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9 Questions to Figure Out If It's Time to Quit Your Job

Before leaving your job, assess potential losses and options for improvement.

Have you been in the same role for years, finding yourself uninterested and unproductive in your current project, enduring prolonged periods of stress, or perhaps beginning to experience burnout symptoms?

However, if you're on the verge of quitting but feel something holding you back, it may be worthwhile to consider the reasons for staying. We present 9 questions to assist you in evaluating your situation and future.

#1. How long have I been feeling this way?

You might wake up dreading the thought of going to a job you can hardly tolerate. You could find yourself reluctantly heading to work, feeling apprehensive at the start of Microsoft Teams or Slack, and counting the minutes until you can relax at the end of the day. This routine can continue for years until you reach a breaking point and decide, "I've had enough."

However, if your dissatisfaction is a recent development, it's crucial to reflect on your feelings and identify the aspects of your job causing distress. Consider if there are specific parts of your role you can change to escape this negative cycle and achieve more job satisfaction.

For instance, a team leader may feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings, feeling trapped in continuous operational discussions. If this describes your situation, assert control over your agenda. Assess the importance of each meeting, focus on those where your presence is crucial, and try to set aside one day each week as a meeting-free day.

#2. Is my job the main source of my stress?

The impact of job satisfaction on our overall well-being is significant. A large majority of people (86%) acknowledge that happiness at work influences their mood at home and their self-confidence.

If the bulk of your stress is not coming from your job, leaving might not improve your well-being. However, if work-related issues are the primary cause of your stress, indicated by symptoms like disrupted sleep or unhealthy eating habits, it might signal the need for change.

#3. Am I simply feeling physically exhausted?

The difficulty in maintaining clarity of thought increases when exhaustion, both physical and mental, sets in. Alarmingly, statistics show a rising trend in individuals experiencing professional burnout and ongoing stress each year. Furthermore, research by the Gallup Institute reveals that 23% of employees often or always feel burned out, with an additional 44% feeling burnout sometimes.

This issue of exhaustion frequently affects professionals who rapidly climb the career ladder, taking on more responsibilities and often falling into patterns of overwork.

If your job has become the sole defining factor of your worth, leading you to feel trapped, quitting may seem like the only escape. However, this action means giving up on financial stability and the fulfillment that comes from achieving professional goals.

A more prudent approach would be to explore strategies for better managing your time. Consider adopting time management techniques or advocating for an expansion of your department within the company. Alternatively, taking a vacation or a sabbatical could provide the necessary break for rejuvenation, allowing you to return to your work with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy.

#4. Has work just become boring for me?

Being tasked with too little can be just as detrimental as being overwhelmed with too much. When individuals find themselves mired in simple, repetitive, or dull tasks, their interest and motivation can wane rapidly. Boredom at work is not a trivial matter – it can have a profound impact on mental health, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression.It's concerning to note that fewer than one-third of workers in the U.S. feel engaged in their jobs. Moreover, boredom was cited as the primary reason for job change by 20% of those who switched jobs in 2021.

Frederic Denard, an employee at the French company Interparfums, took legal action against his employer in 2016, alleging intolerably dull work conditions. In 2020, he won his case, with The Paris Court of Appeal awarding him €50,000 in damages.

Before considering quitting, explore every avenue to make your situation better:

  • Seek out professional development opportunities: Arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth within the company. Many organisations have Learning and Development (L&D) departments that can help you create a personalised development plan and might even cover the costs.
  • Engage in pet projects: Adopt Google's "20% time" philosophy, which allows employees to dedicate a portion of their work hours to projects they are passionate about and that can benefit the company. This can be a refreshing break from routine tasks and spark creativity.
  • Offer mentorship: Assist new colleagues in adapting to the workplace. If your company has a mentorship program, get involved by setting clear objectives and providing regular, constructive feedback.
  • Request a project change: If you feel that your skills are underutilised, talk to your employer about moving to a different project that may be more challenging and engaging.

#5. Do my values align with those of the company?

It's common to assume that personal values naturally align with those of one's employer, but this assumption can be quickly disproven when faced with situations that contradict one's core beliefs.

Experiencing or witnessing actions such as a less qualified individual being promoted over a more experienced colleague, or seeing someone unfairly blamed for mistakes, can highlight a significant misalignment between your values and those of the company. This realisation often serves as a powerful motivator for employees to reconsider their current job situation.

#6. What do I truly want to do?

Determining how you envision your life can be complex. Can you resolve your dissatisfaction without changing jobs? If enhancing your current role isn't possible, you might need to consider other avenues:

  • Seeking a new role within your current industry.
  • Moving to a similar position in a different sector.
  • Exploring opportunities in entirely different fields.

Choosing to change jobs is profoundly personal, influenced by your job satisfaction, career goals, and the opportunities available. Weigh the advantages and drawbacks of staying versus leaving, ensuring your decision aligns with your core values, aspirations for growth, and overall well-being.

#7. What would I lose by quitting?

Leaving a job means considering the trade-offs. Reflect on what you're potentially giving up – like a supportive work environment, unique benefits, competitive salary, job security, the freedom to try new approaches without fear of failure, and the comfort of routine. These aspects can help you determine if you're ready for a change.

Reflect on the key benefits of your current role or company. Think about what you value most that might not be present in a new job. Additionally, keep an eye on job listings in your field to understand what you may be sacrificing if you decide to leave.

#8. Have I exhausted all options to improve my situation?

If you've been thinking about leaving for a while, you've likely pinpointed what doesn't meet your needs. Yet, if you haven't shared these concerns with your employer, it's time to do so.

It's essential to know if these issues are addressable. While you might not influence some factors, like leadership or the work environment, negotiating work hours or salary is often possible.

#9. Do I have the financial security to quit?

It's recommended to have an emergency fund covering six months of expenses to navigate potential periods of unemployment. However, saving this amount can be daunting. Aim for a financial safety net of at least three months' expenses as a more attainable goal.

Consider extending your current employment a few more months to save more money. Also, factor in potential earnings from your next job. Carefully calculate these figures to ensure you can meet your essential needs, giving you the confidence to make a move.

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