Quitting Your Job: Are you Running Away or Running Toward?
Should I quit my job? It’s a question most people ask themselves from time to time. So how do you know if it’s time?
“Hello, How are Y…?” “Carl” interrupted my greeting before I could finish. “Karin, I have to quit my job.”
Not your typical Saturday morning phone call. Carl was fired up. He’s an old friend, and he’d been with his company for nearly two decades.
I figured he was calling to have me talk him off the ledge. I’m familiar with that ledge– I’ve been there, and I’ve talked more than a few off of it over the years. So I opened the window, climbed out, sat next to him, and listened.
Running Away or Running Toward?
I’ve always believed that running away is not the answer, much better to be running toward something better. His urgency had all the signs of a full-out sprint in one direction– away. But then I heard his story:
- “I’ve lost all respect for leadership.”
- “I fundamentally disagree with the values at play here.”
- “The wrong people are losing their jobs.”
- “I’m religious, and this just feels wrong.”
- “I was raised better than this.”
- “At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and feel like I wasted my years.”
Questions To Ask Before You Quit Your Job
Oh boy. This was going to be harder than I thought. If even half the stories were as bad as they sounded, the situation was extreme. “Why aren’t more leaving? I asked, already knowing the answer. It’s tough to leave the security of a well-paying gig. I continued with my line of questioning to help him answer his big question “Should I quit my job?”
- Are you sure you have the whole story?
- Have you shared your concerns with the leadership team?
- Have you talked with HR?
- What have you done to improve the situation?
- Have you looked seriously at other job prospects?
- Are you financially prepared to make less?
- Can you take some time off to think about it?
- Does your wife think you should go?
- Will you please wait until you have an offer to resign?
He answered, “yes” to all these “should I quit my job” questions.
And then he shared, “Karin, it’s almost Spring. I have a sense this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening. New growth, new life.” You write of Seasons. It’s time for a new one.
I realized my role was not to be talking him off the ledge, it was holding his hand while he jumped.
Sometimes running away is running toward.
Carl was running toward authenticity, wholeness, adventure, integrity, and peace.
9 Indications You’re In The Wrong Job
- Grouchy – Cranky leaders spiral downward, lose influence, and sap energy.
- Not Making An Impact – Effort exceeds results. Dissatisfaction dominates. Teams disengage. You go home defeated.
- Unable To Find Your People – You can’t find a kindred spirit anywhere. Unsuccessful searching for respected mentors aggravates the loneliness.
- Not Using Your Skills – Wasted gifts. No matter how hard you try, you can’t find a good way to leverage your best skills to improve your work.
- Emotionally Exhausted – Even the fun stuff feels hard. There’s no energy left for the after-work activities that make life good.
- Trapped – Motivations come from the periphery, not the job money, benefits, fear of having failed. You secretly wish you’d get fired.
- Overwhelmed – It’s all too much. There’s no way to get it all done.
- Quiet – Your refuse to talk about work to your family or friends. Even the question, how was your day makes your hair curl.
- Sick – A day off makes it worse. Thinking of the return creates headaches or inspires escape behaviors.
Before You Quit Your Job
It may be you’re in the wrong job. That’s okay. There’s a right job out there. Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter. Here are some suggestions:
- Go slow. It’s much easier to get a job when you have a job.
- Keep up the effort at your current job. Don’t quit in place.
- Take care of yourself. Take a vacation. Take time to exercise and sleep.
- Think about other jobs or volunteer gigs that you loved. What skills did you use? What did you find most fulfilling? Make a list of these characteristics.
- Arrange for informational interviews. Learn more about jobs you may enjoy.
- Talk to your boss (pause first)
- Share your feelings and explore options. Your boss may be relieved that you see the issue. Listen. There may be ways to modify your situation or find other jobs within the organization that are a better fit.
See also a great article on this topic from Jordan, Ever Consider Firing Yourself? 17 Reasons to Leave a Job You Hate
AND our new Infographic 5 Stages of Manager Soul Loss
You’ve landed “Should I quit my job” one of the very early articles on Let’s Grow Leaders, written while I was still in my executive role at Verizon. Since then I’ve done extensive research on leadership development, psychological safety, and courage at work. And, working with managers around the world on developing their human-centered leadership skills.
I’m glad you found us and would love for you to take a look at the first few chapters of our books. You can download the first chapters of Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results- Without Losing Your Soul at these links.
What questions would you ask someone who is wondering “Should I quit my job?”