For some, deciding to quit a job after enduring a negative work environment, a stagnation in personal or professional growth, or just plain boredom can feel incredibly liberating. They feel confident in their next moves, and may even try to bribe their coworkers into playing ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ on loudspeakers as they walked out the door for the final time like:
But for some, the decision to leave a current place of employment is riddled with fear, anxiety, and a constant back and forth over what to do.
When you are contemplating a big life change of any kind, this kind of reaction is totally normal. But how can you figure out if quitting your current job is the best next move for your career?
Well, if you’re looking for a sign, here are eight of them!
1. You don’t respect the management.
It can be incredibly frustrating to work for a manager you don’t respect. If their personal or professional behavior prevents them from doing their job effectively, the team they lead can feel like a ship without a rudder. You know you have a good manager when decisions that they make build up their team, empower them to do their jobs well, and allow them to handle conflict in a way that is conducive for overall growth. On the contrary, if your manager makes it harder for you to do your job, creates a dysfunctional work environment, or continually acts unprofessionally towards you or your team members, it might be a good idea to speak to your manager about it. If they don’t react well, contact your HR Department for further guidance. And if all else fails, start looking elsewhere.
2. You can’t see yourself at the company long term.
We’ve all had jobs that we take for the short term just to make ends meet as we figure out what we want to do with our lives. But if you are in the ‘long-term career’ mindset and are currently employed somewhere that doesn’t even fit into your one year plan, then you are probably not in the right place. Whether it’s that the position isn’t a good match for your skill set or the company is in an industry you are not excited about, staying in an environment where you don’t see a future can be demotivating and emotionally draining. If you don’t necessarily know what you want to do yet, don’t jump the gun and quit right now; just keep your eyes open for some positions you might be interested in. When you find a few that you could be excited about, start working towards them.
3. You don’t believe in the company’s mission or product.
When you’re working for a company whose mission is not clearly defined, whose product is not useful or reliable, or whose vision of the future is not one you can get behind, coming into the office everyday can be exhausting. If you aren’t able to believe in what your company stands for, then you won’t have the energy or motivation to do your job well. Though it may not seem like a big deal, you never want to work somewhere that forces you to compromise your integrity. If you do it for long enough, it starts to change how you see yourself. If your job requires you to go against your beliefs in order to be successful, take that as a sign it’s time to go.
4. You don’t like your coworkers.
According to recent studies on workplace behavior, 40% of people who like their jobs attribute their happiness to their coworkers. This makes sense! Working with good people can make even the hardest work environments more bearable. However, if you don’t have good relationships with the people you spend eight hours a day, five days a week with, then your work days will probably feel longer than they actually are. These relationships usually can be repairable with some time and work, but if you’ve tried everything to mend broken relationships with coworkers and things seem to being staying stagnant or getting worse, your work environment might not be conducive for your success.
5. The culture is toxic.
The state of a company’s culture will dictate the success of the company. Period. A high turnover rate is a sign of an unhealthy environment that you will most likely not want to be a part of. If you find yourself surrounded by negativity, low work ethic and overall internal tension, it will be very difficult to stay focused on doing your job well. Additionally, if you find yourself starting to reflect your company’s culture in the way you think and act while you’re at work or even at home, you either need to proactively make a drastic change in your environment or get out. Toxicity bleeds into everything you do, from your work, to your interactions with your coworkers and management, to how you see yourself in and outside of work. Staying in an unhealthy culture for too long can have a negative effect on your psyche and is not worth the pay check.
6. The pay isn’t good.
Let’s be real: you work to get paid. Some people do find a way to turn their passions into paychecks (very possible and something to fight for!), but in the meantime, we gotta make dat money. In regards to your payment, there are two things that should raise red flags:
a.) You’re in a job that, by default does not pay a lot, but you know you could make more if you went elsewhere.
b.) You’re in a job where you should be making more, but for one reason or another you are not being paid what your abilities, experience or job title warrants.
Basically, if you could be making more somewhere else and some of the above signs are in the mix, you should consider a job search.
7. The job is preventing you from doing what you enjoy.
In my article,‘More Than Fun: 6 Reasons It’s CRUCIAL to Pursue Your Hobbies Outside of Work’, I talk about how important it is to continue doing the things you love, even if they’re not in your job description. Making time for your passion projects; hobbies; friends and family is crucial to maintaining a healthy work life balance. If the job you currently have prevents you from pursuing those things even outside of work, that is good cause for you to reevaluate whether you should stay where you’re at. For example, if you have a passion for live music but work nights as a security guard which prevents you from seeing your favorite shows, start thinking about what you can do to make time for that passion again. Whether that be getting a gig as a security guard at a local venue, changing shifts with a coworker, or pursuing something else, the change will free you up to be passionate again.
8. You have another opportunity elsewhere.
This should be a no brainer, but sometimes even when another opportunity presents itself, it feels easier (or more comfortable) to stay in our misery than to take a flying leap into the unknown. But if you can relate to the signs above and an opportunity you feel excited about comes up, it’s worth taking the risk. Staying somewhere you don’t like just because it’s familiar is like quicksand: before you know it you’ve been there for five years and you feel trapped in complacency. If you are contemplating leaving a job you don’t like to take an opportunity you see potential in, take this as your sign: DO IT.
So once you’ve made the decision to resign, how do you do it?
Unfortunately, the way you leave can reflect on you as a professional and as a person. You never know who is in your current employer’s network, and you would never want the way you end things now to prevent you from being able to get another job later.
While I know most of us would love to do this:
Or even this:
We should probably resist that temptation.
Here’s a good code of conduct you should always try to follow when leaving your job:
a.) Try to have another opportunity in place before you leave
Not only is it much less stressful to know where your next paycheck is coming from when you walk out the doors of your current company for the final time, it’s also easier to get a job while you are still employed for a number of reasons. If you’re worried about how to find a job considering where you’re at now, check out this article with some creative tips to aid you on your job search.
b.) Submit your two weeks notice
No matter how much you want to simply run out of the building screaming, it is customary and seen as professional to give your employer at least a two weeks notice before your departure. This will allow them to immediately start looking for someone to replace you while you’re still there so they’re not left in a lurch when you’re gone. It’s best to do this in person by notifying them of your departure date, giving them a letter (like this or this), and then emailing them that letter as well so you leave a digital trace of when you turned in your notice. Thank them for the opportunity and wish them the best of luck in all of the company’s future endeavors.
c.) Help with the transition
If you have accounts, clients, or a lot of data in your possession, try to make the transition as smooth as possible by helping train the new employee or your current colleagues on what you do to fill the gap you’ll be leaving. Give the data and accounts to your employer and explain your interactions thus far so they know how to pick up where you left off. Don’t take anything that’s not yours – you don’t want to have their lawyers crawling into your new place of work to question you about the $500 fountain pen you ‘forgot’ to give back.
d.) Leave civilly
Though it’s oh-so tempting to storm out of the office with a big and never look back, this will almost always bite you in the butt later. Try to burn as few bridges on your departure as you can, which will also make things less awkward as you finish out your two weeks.
In summary, if you are currently experiencing at least four out of the eight signs listed above, you probably should consider trying your hand at something new. Life is too short to be miserable at the place where you spend over 30% of your life. Don’t give up hope that there are better things out there for you; and when you find them, start the next season of your life by moonwalking on out of your office.