Ever find yourself staring at the clock, desperately counting down the minutes until you can escape the daily grind, and wondering when to quit your job? Sounds all too familiar, right?

Most of us have been there at some point, but how can you tell if it’s just a rough patch or it’s time for a more radical change?

Everyone’s experience may vary, but if these five common signs persist, it’s time to think about quitting your job:

  • chronic stress
  • negative impact on your health
  • lack of growth opportunities
  • misalignment between your values and the company’s
  • or constantly fantasizing about another career

Of course, occasional stress or discontent at work is normal. But if you constantly face problems that affect your well-being, or leave you feeling unhappy, it might be time to think about changing jobs. The key is to recognize when these issues are persistent and severe enough to take action.

Just remember that before making any rash decisions, weigh crucial factors like financial stability, current job market demand, and your long-term career goals.

Signs that it's time to move on

It's important to note that everyone's experience will vary, so what may seem like a cause for concern in one person's case may not apply to another. 

However, if you identify with even one of these, something should change. 

With this in mind, we've compiled a list of five common signs that suggest it's probably time to move on from your current job:

when to quit your job

Disclaimer: It's normal to experience the following signs from time to time. However, if you feel like it's a persistent, looming feeling that didn't go away even after you tried addressing it with your manager, these signs may indicate a need for a change or even quitting the job.

1. You're chronically stressed or unhappy

If your job consistently leaves you feeling overwhelmed and miserable, this could be a sign that it's not the right fit. A certain level of stress is normal, but when it becomes a persistent burden, it's time to seriously consider a change. 

Some indicators of chronic stress or unhappiness at work include:

  • Dread at the thought of going to work
  • Constantly feeling overwhelmed by your workload
  • Suffering from Sunday night blues on a regular basis
  • Lacking motivation and enthusiasm for your work tasks

If you frequently experience these feelings, you should first try addressing these concerns by initiating a discussion with your manager. Perhaps some adjustments or accommodations can be made to help alleviate the stress. 

However, if these conversations yield no improvement, it may be time to start searching for a job that better aligns with your career goals and contributes to a healthier work-life balance. 

Prolonged stress and unhappiness can negatively affect other areas of your life; hence, it's essential to evaluate and address the root cause. 

2. Your job is affecting your mental and physical health

Prioritizing your physical well-being is non-negotiable for ensuring long-term success and satisfaction in both your personal and professional life. 

If your job is taking a toll on your mental and physical health, it's vital to take notice and act accordingly. 

Here are some common health issues caused by job-related stress to look out for:

  • Insomnia or poor sleep quality
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Digestive issues due to stress
  • Weakened immune system

Does any of these ring a bell? Then be honest with yourself about how your work situation may be negatively impacting your health. 

You may need to evaluate your current job and consider making necessary changes, like adjusting your workload, setting boundaries, or even seeking a new work environment. 

If your health continues to suffer, discuss your concerns with a medical professional and your manager or HR department.

Remember that taking care of your mental and physical well-being must always be at the forefront of your career decisions. 

If your job consistently threatens your health, moving on to a more balanced and supportive environment might be the best course of action.

3. There's no room for growth 

Professional development and growth play a significant role in maintaining a fulfilling and rewarding career. If you find yourself in a dead-end job with no prospects for advancement, it might be time to reconsider your current position.

Here are some signs and situations indicating a lack of growth opportunities:

  • Absence of training or development programs
  • Limited or no opportunities for promotions or raises
  • Lack of recognition for your achievements and contributions
  • A stagnant learning curve due to repetitive tasks
  • Company culture that doesn't support personal growth

As a first step, try addressing these concerns by initiating a discussion with your manager about potential promotion opportunities or additional development resources to enhance your skill set further. 

If these conversations don't lead to any positive changes, it might be time to take a different approach.

Considering other job prospects within the same company or even searching for new opportunities in a different organization can pave the way for your professional growth. 

Remember, it's essential to prioritize your career development and seek roles that provide you with the challenge and motivation you need to thrive in your work journey.

4. Your values and the company's values misalign

Finding a company that shares your personal values is key to enjoying your work and making it a fulfilling part of your life. 

But when there's a mismatch between your ideals and the company's principles, it can leave you feeling like you don't belong, and overall unsatisfied in your role.

Value misalignments may manifest in several ways, for example:

  • A company that prioritizes profits over employee well-being or ethical practices
  • Lack of diversity and inclusion initiatives within the organization
  • A hyper-competitive internal culture that undermines teamwork
  • Disregarding environmental sustainability or social responsibility concerns
  • Poor focus on work-life balance, with expectations to work long hours or be constantly connected

If any of these situations sounds suspiciously familiar, it might be time to consider a shift to a company or role that resonates better with your core beliefs.

Don't forget that finding the right fit is about more than just personal well-being; it's also a key ingredient for crafting a career that feels meaningful and authentic.

5. You're constantly fantasizing about a different career

Let's start with a quick exercise — answer the following questions honestly. 

Do you often find yourself…

…Spending your free time researching other fields or industries?

…Feeling envious of friends' or acquaintances' careers?

…Talking or dreaming about pursuing a specific passion or interest?

…Continuously seeking out new skills that don't align with your current job?

…Feeling uneasy thinking of a long-term career path within your current profession?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be an indication that, surprise-surprise, you're yearning for a different career.

When you experience an inner pull towards other passions and pursuits, it's essential to pause and evaluate your current job satisfaction. Ignoring these feelings may only lead to a deeper sense of dissatisfaction and frustration down the line. 

Instead, it's crucial to recognize and address these emotions as they can serve as guideposts for a career that's more fulfilling and aligned with your values and interests. 

Now, even though you may feel you have decided to quit and move on, making an impulsive decision without considering some key factors before can lead you to a worse position than your current sucky job. 

Key factors to consider before quitting your job

Factors to consider before deciding to quit your job

Making a hot-headed decision and quitting your job without weighing the consequences might feel liberating at first, but it could also set you up for disappointment and difficulties down the line. 

That's why it's essential to take a step back and think about the various personal, financial, and professional aspects before leaving a job. 

Here are five key factors to consider when deciding whether to quit your job:

  1. Have you expressed your concerns to your manager? Before making any definitive decisions, you should have an open discussion with your boss/manager to see whether any improvements can be made or solutions can be found within your current role. This conversation can help clarify your situation and potentially pave the way for positive changes.
  2. Your financial stability and safety net. Consider whether you have enough savings to support yourself and cover your expenses during your job search or if transitioning to a new job could create a financial burden.
  3. The current job market and the demand for your skillset. Research job opportunities within your field and how your skillset stacks up against other candidates. An unfavorable job market might make it more challenging to find a new position.
  4. Your personal life and relationships. Consider how your job may be affecting your personal life, including family, friendships, and leisure activities. Take into account whether quitting your job might improve or worsen these aspects of your life.
  5. Potential risks and benefits of leaving your current job. Weigh the pros and cons of quitting your job, including the potential impact on your professional reputation or missing out on upcoming promotions or projects. At the same time, consider the opportunities that might arise from moving on to a new job or industry.

In addition to reflecting on these factors, seek input from trusted friends or mentors, research potential new employers or job industries, and conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of your decision. 

Will leaving your job at this time lead to greater personal and professional fulfillment? Or is it not the best time to leave?

By carefully considering the potential consequences and rewards of quitting, you're more likely to make a choice that you won't regret.

How to prepare for quitting your job

While quitting a job might look like a breeze in movies, it's crucial to recognize that there are several steps you should take before leaving to ensure a smooth transition. 

Here are five key steps to follow when preparing to quit your job:

  1. Assess your financial situation and create a budget. Before making any significant career move, ensure that you have enough savings to support yourself during the job search process. Creating a budget can help you manage your finances effectively as you transition between jobs.
  2. Begin networking and searching for job opportunities. Start connecting with professionals in your field, attending networking events, and use platforms like LinkedIn to look for new job openings. This proactive approach will increase your chances of securing a new position quickly.
  3. Prepare a resignation letter. Compose a professional resignation letter that clearly states your intention to leave your job. This document should include some key components, such as the resignation statement, final day of employment, and credentials of both you and the recipient. 
  4. Think about your notice period. Review your employment contract to understand the required notice period and how it aligns with your planned exit. In the United States, a two-week notice is a common courtesy, although not legally required. However, in many other countries, notice periods are legally binding and contractual. 
  5. Make a plan for any downtime between jobs. It's possible that you might experience a period of unemployment between leaving your current job and starting a new one. To make the most of this time, consider taking on temporary work or upskilling through courses or certifications that can boost your career prospects.

Remember, careful planning and taking a well-thought-out approach will help ensure a smoother transition as you embark on a new professional journey.

Key takeaways: When to quit your job?

Life's too short to be stuck in a job that doesn't spark joy — Marie Kondo would undoubtedly agree.

As a recap, if these five signs persist even after you tried addressing them, it's time to move on:

  1. You're chronically stressed or unhappy
  2. Your job is affecting your mental and physical health
  3. There's no room for growth
  4. Your values and the company's values misalign
  5. You're constantly fantasizing about a different career

Before making the decision to quit, also weigh other essential factors like your financial stability and the demand for your skills in the job market. Thoughtful consideration is key in making a well-informed choice.

Lastly, prepare a proper strategy before quitting your job. This includes writing a professional resignation letter, assessing your financial situation, and actively searching for new job opportunities. 

Published on June 6, 2023