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Should I quit my job? 5 signs it's time for your next move

December 16, 2021 - 18 min read

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5 signs it's time to quit your job

When shouldn't you quit your job?

How do I quit my job?

3 problems to try to solve before you quit

Ask for help

Forty-one percent of employees are thinking about changing careers, according to the Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index Annual Report. We’re living in an era dubbed the Great Resignation, where more and more employees are considering leaving their jobs.

With an abundance of employment opportunities and a so-called “war on talent,” we know employees have options. You may be feeling like you’re ready for something new. You might’ve examined your own career goals, especially throughout the ongoing pandemic.

Data shows that workers who are voluntarily quitting their jobs hit an all-time high in September 2021. We also know that resignation rates are highest among mid-level employees.

This article helps you consider the below:

5 signs it's time to quit your job

Irrespective of how many roles you have quit in the past or whether this is your first time quitting a job, it is not easy. Here are five signs it may be time to quit your job.

A personal conflict, commitment, or change

Your personal life has changed and your current workplace cannot accommodate. Maybe your spouse was offered their dream job in another location. Maybe your current job involves traveling — and you know it’s not the lifestyle you want with a newborn baby. You might even be considering scaling back: moving from a full-time role to a part-time position. Or maybe, you have decided to go back to school to further your education. Once you have discussed with your manager and/or company and that nothing could be done to make it work, it’s probably time to enter the job search.

Lack of future opportunities

Many people have ambitions of advancing their career. Growing and being promoted allows you to gain new skills, take on more responsibilities, and have a greater impact. If professional growth is important for you, it’s a valid reason that would make you stay or leave a company.

For this reason, making a career change shows that you're ambitious and want to grow. However, be sure you have discussed your ambitions and prospects with your current work situation prior to making a decision.

Lack of motivation with the daily tasks

In a 2019 LinkedIn study, 35% of the 3,000 professionals surveyed said that the top reason they don’t like their job is that they don’t feel a strong sense of purpose. Most people like to see their work having a purpose and/or an impact. For some, it’s also important to feel challenged, hence contributing to your professional growth. If this isn’t the case in your current position, you may feel dissatisfied or unhappy.

Consider reflecting on your own role and see if you can find purpose, meaning, and impact in your day-to-day life. Before you consider seeking another role, see if you can make a change at your current job. Make sure you discuss this with your manager and see if any changes could be made that would make it worthwhile staying. However, if you’re unable to find a higher purpose or meaning in your current role, it might be time to look for something else.

A toxic work environment

A toxic work environment can include a misalignment (if not a clash) between your values and your company’s corporate values. Here are some tell-tale signs of a toxic company culture:

  • You don’t feel like you belong and don’t feel a sense of psychological safety
  • Your company’s leadership doesn’t align with your own personal values, mission, or purpose. Their leadership style impacts your overall well-being and mental health
  • You find the culture doesn’t promote healthy ways of working together — and staff might be treated poorly

When you work in a toxic environment, it can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health.

However, it is important to differentiate a challenging situation from a toxic one. Have you always felt the culture was toxic, or did something happen recently that might be a challenge to work through?

Ponder whether it could be worth having a conversation with your leadership or human resources (HR) business partner. There might be problems or issues that they are unaware of. If the problem is more fundamental or persists, you might consider seeking a new opportunity altogether. It’s important to not let yourself reach a breaking point for the sake of your overall well-being.

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You have a better opportunity somewhere else 

A valid reason for choosing to leave your current job is being offered a better opportunity elsewhere. Once you've received the job offer, deciding whether or not to accept it will probably feel like a big decision. I am a huge fan of pros and cons lists. Making a list can help you connect with your rational and pragmatic side in a situation where emotions and enthusiasm are very much present.

Here are a few points to ponder:

  • Pay and benefits. Does the new opportunity offer you a significant improvement in pay or benefits? Is this going to represent a noticeable increase in your living standards or those of your dependents?
  • Career opportunities and career development. Does the new offer include the possibility for further progression? Are these opportunities more promising than currently?
  • Relevance. Is the new opportunity more relevant to your education, experiences, and future plans?
  • Work-life balance. Is it going to allow you more time with your family? Does the new position offer more opportunities to pursue your priorities and interests outside of work?

should-i-quit-my-job-woman-walking-out

When you shouldn't quit your job?

For some, the question of "Should I quit my job?" might result in a simple answer: no. Here are some signs you should stay with your current employer.

You don’t want what you have now but you have no idea what you want next

Many people resent their current job or their current employer. Some describe it as the diametrical opposite to their ideal position. Yet they don’t know what could make them satisfied or motivated. It might be that you’re dissatisfied with your type of role. With open conversations and discussion, it might be possible to change your current role instead of looking for a new job altogether. You need to identify and vocalize what you want your next step to be — especially if you’re not sure what you want and haven’t received any job offers.

You’re burned out and you need a break

Have you been working around the clock without any time off? If you’re burned out from doing too much, taking some time away from work could help. You might consider exploring 7 different types of rest and making small, meaningful changes to your daily life and see if you feel a difference. It’s no secret that burnout rates (especially for women) are on the rise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start looking for a new position. A vacation, even if short, can give you clarity and will help you decide what the next step is.

You're receiving criticism from your boss

According to a Leadership IQ study, 46% of new hires fail because they lack the ability to accept feedback. The study also found that 23% of new hires can't recognize and manage their negative emotions and 15% have the wrong temperament.

I’d like to suggest reflecting on what it is about receiving constructive feedback that may be triggering for you. Is it the lack of safe space? Is it the type of delivery? Would designing a way of communication with your boss be helpful? Would it help to also hear what you’re doing well to help you put things into perspective?

Of course, if you feel your boss is a bully or is constantly undermining you, you shouldn't accept abusive behavior. But make sure that you're not confusing oppression with an unwillingness to accept feedback.

You were passed over for promotions

It’s never pleasant to be passed over for a promotion, especially if this means you end up reporting to a peer. However, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this type of decision. For example, some companies promote employees based on seniority in the role. Other companies promote employees that can not only motivate people but also hold them accountable.

If this is the only reason why you want to quit, try to discover the common denominator among those employees who've received promotions. By evaluating other employees' experiences, you might find out what they're doing that you are not. Could there be room for growth? Also, consider what you would do if you moved to another company and did not get promoted there.

How do I quit my job?

So, you might’ve decided that it’s time for your next move. If you’re ready to quit your job, here are some steps you can take to feel ready and prepared:

  • Prepare your resignation letter. Feel free to browse Google for some free templates.
  • Check your current contract for your notice period and any details relevant to your current benefits.
  • Talk to your boss. I’d always recommend this when the context is safe to do so. Talk about what you learned with your current role and how it allowed you to grow. Avoid being negative — it’s best to leave on good terms. However, remember you don’t have to justify why you’re leaving and you don’t have to share details you feel uncomfortable sharing.
  • Ask for a reference. It’s easier to do so while you are still working in your current position. This could also be in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation.
  • Finalize the details of your departure. Check about any unused vacation, sick pay, and how to transition (if needed) your pension plan or healthcare plan. Make sure you check details relative to your country or jurisdiction.
  • Prepare for an exit interview. Generally, companies offer the opportunity to share feedback on your experience prior to your departure. Ask your human resources contact about an exit interview — and prepare for what type of feedback you’d like to share.

3 problems you might be able to solve to avoid quitting 

While not ideal, there are some common workplace scenarios that are worth salvaging instead of going out to find a new job. Chances are you’ve experienced some form of these three scenarios in your career. Before finding a new opportunity, try seeing if you can employ some tactics to help improve the situation before you decide to pursue another job opportunity. These are good skills for any career path, and you might find it can actually help in your own career development.

Dealing with difficult people

Dealing with difficult people — leadership, co-workers, or stakeholders — can be a real problem in the workplace. Oftentimes, it drives us to consider leaving. But if you enjoy your role and feel challenged and motivated in your career path, you can take steps to help improve your situation.

Take some time to step back and check that you are not overreacting.
Talk through what you’re feeling with someone you can trust: a friend, a colleague, or your coach. Brainstorm possible ways to navigate the situation.
Approach the person with whom you are having the problem. Use the “I” communication approach: this is very important as it focuses on your experience of the situation rather than on accusing the other person. At the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about steps to move forward.

Lack of social connections

Feeling isolated or not connected to others in the workplace could also contribute to us wanting to quit. What could you proactively do to feel more connected? Here are things you may want to consider:

  • If the company doesn't host social events, you could take the initiative to invite a couple or more co-workers for a coffee or drink after work.
  • You could take time to really check in with your co-workers (even if this is on Slack!): did they have a restful evening? Or are their kids doing this week? Any plans for the upcoming weekend? It’s ok to take a few minutes at the start of a meeting or in your day to do so. You’ll see that after a while, most people will open up and will also ask you!

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Opportunity to improve your relationship with your manager

How could I improve the situation with my manager? Sometimes, we may feel that there is a whole world between us and our boss. We may struggle to find a way to move forward other than quitting.

However, make sure you have an honest conversation with your manager first and don’t hesitate to prepare for it with a trusted person or your coach. Also, consider whether it may be the right company for your but not the right direct reporting line. You might also consider enlisting the help of a coach to help you navigate improving your manager relationship.

Ask for help

It’s OK if you’re still asking yourself: should I quit my job? The decision to leave or stay in your job is your decision. But it can be very helpful to talk through it with a trusted friend or your coach. Brainstorming your next steps and talking through your list of pros and cons can be beneficial in such a situation. It could also help you get clear on your core values, gain perspective and help you evaluate alternatives. And finally, talking things out loud with someone else can even alleviate stress or anxiety.

should-i-quit-my-job-two-women-hugging-smiling

So whether you’re ready to put in some work with your existing position or think it’s time to find something new, know that you have all the tools, resources, and answers within you. You are the driver of your own career. Feel confident in the decision you made — I think you’ll find it will help to empower your own success.

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Published December 16, 2021

Fiorenza Rossini

Fiorenza works with global leaders and emerging leaders to maximize their impact in their leadership journey. Fiorenza specializes in periods of career transitions and supports the development of resilience, agile leadership skills, communication skills across cultures, and healthy work-life balance. Fiorenza is also a global facilitator, podcast host, mindfulness teacher, and MBTI practitioner.



Fiorenza is multicultural and multilingual in French, English, and Italian, and works in the 3 languages. She currently lives in London, England. She co-hosts The Belonging Project podcast which explores how belonging can show up in so many different ways, what it feels like to belong and the impact of truly belonging.

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