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When Is It Time to Leave a Job? (How to Know When to Move On)

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Many employees ask the question, "Should I quit my job?" This is a question that many employees struggle with every day. 

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Are you wondering: Should I quit my job? (Image source: Envato Elements)

Many people don't know how to properly tackle this problem. This ends up with them making the wrong decisions in their careers. Thankfully, there's a systematic way to take on this question and make the best decision for your situation. 

The Great Resignation: People Are Quitting Their Jobs

Now more than every people are quitting their jobs. 2020 and 2021 have been incredibly hard on many people. The pandemic has changed how people work and how they perceive their work. Workers are reflecting on what a high-quality job actually means to them.

Read more about personal values here:

According to a 2021 Gallup Poll, a staggering 48% of Americans are willing to quit their jobs to find a more fulfilling one. 

One main part of jobs that the pandemic has changed is the work life balance. Employees are demanding more work life balance. This is the number one reason why employees are considering moving to a new organization. 

In 2020, 30% of employees in a iHire Talent retention report stated that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current job (via Small Business Trends).

This dissatisfaction leads to employee disengagement in the workplace. This impact was felt worldwide. A 2021 Gartner Survey shows that in Australia, 9% of workers were considered 'engaged'. This means they were showing the high discretionary effort and high intent to stay with their current employer. For reference, the global average is 16.5% of worker engagement. 

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Stress may be one of the signs you should quit your job. (Image source: Envato Elements)

In the United States, even more statistics from the iHire talent report confirm how workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. 18.8% admit to being ‘‘very satisfied’ with their jobs, while 31.9% feel ‘somewhat satisfied,’ and 19.8% were lukewarm towards their jobs.

So how many people have actually changed jobs?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that over 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. On top of this, the Gallup poll shows that 48% of the U.S. working population is actively searching for other jobs.  The Gartner survey shows that in Australia, 4% of employees are actively seeking other employment. 

Besides work-life balance, one of the main driving factors of "The Great Resignation" is burnout. During the pandemic, a few industries saw increases in demand such as the health care and tech industries. Resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in these fields. The increased work leads to burnout and eventually resignation. 

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Work life balance is one of the reasons to quit a job. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Work life balance remains the top reason that employees leave their current organization. This trend looks to continue into the future.

Is It Okay to Quit a Job?

It's absolutely okay for you to quit your job, but only for the right reasons. Before you leave your current employer, you should be 100% sure that you want to resign. Any quick and unthoughtful decision to leave your job should be avoided at all costs. 

So, what are the reasons to quit a job?

Below we've compiled a list of reasons on why you would want to quit your job and how to handle your resignation. Also, we include ways that you can reconsider quitting for the specific circumstance where applicable. 

1. Returning to School

If you're planning on returning to school, quitting your current job can definitely be acceptable. Whether you're retraining for a new career or looking to further your education in the industry that you're working in, schooling can take precedence over your current job. Adding classes and study time can conflict with your current work schedule, so your job may no longer be a good fit.

Here's a tutorial that can help you set goals:

2. Relocation

If you're moving, you might not have a choice but to quit your current job. Always check with your employer to see if there are any opportunities to relocate with your current company or work remotely. 

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If you're moving, you may need to quit your job. (Image source: Envato Elements)

3. Scheduling

This mostly applies to people that have children. If you've got a child and can't find the appropriate child care hours that'll accommodate your work schedule, you may have to resign. Be sure to talk to your boss before putting in your resignation letter. You and your employer may be able to work out a schedule change for this particular situation. 

4. Anxiety

Anxiety can be crippling. Especially if it continues for long periods of time. If your workplace environment is causing you anxiety, it might be time to quit. Before you quit, try and remedy the situation first. Find out what's causing your anxiety and try and fix it. If there are certain employees or superiors that are causing this, be sure to have a conversation with them about your anxiety. 

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If your job is causing too much anxiety, it could be one of the signs that you should quit your job. (Image source: Envato Elements)

5. Illness 

Your health is the most important thing in this situation. If you or close family members are experiencing serious illness, it's okay to resign. Be sure to check with your employer if you've got continued health coverage if you resign though. Also, you may also be eligible for family and medical leave is you or a close family member has an illness. Make sure to consider these options before you just quit your job. 

6. You Hate Your Job

If you hate your job, it's okay to quit. But only under certain circumstances. Make sure that you've got another job lined up before you do quit your job. Don't just wake up one day and quit. Make sure you've got a plan lined up and leave your current employer on your own terms. 

Here's some further advice on how to quit a job:

7. Changing Careers

If you're changing careers, your current position won't work for you anymore. People look for new careers all the time. Whether that be for new opportunities or the chance to engage in a completely different type of work. Again, make sure that you've got a plan for your new career before resigning. 

If you quit your job, you may be asked to do an exit interview. Here's some advice on how to handle that:

Besides this list, there are other circumstances where you'll want to quit your job immediately. This is where action can and should be taken right now to leave your current job. 

The three main signs you should quit your job immediately are:

  1. You're harassed.
  2. The workplace is unsafe.
  3. You're asked to do something illegal or immoral. 

Each situation should be taken very seriously and should be considered case by case.

For example, if you're being harassed by a co-worker, you might not have to quit your job immediately. You can talk to your boss and have the other employee removed from the company. That way you don't have to quit your job. 

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Many employees are choosing to resign rather than stay in a job that doesn't fit. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If your employer tells you to do something illegal, this could be a case for quitting immediately. You can talk to your employer about the illegal situation and if they still want you to proceed, you can put in your resignation. 

The best advice is to think calmly through each of these serious situations first and then take action.

How to Know When to Quit Your Job (Pros and Cons)

There are pros and cons to every decision and the decision to quit your job is no different. In this next section, we'll cover the pros and cons of quitting your job. You can use this section as a guide for when you go through the process of deciding whether you want to stay at your current job or not. 

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Before resigning from your job, be sure to consider the pros and cons. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Pros of Quitting Your Job

Here are some five positives to consider about leaving your current job:

  1. Better Opportunities. If there's a better opportunity available to you, then quitting your current job is for the best. This opportunity can be a better job, a new location or higher pay. 
  2. Flexible Hours. Having hours that work with your schedule is incredibly important. If you aren't getting the hours that fit your busy schedule, then this is pro for quitting your job. 
  3. New Beginnings. Sometimes we all just need a big change in our life. Quitting our current job gives us the opportunity to get a fresh start at a new job. It's natural for people to want new experiences and quitting your job and starting a new one can help you evolve as a person. 
  4. Shorter Commute. Long commutes can have a serious impact on your health. Not only do they take more time out of your day, but they add stress. If you can find a job with a shorter commute, you'll be able to have more time for the important things in your life and reduce stress.
  5. Safer & Stress Free Environment. Some work environments are just toxic. You may not like how your boss treats you or you may have annoying coworkers. Leaving your job can free you from a toxic situation, which will improve the quality of your life.

If you do decide to leave your current job, here's some advice on how to find a job that may you fit you better:

Cons of Quitting Your Job

Even if you're sure you want to quit your job, you should carefully consider some of the problems you may face:

  1. No Backup Job. If you don't have a backup job when quitting, you can be in a lot of trouble. Bills can start piling up and you may not have control over when you get hired next. This can lead to a lot of uncertainty and stress.
  2. Negative Impact on Your Resume. If you quit your job on bad terms, this can look bad to future employers. They'll think twice about hiring someone that's got a poor work history. Even if you don't put your last employer on your resume, they may call your previous employer.
  3. No Income Stream. This is the obvious one. If you quit your job, you won't receive a steady income or receive your benefits. This can put you in a very tough situation financially. Make sure that you've got an emergency fund if you do quit your job and don't have another one lined up. This will help ensure that you can at least pay your monthly expenses for a period of time.
  4. Lost Connections. Networking at your job is a must for long term success. Once you cut ties with your employer, it'll be a lot harder to maintain your relationships. Unless you had a good reason for quitting, your coworkers may not feel that you're worthy of their attention anymore.
  5. Disappointment. This last con is one that most people don't think about. Quitting your job can cause mental health issues. You may feel like that you disappointed yourself and are a quitter. This type of mindset when leaving a job can lead to depression. 

Looking for even more information on quitting your job? Be sure to check out the next section.

Learn More About Quitting a Job

In this article, we covered what you need to be thinking of when you're considering quitting your job. To provide you with even more guidance on this subject, we've got a few more articles to check out below:

Making the Right Decision

Knowing when and how to quit your job can be a difficult decision. There are many factors that you need to consider before making this big move. In this article, we covered the reasons you may want to move on from your job and the pros and cons of doing so. Before you make a decision, make sure you've weighed all your options and are making a decision that you're one hundred percent confident in. 

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