I really enjoyed speaking with Alexander Kjerulf on Show #53 about being happy at work. It IS possible – and probably even easier to make a reality then you think. But it also got me thinking that sometimes it’s simply impossible. It’s my feeling that once you can’t smile at work – or at least feel good about what you do – it might be time to move on.
Making the decision to quit a job can be tough. Several years back I put in my two weeks notice WITHOUT having another job lined up. Some people said I was crazy (I had just gotten married and was carrying a mortgage), others thought it showed courage (nah, just big balls). In hindsight it was 100% the right decision to make. Sometimes you just gotta know when to fold ‘em. While I don’t pretend to be an expert, I figured I’d share a few things that I made sure I did before I quit. The road wasn’t perfect, but this stuff can help pave it a bit better.
- Quit today? Every single morning I’d tell myself ‘today is the day.’ My resignation letter was neatly typed (minus the date) just in case I felt the time was right. At the end of the day, I’d write down the reasons why I didn’t quit on that given day. You’ll be surprised when you see your logic on paper.
- Even my plan had a plan. You have to plan for three things when you quit without a job lined up: how you’ll survive financially, how you will market yourself to find a job, and what you’re plan will be if your other two plans fail (I did NOT have this one!). We’ll hit on the specifics of these plans in later entries. You can’t plan perfectly, life gets in the way – but prep is key. We plan for everything in our lives – quitting should be no different.
- Be centered. If you’re willing to quit without another gig, odds are your emotions are all over the place – particularly anger and/or depression. As impossible as it might seem, you need to try to get youself ‘centered’ for a period of time before you jump. You need to have clarity to make sure you’re making the leap for the right reasons. The day you decide you want to quit (see #1 again) – wait a week. It will feel like FOREVER – but you’ve been suffering for weeks, months or maybe years – what’s a few more days?
- Advice is Overrated. You can ask friends, family, co-workers and strangers until you are blue in the face. Only you know how your boss treats you, if you feel accomplished or if something is just simply not clicking. It’s nice to get other perspectives but I’m a big fan of instinct and doing what your gut tells you to do.
- It’s a full-time job finding a job. Bullshit. A lot of people tell themselves this (me included) and I think it’s BS. If you’re driven to jump ship – you will find a way to market yourself while you are still working. There are very rare occassions where it might be true. All I’m suggesting is that you ask yourself if you’re just talking in cliches to give yourself a weak excuse to get out.
A few warning signs that it’s time to move on:
- You dream of negative situations at work. It’s like working 24 hours straight.
- Your stomach sinks on Sunday at about 4pm knowing that tomorrow’s almost here.
- You’re taking your work emotions home with you and just being a dick.
- Negative internal dialogue about your boss and co-workers is incessant.
There’s so much more to this topic. We’ll cover it much more extensively on a future podcast. Also, check back really soon for our WorkHack on how to quit. It’s not something you do everyday so we wanna make sure you do it right.
Again, I’m not an expert and never pretend to be. I hope you’ll leave your comments and thoughts on this issue below. And please subscribe to our podcast to get the 411 on everything career related.Share Article