How to Know When it’s Time to Quit Your Job

Have you been craving a change in your professional life?

If so, sometimes the best way is to take a drastic step…and resign from your job.

But how do you know when it’s time?


The answer is different for everyone, certainly, and it depends on your personal situation. For financial or other reasons, you may need to secure a new position before tendering your resignation.

And, there are some common themes that can indicate that it is time to dust off that résumé , pack up, and move on.

A clue as to where to start: look at your top three to five values—are they being honored?

Here are some examples:

Management changes and reassigns you to work for someone you don’t respect.

Let’s say you are passed over for a promotion in favor of a person with less experience. That’s a challenging situation. I am all for learning how to work with people who have different temperaments and styles; in fact, that is an important life skill. Once you get past your bruised ego, you may very well be able to find a way to work together effectively. Stick it out for a while and make a 150% effort to proactively try to close the gap between you and your new manager.

If, after your best effort, that person treats you disrespectfully and takes actions that are out of line with your values, it may be time to move on.

Your mental or physical health is compromised.

Many people remain in a position surrounded by hostile co-workers or supervisors or where daily duties escalate their stress beyond healthy levels. If you develop conditions that require you to seek medical attention, for the sake of your well-being, it may be time to consider a change.

You have developed a reputation in the company and it does not match the direction you want to be moving in your career.

We all change our roles and responsibilities over time, and that keeps us moving forward in our career. Sometimes, though, you can get a reputation as being the go-to resource for a particular project or set of responsibilities, and even when taking on a new role, you may find that people won’t let you make the transition into the new role because they still come to you with questions/issues/problems about the old one.

Often, management can help you extract yourself by helping educate the team about the change, but if you find that others cannot make the shift, it may be time to pursue a new work opportunity where your reputation doesn’t precede you.

You don’t agree with the company’s direction and have lost faith in its business proposition and strategy.

If you are in this situation, you have three choices:

  1. Stay, and lobby hard to make a difference in the company’s direction;
  2. Stay, and be unhappy (not a great long-term strategy); or
  3. Resign.

Many people can plug away even when their work gets dull, uninspiring, or overwhelming, as long as they fundamentally see eye-to-eye with the company’s core values and direction. If that changes, the longer you stay—if you choose not to fight for change at the company level—the more you will find your spirit ebbing and your sense of satisfaction with your life and your job, decreasing.

Bottom line: when your top values are not aligned with the values your company espouses, it may be time to consider a change.

If you’re uncertain whether you should stay or go, determine your top values, and analyze those that are honored and those that are not honored. Connecting deeply with yourself in this way will give you the compass you need.

Leaving a job is a big decision, and it can often be the catalyst for bigger and better opportunities. You will have removed yourself from toxic people and environments and will have more time to pursue what you really want. It may be a struggle, but working toward your dream career is worth the hassle.

Photo credit: WanderingtheWorld ( via photopin cc

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