2014 is finally here. For a fresh start, 5 of my friends are leaving their long dreaded jobs and 10 of them are having thoughts of ‘shifting gears’ or changing careers.
Quitting your job is one of the most crucial and perhaps the most stressful decisions one can make. Our job fills a large part of our lives like; we spend an average of forty hours or even more at our jobs every week (I spent fifty-two hours in my case). Many of us are defined by the careers we have. For instance, when we meet someone new the first question that comes up is “What do you do” or “Where do you work” and people answer it with an automatic job description. Just as it is important in our personal account, our job is also a way of earning a living. Through our jobs, we are able to afford life’s basic necessities or pleasures. So whatever our reason for having a job, losing it will cost us a lot. The decision whether to stick it out or leave a job and explore new opportunities is considered to be a very tough judgment call.
After going through 6 jobs and working on 13 years here and abroad, I have learned to identify the signs that one may consider in deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on that letter of resignation. Here are top 7 signs it is time to quit your job.
- FINANCIAL STATUS OF THE COMPANY IS IN JEOPARDY– If your company is experiencing deepening financial woes like they are continually downsizing or in shrinking markets or always up for sale, then it is time to consider finding a new job. While it might be noble to stay on board and try to help with the transition, the chronic uncertainty and feeling of uneasiness will not do much in your personal growth. Why go down with the ship when you can go somewhere else that has a perfect line of sight to the future? Staying with this company is like putting on your life ‘preserver’ jacket and getting in the deep blue water where you are clueless if there is any rescue coming in (take for instance the tragedy in ‘TITANIC’). We can’t take ‘wait and see’ for an answer so better pull the trigger and start moving on.
- YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR STATUS IN THE COMPANY; NOWHERE TO ADVANCE – At every job we take, there is an expected rhythm of advancement. It could be a linear thing of promotion, taking more responsibility, getting new challenges and increase income or a notice of employment status from casual to regular. Knowing your status in the company gives you a sense of security and pride that you contribute immensely to the organization you are identified with and your skills and utmost performance are valued. Advancements are necessary to inspire and motivate employees to do great jobs. No one wants to be the same as they were ten years from the date they have been hired. In my experience, having a long stint at a job with no sign of advancement will not only hurt your career but also your attitude towards your work; being consistently stressed, negative and unhappy. If you find yourself topped out at your job, without any advancement opportunity then it is a good reason to bust out the want ads and start looking. The last thing you want is to work your ass off for years only to realize that all they can offer you is a pat on the back and a plaque of recognition for your years of dedicated service.
- YOU ARE NOT CHALLENGED; STAGNATING AT YOUR JOB – How would you describe your workday? Is it monotonous to the point that you are constantly fighting boredom? Have you completely and utterly mastered the art of pretending to work that you literally know every single spot to sneak a nap in the office at working hours? At the sound of early morning alarm, do you feel compelled to start sobbing into your pillow because it is time to go to work again? Have you mentally checked out? Have you outgrown the position? Have you lost that spark; that instead of looking forward to your day, your focus is more on surviving the day? Do you seem to work the same job day in and day out? If your answer to my question is all Y-E-S. Then you should dig deep and rethink your job status. You could decide whether to discuss new opportunities with your boss or leave your dreadful job entirely for new opportunities elsewhere.
- INDIFFERENCE- One thing I have learned in my 13 working years, every company has their own corporate culture. There is a distinct attitude to every company. If your company has the profile of strict corporate nunnery and you are more of a free-spirited-redhead-persona, it doesn’t matter how well-suited you are for the position, eventually the environment is going to grate on you. Of course, I am not saying that you need to quit as soon as you realize that people in the office are kind of different from you. These of course are little cues that can be a big deal or a real problem. Indifference does not only pertain about people or your working environment but also about how your company operates. If you don’t believe in your company and with what you are doing, then it is time to move on. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice a piece of paycheck for peace of mind, stand up for your principles and protect your soul. Remember, staying is scarier than leaving your job.
- YOUR BOSS IS A DEVIL IN PRADA – I assume everyone knows the movie ‘The devil wears Prada’. Well, here is the story; I was once in the shoes of Andy Sachs. Long time ago, I have this boss who left me with this permanent state of panic. For a year of working with her, I always find myself awake at night with an anxious feeling. From time to time, I kept on replaying our conversations to decipher what went wrong (seriously her requests are unrealistic). Every day was like a mission impossible. I have experienced a constant feeling of inadequacy; like I was inept in everything I do. Being near to her was literally like burning to death. One time, she yelled at me for no reason at all. She screamed like I was the only person living on earth and reprimanded me for what seems like forever. Without a word, I turn my back on her and decided to quit. So the moral lesson here is: If your boss needs an exorcism. Run (or better yet, SPRINT) and never return! Don’t wait for all your sanity to leave you. Life is beautiful not a living hell.
- YOU DON’T ENJOY WORK – Life is too short to spend on things you don’t like and not passionate about.
- YOUR DUTIES HAVE CHANGED/ INCREASED, BUT THE PAY HASN’T. Need not to say more. It’s self-explanatory. Be practical.
Sometimes it is holding on that keeps us going but it is also letting go that makes us stronger and wiser. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotations from Steve Jobs, he likened a job to matters of the heart.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all the matters of the heart, you will know when you find it.”
Hope this article clears the cobwebs of those who plan to shift gears. Have faith! This year will be for us!
- Is it time for you to switch jobs? (consumersresearch.org)
- High Unemployment and the Bad Boss (hirefireandretire.wordpress.com)
- Quits Are Up: 7 Employee Retention Strategies Your Company Must Have (forbes.com)