“Should I quit my job?” is a question that more and more professionals are asking themselves these days. But with so many people moving between companies, it can be hard to determine what is a good reason for leaving (and what isn’t).
This guide will help you figure out if you should quit your job, or stick around.
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Common Reasons Why People Leave Their Jobs
Figuring out if you should quit your job is not a process that you can take lightly. Despite the changing tides of employment with it becoming more acceptable to switch jobs regularly, leaving should never be a snap decision.
There are plenty of good reasons to quit. The most commonly cited factors for resignation include:
- Uncomfortable or toxic work environments
- A lack of promotion and growth opportunities
- Substandard pay or benefits
- Poor work/life balance
- Poor management
- A lack of passion for the job
Those are all valid reasons, but it’s always wise to weigh your options. One survey showed that about a quarter of people who resign without much consideration regret their decision.
One additional warning: It’s easier and often faster to secure a new job when you’re employed. So unless you have at least six months of savings stashed away, you’re better off looking for a new job while you are working.
Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job
Are you thinking about quitting and heading toward greener employment pastures? Everyone gets frustrated enough to want to quit at some point. That feeling might go away, but sometimes, leaving is the best choice for your career and health.
Here are several situations when quitting your job is the right choice.
1. There’s No More Room for Growth
A lack of advancement opportunities is the number one reason why many people choose to quit their jobs. In the past, it was common for individuals to stay with a single company for decades. But things are different today.
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t always possible, in fact, that ladder doesn’t even exist in many companies. Unless you are learning new skills or taking on new projects, your skills will become outdated and stale when you stay in a role at a company without growth. Unfortunately, some positions simply don’t offer much room for growth. The pay stays the same, responsibilities go unchanged, and you have no choice but to continue doing what you are now.
No one should have to settle for a stagnant career. If your current company provides no way to advance through in-house promotions, develop a plan to leave by looking for employment elsewhere. For many individuals, it’s the only way to continue developing a career, advance skills, and reach their full potential.
2. You are No Longer Motivated By the Work
Another valid reason to quit is a lack of passion and motivation. Let’s face it: Not every job has a glamorous day-to-day. You might find yourself working tirelessly, hating every minute of the process. But if you get rewarded and feel good about what you do, it can make the grind worth it.
So what happens when the end product leaves you feeling empty and unhappy? That’s when you know it’s time to look for something else to do with your life.
Staying motivated and fulfilled when it comes to your job is a key component to long-term success and happiness. When you don’t have a reason to show up for work, your mental health can suffer. That can eventually lead to poor work performance and a negative impact on other parts of your life.
Save yourself that headache and pursue something that brings you joy. There’s no reason to stay in a job if it makes you miserable. In this case, finding a new fulfilling job then quitting would be the best-case scenario, freeing you from something that makes you unhappy in favor of a job you’re proud of and excited to do.
3. A Better Job Opportunity is Available to You
Of course, if you’ve gotten a better job offer and you’re wondering if you should quit your job, it’s definitely worth considering.
As you probably know, it’s not a great idea to quit on the spot. It creates problems with your employer. You’ll want to accept the new job opportunity but give your current employer one to two weeks’ notice. There’s more about this later.
When offered a job, it’s important to weigh your options.
If you’re wondering if you should quit your job, compare your current position with the new offer. Make a note of all the pain points you’re experiencing now and see how the new opportunity stacks up. Does it offer better pay? What about growth opportunities and the work culture?
If the new job fits the bill and addresses all of your issues with your current job, deciding to quit should be easy.
4. Family or Medical Problems
Sometimes, life leaves you with little choice but to quit your job. When health problems affect you or something in your family, quitting might be necessary. For personal illness, quitting affords you the time to get the care and focus on your well-being. Meanwhile, health issues afflicting your loved ones may require your full attention as a caregiver.
Whatever the case, leaving for medical reasons is legitimate. Unfortunately, it happens rather often. Your health and the care of your loved ones are most important, and most companies fully understand that.
Quick Tip: Before you quit, inquire about your options. If you love every other aspect of your job, you may have the chance to get paid medical leave. Even if that’s not possible, communicate with your company. At the very least, they may leave the door open for your return in the future if that’s something you want.
5. You’re Stuck in a Toxic Work Environment
We won’t get too deep into this issue, but it’s self-explanatory. Leaving might be the right choice for you if you’re not feeling great about the work environment.
A toxic work environment can mean many things. It could be questionable practices, values that don’t vibe with your own, or even a way of doing business that makes you feel unsafe. There are multiple ways to define toxic work environments, and you might need to quit your job if you’re in one.
6. The Hours are Unsustainable
Scheduling conflicts are easy to work out. In most cases, management can figure things out to accommodate your life and needs. But when they can’t, quitting your job might be necessary.
Unsustainable work hours can do a lot of harm. Extended hours might be fine when you’re young and don’t have many responsibilities. The same goes for the night shift when you’re in good health and have no problem watching the sun rise on your way home after work.
But those problematic hours are difficult to maintain long-term. Eventually, you might feel burnt out. Some people start to suffer health problems that force them to make a scheduling change.
You may also experience life changes that make those once-manageable hours no longer possible. For example, many individuals must reevaluate their work schedules once they have kids and start a family.
Always have a conversation with your manager to discuss rescheduling hours. However, if your current job can’t accommodate your scheduling needs, quitting is your only option.
Are you thinking about going back to school? Many working professionals attempt to juggle work and school. You might consider attending classes part-time while still having your job.
While some people can manage that experience, it’s not always possible. Managing everything can be overwhelming if you have a family and other responsibilities to take care of. Don’t push yourself so hard that your work or school performance suffers.
It’s possible that your education may be the best or only way to reach your next career move. If you’ve done your research and you are certain that education is the best way for you to reach a new career or profession, then, by all means, follow that path.
In some cases, it’s better to quit your job and focus all of your attention on your education. Even if you’re attending school part-time, you’re free to prioritize your education, immerse yourself in learning those new skills, and work to get better job offers once you complete your degree or get new certifications.
8. You’re Moving
Relocating to a new city is another valid reason for quitting your job.
There are many reasons why the move might be necessary. You might have to relocate because your partner got a job in a distant location. Or perhaps you have no choice but to move due to the high cost of living where you are now.
You might want to move for personal reasons, too. Maybe you’re looking to be closer to your family as you raise your family or simply want to experience something new in a fresh city. The reasons for your move are personal and you don’t need to justify them to anyone but yourself.
When a lengthy commute is not possible, quitting your job is one of your only options.
But if you want to keep your job, don’t hesitate to inquire about remote work opportunities. Remote work is more common now than ever, and many companies are open to considering it. You may have to come into the office occasionally, but you may be able to work out a situation where you only visit the office once a month or quarter.
Don’t be afraid to ask about those details if keeping your job is something that interests you. If not, here’s a guide on getting a job in another state that can help!
9. You Can’t Work for Your Boss Anymore
Unfortunately, here’s another reason that’s pretty common.
Usually, personal conflicts are not a good reason to quit your job (more on that later). But when your boss is causing issues, you might not have much of a choice. There’s a common saying that people don’t quit their jobs. They quit managers!
You understand the sentiment if you’ve ever worked with a difficult leader. Management is at the top of the totem pole, and everything trickles down through them. When your work style doesn’t mesh with those directly above you, it can make working a nightmare.
Sadly, some bosses also handle things poorly. They might micromanage your every move, have a work style that’s unproductive to how you do things, or be so disorganized that they’re constantly losing your work.
There’s also the human element. Some managers are bullies and will take out personal vendettas. Considering leadership is often directly responsible for career advancement, an awful relationship with your boss could make it impossible to move forward.
There are many ways to deal with awful bosses. If it’s a manager you’re having issues with, you could request to move to a different department or join another team. But sometimes, those moves aren’t possible.
When a lousy boss affects your performance, makes work miserable, and you don’t have any other way out, you should probably think about looking for a new job and then quit your job.
10. You’ve Decided to Change Careers
Changing careers will obviously require you to quit your job at some point. Many working professionals reach a point in their careers when they feel it’s time for a change. Maybe you’ve discovered a new passion or want to pursue something that offers more opportunities.
In many cases, changing careers requires more work than getting a new job. You might have to go back to school, relocate, etc. All of that takes time and focus from your current job.
Even if you can’t enter your desired field now, you might have to take another type of job in that field that would require you to quit. Again, it’s always better to have a job when looking for a new one. But if you must quit, ensure you have your ducks in a row and can manage the transition.
Bad Reasons to Quit Your Job
The points we’ve made in the previous section are all perfectly legitimate reasons why you should quit your job. But there are many other reasons you might consider, and not all of them are worth leaving over.
To help you avoid making a choice you regret, here are some situations that should make you rethink before quitting.
Personal Conflicts with Others
Some personal conflicts may have no solution other than quitting. For example, you can’t escape a bad boss.
But if you’re having issues with colleagues, leaving might not be the best move. Work conflicts can feel awkward and challenging to navigate, but there are many other ways to approach these situations.
Consider doing peer mediation or having a meeting with HR. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, you can request department changes, ask to get on another team and take steps to never interact with that person again.
Criticism, Write-Ups, and Negative Feedback
Criticism is part of the game. Managers will review your performance and might not always have positive things to say. It’s understandable to be upset about negative feedback, and it’s not easy to deal with those meetings when you don’t necessarily agree with the criticism you receive.
But should you quit your job over it? In most cases, the answer is no. The key is to learn how to accept constructive feedback. It’s a skill that many people lack, leading to unnecessary resignations.
Accept feedback, and don’t be afraid to talk things out with higher-ups. Don’t take it personally. Everyone is there to do a job, and criticism is part of the process.
Lost Promotion Opportunities
Getting passed over for a promotion never feels good. But don’t let that be the main reason why you decide to quit.
Ask management why they didn’t consider you. Most are more than willing to tell you why providing the feedback you need to make a change. Use what you learn to improve your performance and make yourself the best candidate for the next promotion.
Quitting if you were passed over for a promotion may make you look spiteful or angry. However, sticking around takes character and who knows, maybe the person won’t work out in the role and you’ll get another shot.
When people quit because of burnout, it can often be a rash decision. When you’re bogged down and mentally exhausted, it’s easy to toss in the towel without giving it much thought. You’re driven by emotions.
Burnout is a real thing, and many people suffer from it. But quitting your job isn’t always the solution. You can take a break instead.
Take a few mental health days, or consider taking advantage of vacation time. That time off will help you recuperate and come back ready to work. Think about what is causing you to feel burned out. Is it the work, the people or something else. Once you’ve pinpointed the cause, talk with your manager and see if you can find a solution.
Now, if your job is stress-inducing enough to cause burnout frequently, that’s a different story. But if you’re just feeling a bit overwhelmed and need a break, consider a break before quitting.
What to Do Next
So you’ve decided that you should quit your job. What now?
Quitting can be a more detailed process than most realize, but here’s a quick summary for you:
The first thing you should do is figure out the details. Have a plan in place, choose your last work date, and get all the logistics sorted out.
Then, write a letter of resignation. You can also have a meeting with your boss, but make sure to put everything in writing. Provide plenty of notice and take steps to finalize your departure.
Don’t forget to prepare to answer exit interview questions as well!
Now you hopefully have a better idea if you should quit your job or not. Remember, take some time when considering this decision! You don’t want to leave a good position because you had one bad day.
But if one of the reasons we listed applies to you, look for a new opportunity and leave when you can!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.