job?
Below, I’ve listed the top considerations I hear from my clients when they’re trying to figure out if it’s time for them to leave their jobs. Use this list to guide your thinking and seriously evaluate key aspects of your situation.
1. Should you hold out for internal opportunities or find better ones elsewhere?
Good things come to those who wait…or so we’re told. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee a situation will improve, or that a pay raise or promotion is coming your way, even if you deserve it. If your organization lacks a culture of raises and promotions, even if your boss is on your side and you’ve made a great pitch for advancement, it’s never a sure thing decision makers will listen.
Instead of waiting for your company to take action, deciding to quit your job will shift the responsibility of finding better opportunities (or pay) that aligns with what you truly want to you. You’ll be in control of your career path and can decide what is best.
Feel like you’ve lost sight of what you truly want? Download my Introspective Visioning worksheet to reorient your career goals and needs with what makes you happy.
2. Should you try to convince your company to value you or find a new one that will?
Define what “being valued” looks like for you, and search for jobs and companies that meet your criteria. It’s definitely hard to stay motivated in a job where you don’t feel valued or engaged. You can recommend your supervisor follow these tips to improve employee engagement and see if you can take some initiative on your own to change the culture. It usually is a big switch to get a company that doesn’t value its employees to value them.
Define what “being valued” looks like for you, and search for jobs and companies that meet your criteria. If you’re not sure what attributes add up to feeling valued, consider the following questions:
Compensation: How well are you paid? How does your pay relate to your market value? Others in your field? Coworkers with the same level of responsibility?
Mentoring: Do you have a mentor internal to your organization? Do they advocate for you? How do they help you navigate challenges and seize opportunities?
Challenge: How does your work environment challenge you to hone your skills and develop professionally? How does your job develop your growing edges?
Opportunities: What does your professional path at this organization look like? Is it clear? How would you go about pursuing available opportunities? Do you know how?
Involvement: To what extent are you involved in meetings, decisions, determining strategic priorities, or resourcing? How does this align with what should be?
Appreciation: When was the last time a coworker, manager, or senior executive expressed appreciation for the work you do? What did they do?
Value: How are your contributions perceived by coworkers and management? How comfortable do you feel sharing ideas and challenging organizational assumptions?
Purpose: What impact do you want to have with your work? How does your job align with these professional ambitions? Does your current work feel purposeful?
Trust: How does your organization show that they trust you to deliver quality work, to make good decisions, and to represent them well?
Empowerment: When was the last time you were given the freedom to be creative, challenge assumptions, and propose new ideas at work? How did it go?
3. Should you stay comfortable in a familiar (but demotivating) place or challenge yourself in the (scary) unknown?
Taking a leap to a higher role or different field can be scary, but it’s the in moments we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones where we learn the most. Staying comfortable sure is nice, but you want to make sure you’re not hitting a career plateau, and limiting your opportunities down the road. Usually a negative mindset, like a fear of failure or severe self-criticism prevents us from challenging ourselves in areas outside of our experience. It’s true—taking a leap to a higher role or different field can be scary, but it’s the in moments we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones where we learn the most.
Consider professional development, lateral moves (including taking on more responsibility in your current role), and networking to get you out of a stale position or reinvigorate your position. Or, simply start searching for something new.
4. Do you want to feel financially “safe” or financially valued?
Salary and bonuses, health insurance, and opportunities to save for retirement are all reasons people stay in their current job, sometimes much longer than they should. Before quitting your job, especially without a new one lined up, I recommend meeting with a financial planner to help you determine how a change will impact your finances.
I won’t negate the legitimacy of staying in a job for financial safety. But if that’s the only reason you’re staying around and are otherwise dissatisfied, overstressed, or undervalued, consider all the other negativity you face for this job. Is it worth the money?
However, also consider that a new job could afford you with a higher salary and better benefits if you’re looking to make the leap. Know your worth and then negotiate (if need be) to make sure you hit those numbers.
5. Would you prefer a boss you can handle or a boss you love to work for?
Again, change is scary. It’s easy to work with a boss you’re used to handling rather than risking it for a boss who could be better. Search for job in companies whose culture you admire—if you decide to make a move, it’s likely you’ll find a boss who aligns with your values at a company that aligns with your values.
Wondering how to do this? Read my post about finding the best boss for you to get some tips.
This is definitely a lot to consider. Sometimes there is value in staying and other times there is value in leaving. Depending on your job, some of these points will outright conflict with each other. Navigating this decision can definitely be challenging.
I understand everyone’s situation is different, so if you’re feeling the strain of deciding to quit or not, schedule a free jumpstart call with me. We’ll talk through your unique case in detail and create an action plan that works for you.