Knowing when to quit your job isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it’s best to stay and improve a situation. But in other situations, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.
Before making this major life decision, make sure you’re leaving for a good reason. If you’re debating when to switch jobs, here are seven solid reasons to make a change.
How do you know it’s time to quit your job?
1. You’ve weighed the pros and cons
You may have daydreams about storming out of your old job in the middle of the day and never going back, but quitting your job impulsively isn’t a good idea.
If you don’t have other work lined up, you’ll be putting yourself at financial risk. Losing your income isn’t an option if you’ve got responsibilities like children, rent, or student loan payments.
Before drafting your resignation letter, take the time to weigh all the pros and cons. Make a list and carefully go over all the positives and negatives.
It’s easy to daydream about quitting when you’re having a bad work day. But take the time to think about it first. You’ll feel confident in your decision because you’ve given it the consideration it deserves.
2. You have no potential for growth
A good job should teach you new skills and knowledge. You should have the opportunity to grow on both a personal and professional level.
Some companies offer perks, like reimbursement for classes and conferences. Others give employees a clear path for advancement within the ranks. You shouldn’t feel stuck in the same tasks and skill level year after year.
If your company offers zero opportunity to move forward, it’s probably time to quit your job and find a new challenge.
3. Your current job doesn’t match your career goals
It’s not unusual to end up in an industry entirely different from your college major. When you’ve just graduated, you’re looking to gain work experience. You don’t have the professional chops yet to be picky. If you majored in a liberal arts field such as English literature or art history, you may not have a clear career path.
But if you’re not careful, you can end up working for years in a field that’s not right for you. One day you might find yourself wondering what you’re doing working in marketing when you always wanted to be a teacher.
If your job has nothing to do with your long-term career goals, it’s time to make moves. Revisit your resume, ramp up your LinkedIn profile, and research what it takes to make a switch.
4. You’re stuck in a position below your education and skill level
A recent Gallup poll suggests that nearly 14 percent of workers are underemployed. In other words, they’re working jobs below their education and skill level.
It’s easy to wallow if you just graduated with a Bachelor’s in sociology and can only get a job as a part-time cashier. But you need to take action to break into your dream career.
Being underemployed is a good reason to quit your job. But first, line up your next opportunity so you don’t end up right back where you started.
5. Your work environment is negative and stressful
If you’re a full-time employee, you spend 40 hours or more a week engaged with work. That’s a huge part of your day-to-day life. If your work environment is negative, it can take a serious toll on your happiness.
Of course, all jobs have stressors. But a good workplace culture makes you feel supported and valued, even when the job gets crazy.
If all you’re feeling is negative vibes, it could be time to quit your job. As you interview with new employers, make sure your next workplace puts more effort into developing a positive culture.
6. You hate getting out of bed in the morning
Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it — you may just hate your job, plain and simple. You’re not fulfilled by the work and you don’t enjoy the workplace. You dread going to work every time your morning alarm goes off.
If that’s the case, carefully consider what kind of role will make you happy in the future before seeking new opportunities. Life’s too short to hate your job. You may not land on your passion right away, but you deserve a certain level of job satisfaction.
7. You’re heading to grad school
Pursuing your Master’s or doctorate is another good reason to quit your job since it’s hard to work full time while attending grad school. But you should also make sure going back to school is the right option.
Going to graduate school costs time and money. Even if you don’t quit your job to solely focus on school, it might still be a good idea to quit your full-time job and look for something more flexible. Even working part time somewhere or finding a side hustle while in grad school can help.
In addition to hefty tuition fees, you also lose out on a year or more of full-time income. Before heading back to campus, consider the return on investment of your desired degree.
A good rule of thumb is this: You should make more in your first year after graduation than you have to borrow in student loans. If your starting salary will exceed your loan debt, going to graduate school could be a sound investment.
If the degree won’t advance your career, you’re better off staying put. You can try grad school once you clarify your professional and educational goals.
Before you leave your job
Ideally, you should confirm a job offer with a new company before leaving your current one. Then you don’t have to worry about losing your income since you’ll be moving into a new position soon. Plus, millennials who switch jobs actually end up with higher salaries than those who don’t, according to Payscale.
But before making the leap, consider why you’re job hopping. Does the new position better match your career goals? Have you learned about the company culture? Will your next role have the same problems as your current one?
Don’t change companies solely on a leap of faith. Do a thorough investigation into the next job and company. Make sure it offers what you’re missing now, whether it’s a supportive work environment, fair pay, or opportunities for advancement.
You can’t predict the future, but you can make an informed choice. If the new job appears to be an improvement, go for it.
Knowing when to quit your job and move on
Knowing when to switch jobs is challenging. Even if you’ve lined up another position, you’re still taking a risk.
Despite all your research, you can’t know exactly what the future will bring. Every big life change comes with a side of uncertainty and fear.
That’s why you should clarify your reasons for quitting your job before handing in your resignation letter. Make sure you have strong reasons for moving on and aren’t just acting on impulse.
Ideally, you’ve lined up another job, are returning to school, or you’ve built up a sufficient emergency fund to support yourself for several months.
As long as you’ve prepared, give yourself permission to make the leap. While you may not know exactly what’s ahead of you, you’ll be confident about leaving your old job behind.
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