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When to Quit Your Job

Sometimes it takes more courage to quit your job than to stay, even when you know that you are unhappy. Questions such as, “Will I be able to find other work? Will things get better? Will this put my company in a bind?” may prevent you from making the right decision. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, it may a good idea to submit your two weeks’ notice.

When you have learned everything you can

When I applied for a teaching job in Japan, one of the requirements was to write an essay stating my goals. I found this to be extremely helpful in determining when I should end my contract: when I had achieved all three of the goals.

The ideal job will challenge you while providing opportunities for growth. If you have reached the point where you are doing the same repetitive tasks or are simply coasting, it may be time to look for something new. The chances are, with additional training or academic coursework, you may be able to use former experience to make an impact elsewhere.

When your personal circumstances change

There are many significant changes in life that may require a job change, most notably having a baby or getting married. These changes typically require committing time to other responsibilities whether it is child rearing, homemaking, or earning a second degree.

In these cases, switching to part-time work or a job closer to home may better suit your new circumstances. The use of various types of technology has made it easier to find jobs that allow you to work from home.

When your health is being affected

Some jobs such as corporate law or investment banking require work weeks between 50 and 70 hours. Even if you are not working long hours, the nature of you job may be incredible stressful. I worked in customer service where people were constantly complaining about why they didn’t or deserve the ticket they got or were entitled to certain parking privileges. If your job is leaving you constantly stressed and anxious with little time to rest, it may be time to leave in order to preserve your health. Increases in consumption of drugs or alcohol, weight gain or strained relationships are indicators that it might be time to leave.

When you have other options

In some cases, changing jobs is not an option due to things like an anemic job market or lack of qualifications. Before quitting your job, it is important to perform research. Will you have enough savings to live on between jobs? Are you willing to take jobs that you are overqualified for in the meantime (waitressing, freelancing, babysitting)? What is the condition of the job market? Consider consulting with a recruiter who can give you an opinion about your chances of landing a new job within a certain timeframe.

When it is not a good fit

Whether it is the personnel, atmosphere, or tasks, some jobs are just not a good fit. While every job you perform may not be your dream job, you have the right to find a job that is enjoyable and related to your interests. For the past year I took temp jobs in order to earn money while applying to business school and completing prerequisites. I thought that the poor job market and circumstances meant that I had to take any job that was offered. In the end, I realized that the customer service job which forced me to be around unhappy co-workers, do boring, repetitive tasks, and constantly deal with angry customers was not healthy and quit. I ended up finding a job as a receptionist where I got along much better with my co-workers, had more engaging tasks, and gave me time to study. If you are feeling unhappy, take some time to list the pros and cons of your job look for other jobs that can better satisfy your needs.

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