As a career coach, I hear a lot of the same questions. While human beings are endlessly unique, they’re also surprisingly similar. Many people struggle with the same career and workplace challenges.
One of the most common questions I hear is this: “How do I know when it’s time to quit?”
It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many considerations. After all, launching a job search is a big undertaking. Do you have the time and means to make a transition? You also need a clear vision for what the right career move would look like. Do you know what’s not working and what would work better for you?
It’s also important to remember that quitting isn’t the only option. If you are generally satisfied with the organization, I recommend that you take steps to improve the situation before you make any decisions. Depending on the circumstance, there may be an easy fix to your problem.
However, quitting is also not something to fear. There are plenty of times when it makes sense, even if your current situation isn’t horrible. Sometimes, you have better opportunities knocking at your door. And sometimes, you just need a change of pace.
Here are a few signs that your current job might no longer be a match for you:
- You’ve peaked—there are no more growth opportunities for you.
- You’re physically, mentally or emotionally unhealthy due to your work activities.
- You have profound conflicts with colleagues that cannot be resolved.
- Your friends and family are sick of hearing you complain about work.
- You feel dispassionate, disengaged and discouraged.
- You’re underpaid and there is virtually no opportunity to earn more.
- You’re experiencing sexual harassment, bullying or some other form of unacceptable, malicious treatment.
- You dread going to work in the morning.
- Your manager and/or the organization does not support your professional growth.
- Your job requires you to do immoral or unethical things, or things that conflict with your personal values.
- The company culture isn’t a match for who you are how you like to work.
- You’re consistently unappreciated for the work you do and you have no voice.
- Your skills and talents are not being utilized.
- You’ve been pigeonholed into doing a small set of unenjoyable tasks.
- You feel ashamed of your position or the company you work for.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and many of the problems cited here can be resolved with some effort. But, if you’ve already made attempts to improve the situation without any luck, and you’ve consistently experienced the same frustration for a period of time, chances are pretty good that you know exactly what you’re getting if you stay.
The risk of making a change may be frightening, but weigh it against the possibilities. Would you rather face that fear and take a leap of faith that could possibly land you somewhere better? Or would you rather stick with what you know?
There’s another important sign to consider: If you’re asking yourself, “How do I know when it’s time to quit?” it’s probably a good time to start looking at other opportunities. You’re reading this article, right? Maybe that should tell you something.
Finally, follow your heart. Intuitively, most people know when it’s time to move on. You just have to listen to your inner-wisdom.