Horrible bosses. Crazy co-workers. Thankless work and long hours that seem never-ending. These are common complaints from employees nationwide who feel fed up with their jobs.
But how do you know whether the negative sentiments you have about your workplace are just feelings of burnout — or maybe even exaggerated in your own head – versus more serious issues that require action?
If you’re thinking about handing in a letter of resignation and kissing your job good-bye, don’t do anything rashly. Instead, think through whether the source of your discontent is solvable, or whether your job troubles aren’t really likely to be fixed.
In cases where deep-rooted, intractable problems in the workplace exist, quitting your job may be the perfectly prudent thing to do.
In fact, here are 7 good reasons to quit your job.
You’re not learning anything
Sometimes, people get fed up with their jobs simply because they’re bored with the work or it’s so mindless because there’s no creativity or challenge involved. It’s even worse when you look up the organizational chain and feel like you know more than your boss – so even that person can’t teach you anything!
Before you chalk up your displeasure on the job to a lack of meaningful work, be sure that you’re not writing off good, potential opportunities prematurely.
Can you transfer to another department? Is there another division within your company where you can do cross-training? Would a promotion offer more challenge? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, perhaps you should stick it out to see if there’s more growth available with your current employer.
But if you are very confident that you’ve sort of peaked at your present place of employment, and there’s not much more room for you to grow and learn, it’s probably time to move on.
Your health is being damaged
Some people get stressed out at the very thought of going into their job each day. And Mondays are the worst.
If you’re toiling in a hostile work environment, or are the victim of sexual harassment, racial discrimination or any other highly distasteful circumstances at work, that scenario could be impacting your health.
No job is worth you having high blood pressure, enduring sleepless nights, anxiety, depression or developing an ulcer.
If you’re convinced that your job is causing any of the above symptoms (or anything similar), seek immediate medical help, as well as help for problems like harassment and racial discrimination, both of which are illegal.
Take your issues to Human Resources or do whatever is necessary to voice your concerns about the factors that make your workplace untenable. If the issue doesn’t get fixed pronto, do yourself a favor and find another job.
Both your mental and physical health depend on it.
You are woefully underpaid
We all would like to make more money. But there comes a time when you’re just ridiculously underpaid. You know it. Your boss knows it. And practically everyone in your workplace knows it too.
The challenge here is to see why you’re so underpaid, compared with everyone else.
Are you truly lacking in some areas? Are your interpersonal skills or technical skills up to snuff? Do you have the same education and experience as your better-paid colleagues?
If the answer to that latter question is “yes,” be prepared to make a case to your boss as to why you deserve a raise. Note that I didn’t say to “ask” or “beg” for a raise.
Most bosses don’t care about your financial problems, the fact that your housing costs have risen or that you have a kid going off to college. So don’t approach a conversation about salary from a position of need or greed.
Instead, negotiate from a position of strength based on your track record.
Start documenting everything you do, the ways in which you contribute, and what you bring to the organization. Then present that information to your employer and explain, calmly but passionately, why you have earned a merit-based increase. (Not a cost-of-living adjustment. Those aren’t keeping pace with the true cost of living anyway).
If your boss says “No” make a point to get his or her agreement to re-visit the issue in the not-too-distant future, like six months from now. Make a plan that you both concur will clearly demonstrate that you’ve done all that’s asked of you (and more), so that when you go back for another discussion, six months later, it’s clear that you should get the raise.
Be mindful, of course, that some employers will play games and string you along. They’ll say: “there’s a pay freeze right now” or “nobody’s getting raises.” That old line only works for so long.
Ultimately, if you keep getting turned down for raises and your company is vastly underpaying you, you’re better off in the long run taking the hint and taking your talents elsewhere.
You haven’t received a promotion in a very long time
Like the underpaid worker, if you’re an employee who hasn’t received a promotion in what seems like forever, you may be tempted to quit your job. And your feelings may be justified.
Again, before you make a final determination, make sure you’ve legitimately earned a promotion and have done everything possible to demonstrate that and to communicate it rationally to your superiors.
Going for extended periods of time without a promotion is fine with some people. Frankly, they’d rather not have the additional workload or responsibilities.
But if you’re a person who desires advancement, and it just never materializes – especially when others around you have been promoted – your instincts about quitting are probably spot on, and you should go ahead and resign.
You’ve become toxic
Another good reason to quit your job is when you’ve become so disenchanted with your work or the people you have to deal with, that you’re just plain toxic.
Toxic employees come in all stripes: some are overly negative; others are gossipers; some are obstructionists in the workplace; others are shockingly rude to co-workers, customers and vendors. Whatever their problems, toxic employees are basically downers and bad news in the workplace.
What you may not realize, though, is that being toxic is also hurting you. Your workplace happiness is being further sapped, and you’re allowing yourself to spend countless hours at a place where you’re bitter and miserable. That’s no way to pass 8 to 10 hours a day.
If you’re so fed up with your work situation that it’s causing you to lash out against others, be honest with yourself. Are you part of the problem? Is there anything about yourself – like your attitude – that you can and should change?
If you’re not willing or able to change, or you truly detest where you work, just end the vicious cycle going on, and quit.
You have better options elsewhere
One positive reason to quit your job is that you’re a person on the move, in the best of ways, and you already have a better option lined up.
Many people get job overtures – either from headhunters, industry connections they have, or others — but they’re sometimes afraid of making change.
Obviously, you should carefully think through any new career opportunity. But don’t be held back by fear or guided by an unwillingness to step out of your comfort zone.
Often, saying “yes” to a new job opportunity is a critical key to career success.
So if someone’s offered you a better position (with “better” being defined on your own terms: higher pay, better hours, more flexibility, additional responsibilities, etc.), go for it!
Quit your job and say “yes” to the stepping stone that lays before you.
You’re ready to make the leap to entrepreneurship
A final good reason to quit your job is if you’re finally ready to go from employee to employer.
Millions of American workers dream of quitting their jobs in order to become entrepreneurs, but only a fraction of employees have the courage to do so.
Once you’ve researched a business idea, perhaps even done it as a side hustle for a while, and you’re committed to making your business work as a full-time enterprise, that’s a very valid reason to quit your job.
Don’t “bet the farm” on your small business. Make well thought out financial moves and use more of your sweat equity than your cash when possible.
But as all successful entrepreneurs know, taking some risk is all part of the life of being your own boss.
And for many small business owners, the independence, financial upside and control that goes with calling your own shots makes it all worth it – especially worth quitting a job they’ve long ago outgrown.