At some point, many of us have likely daydreamed about quitting and walking out on the job: throwing our hands in the air and making a final exit in front of everyone.
For most of us with families, debt, and bills to pay, though, making a rash decision like that comes at a cost and can be irresponsible. So how do you know when it’s time to quit?
The job may be stressful, yet rewarding or fulfilling, yet not paying the bills. You could merely feel unsatisfied and want more. Here are some things to consider before you put in your two weeks:
1. Are You Being Harassed or Bullied?
Bullying and harassment is no laughing matter. If you ever feel unsafe or threatened in a work environment, it’s time to contact HR. It’s understandable to want to leave a job for this issue, but remember it’s good to punish the bully, not yourself.
Contacting HR or your supervisor regarding a harassment issue is essential.
The perpetrator may be given a warning, moved to another department, or just fired — but what matters first and foremost is that you feel safe in your working environment.
2. Is the Workspace Safety Questionable?
Workplace safety is a necessity, but it’s not always guaranteed. Depending on your profession, your safety could be in jeopardy. Jobs that require physical labour can be rewarding, but may come with some risk.
Luckily, there is workers’ compensation. It’s important to note that workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state and that you will not receive compensation if you fail to file a claim within 30 days.
However, it exists for a reason and should be taken advantage of if you are injured on the job. But if you constantly feel unsafe with the work-related risks, perhaps it’s time to quit.
3. Do You Have a Bad Boss?
A good boss can make a job, where a bad one can break one. It’s important to identify what about your boss is frustrating — is it their work ethic, what they ask you to do, or do they have unrealistic expectations?
As annoying as it can be, it’s also necessary to take a good look at your expectations and actions. Sometimes we may not like our boss, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fair and good at giving instructions.
Some bosses may seem harsh, but perhaps they believe in you more than you do. Maybe they are pushing you to move past your comfort zone positively.
Here are some quick tips you can use to tell if your boss is unfair:
- Pay attention to their managing style; it may be different from what you are used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s a problem.
- Pay attention to their frustrations. If they are always annoyed about employees not checking their emails, then be sure to keep your inbox tab open. Knowing their triggers can avoid unnecessary conflict.
- Ask for clarification when confused with instructions.
- Understand their strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. Maybe they aren’t the best in one area, but all bosses have flaws.
Giving your boss the benefit of the doubt is an excellent way to judge if they are indeed unreasonable and if it is time to quit or not. If, by the end of a week or two, you still feel that they are too difficult to work with after making excuses for them, then maybe it’s time to change departments or employers. At least you tried!
4. Are You Stressed About Work When Not at Work?
Stress can be a healthy thing — emphasis on can. A little bit of pressure can motivate you to reach a deadline or cross the finish line, however, in today’s hectic world, the pressure is more often than not something people are experiencing in unhealthy and unsustainable ways.
In fact, the adverse health effects of stress are comparable to that smoking!
If you feel like your work environment is unusually stressful, here are some things to watch out for:
- Identify your stressors by writing them down.
- Acknowledge if one co-worker, in particular, is stressful to be around and do what you can to minimize your time with them.
- Establish boundaries with co-workers and managers alike
- Breathe. Again. Studies show meditation can help manage stress. You may not have the chance to meditate in the office, but even taking a few deep breaths can help lower your stress levels.
- Stay away from office gossip/drama.
- Keep your work calendar up to date.
- Keep an office plant.
- Decorate your workspace.
- Keep track of your time.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Realize when it’s time to leave a toxic environment.
5. Does Going to Work Give You Anxiety?
Do you dread going into work on even “good days?” Everyone gets workplace anxiety now and then, but when you have anxiety driving to work because you know you’re unhappy at your job, maybe it’s time to look for a new job.
Before you make any decisions though, give yourself some time to analyze what is giving you anxiety at work. Is it the people? The job? Unrealistic expectations you have to meet?
Ultimately, is whatever that is giving you apprehension something you can change or influence, or is it beyond your control?
6. Are Office Politics Getting Out of Hand?
Office politics are something most of us are familiar with, although we do our best to avoid them. However, they are given in any workplace. You may not want to play them, but will inevitably have to at some point. What’s important to remember is that not all office politics are trouble, and getting involved with them can improve your job experience.
What you need to know is when you should and shouldn’t get involved.
Here’s When You Should Step In:
- Make a connection with a co-worker or manager about a project.
- Even if you don’t speak, keep your ears open to stay informed about possible promotions or corporate decisions.
- You can add some positivity to the conversation.
Here’s When You Should Steer Clear:
- Avoid participating in gossip about another co-worker, especially if it involves their personal life.
- The person you’re talking to has trash-talked your peers before. Chances are if they did it to someone else, they would do it to you too.
- Don’t over share about your personal life; it’s in poor taste and can be unprofessional.
So, Should You Quit?
If, after reading this, you answered yes to all of the questions, then maybe the answer to whether or not it’s time to quit is yes.
Ultimately, you decide to make, but what matters most is that you are safe and protected from harassment, bullies, and heard when you raise a concern.
Feeling stressed, anxious or uncomfortable with the politics of the workplace are all indicators that it’s time to quit.