Dr Eugene Brink
Quitting your job is never lekker and the process does leave you unmoored and often gutted.
But sometimes it is a necessary step prompted by circumstances and that facilitates growth. There is a plethora of reasons why someone would call time on a job and we have set about exploring the most significant ones. So, if you see some of these signs in your life, it is time to start drafting that resignation letter.
You dread going to work
This should be one of the most glaring signs that your job is no longer a good fit for you. Everybody gets the “Sunday blues” every now and then or endures a stressful period, but if it persists, worsens and seems permanent it is time to explore other options.
“Do you go to sleep every night dreading the next day of work? While it’s normal to have qualms about the work day, if you truly, deeply dread those eight hours at the office it is time to put in your two weeks’ notice,” writes Alison Doyle at The Balance Careers.
Thomas MacNeil, chief technology officer at eSalon, says that never wanting to go to work could mean you’ve outgrown your job. “This is the start of the discontent. You’ve switched from being passionate at work to feeling like you’re just trying to survive. There are always issues and problems at any job, you’re there to solve them, but whether you see them as challenges that help you grow or problems that burn you out is entirely perspective.
Though you should discuss your concerns with your manager, if nothing can be rectified, it’s likely smart to seek pastures new that make you want to run to the office . . . instead of running away,” he says.
Kathy Caprino, a senior Forbes writer covering career and personal growth, says the clearest sign that you need to change is how you feel about the work you do every day. “The majority of the time, are you feeling unhappy, depressed, thwarted, bored, misunderstood, mistreated? Do you feel that the ‘real you’ just can’t come out in this job, and the way you love to work isn’t honored or respected? Do you wonder how you ever ended up here, and fantasize daily about doing something very different?
“Don’t be in denial about your feelings – they’re pointing you to a very real situation that needs to be dealt with. Remember: You don’t have to be miserable or lose your sense of self in order to be gainfully employed.”
You’re too comfortable (and complacent)
This reason may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but it has solid merits. If you are too comfortable with what you’re doing, odds are that you are also bored with it and find it tedious and soul-crushing. This mind-numbing routine could be comforting for some and not too unbearable for a while, but being unchallenged for a prolonged period is a definite “push factor”.
“For those of us who are entrepreneurial-minded, stagnation is a breeder of resentment: for your job, your same old boss. If you find yourself in a position where your job is the easiest thing you have to do all day, it’s time to make a move,” says Julie Vessel, chief talent officer at MONO advertising agency.
Doyle says this could also be the result of being overqualified for the position you’re in. Sometimes we take inferior jobs because we simply need work and money, but she advises against staying stuck. Keep your eyes open for jobs that fit your skills and experience.
It’s taking a toll on your health and private life
Make no mistake: we spend an inordinate portion of our time at work and what happens at work doesn’t stay at work. We all experience work stress and even burnout at some stage. However, says Chris Chuang, cofounder and CEO of Republic Wireless, if you’ve noticed an extremely debilitating drain on your overall health and your ability to concentrate, it could be more than stress, but a bad career fit. “Work can be your passion, but it should not come at the cost of your life and health . . . ever. If your job is a detriment to your health, and your role or company does not allow flexibility or resources to improve it, then it’s time to move on. No job is worth sacrificing the one body you have.”
According to Doyle and Vessel, if you’re venting about your job too often to friends and family and bringing negative energy home, it’s time to move on. “Can you leave your emotional baggage at work? If not, then maybe it’s time to think about what is causing you to dislike your job, and consider what you wish was different. Then, go in search of something that offers that,” Vessel says.
Your work environment is way too toxic (or just not suited to your style)
Caprino says a job doesn’t solely entail the functions and duties of the job, but a myriad other factors. These include bosses, coworkers, the outcomes and aims of the company, etc.
“It’s one thing for your boss to provide constructive feedback, but it’s quite another to be constantly mistreated or ridiculed. Having a toxic boss or negative work setting can make a job unbearable. Considering how many hours most people spend at their jobs, you don’t want it to be an unhealthy environment or agonizing daily situation,” says CEO of ABS Staffing Solutions, Ariel Schur.
Doyle argues that if you want a flexible, work-from-home environment, but your gig is a traditional nine-to-five job, you will probably never be satisfied no matter how much you like other aspects of your position.
Alison Doyle, 24 February 2019, “Signs it’s time to quit your job”, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/signs-its-time-to-quit-your-job-2062292.
Kathy Caprino, 14 February 2017, “5 undeniable signs it’s time to leave your job”, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2017/02/14/5-undeniable-signs-its-time-to-leave-your-job/#65f207071539.
Lindsay Tigar, 11 January 2019, “8 signs you should quit your job”, https://www.fastcompany.com/90288009/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job.