7 Signs it is Time to Quit a Job

The world economy is still struggling to emerge from a global recession. According to the U.S. Department of Labor the official unemployment rate still hovers over 8%, but everyone acknowledges that the “real” unemployment rate is closer to 15%.

For some, these are enough reasons not to quit a job. Add the fact that your friends and family members will think you have taken leave of your senses for leaving a job during these tenuous times, so you might have very little emotional support.

Voluntarily quitting a job is not a task to be taken lightly. Typically the reasons for quitting a job run deep and are more complicated then what is on the surface.

Below are 7 signs that it is time to quit a job

You go on vacation and realize you don’t want to return to the office – Quitting your job might have been on your mind for a long time, but usually a break from the office will solidify your plans. If you are away from your job for a period of time, it often gives you a fresh perspective and an opportunity to not only put your plan into place, but also get a feel for what it will be like not going into the office each day.

After I quit my job to work on a book and transition back to the East Coast, a former colleague called me to say she had just returned from an extended vacation with her newborn grandson and young nephews. For the first time in her 30-year career, she did not miss work and did not want to return to the office. Her vacation with the younger generation of her family had helped her reprioritize her life. My friend realized that 30 years was enough time to give to her career. She wanted to devote the rest of her life to spending time watching her grandson grow up and engaging with her family.

You are in an obsolete industry – The recession is not the only factor that has eliminated many industries. Technology has also contributed to radical changes in the workplace. Many industries are hardly recognizable and some are barely hanging on. If you are in an industry that is obsolete, you probably are not learning anything new and your skills are also becoming extinct. If so, you are living on borrowed time and at some point your archaic skills will catch up to you.

Also, in these lean economic times, many companies have cut back on training and development, so your opportunities for gaining new skills within your company or having them sponsor outside education that will keep you competitive is probably not in the budget. This might be an ideal time to quit and take some time off to gain that advanced degree or enroll in classes at night to update your skills and use your days for networking and finding a new job in a industry with more of a shelf life.

You are not making any money by going to work – I often hear this from my married friends with young children. With the high costs of day care and education, many two-income households barely have anything left over after expenses. One of my friends and her husband recently calculated that because her salary barely covered the costs for the day care center, baby food, gas and other child related expenses, it would be more cost efficient for her to stay home and take care of the kids and live on his salary until the children are school age and need less care.

You would rather work in McDonalds or Starbucks – If you are so fed up with your professional, office job that you would seriously consider working in a fast food joint there is a good chance you are burn out and need to quit your job. If you have adequate savings, perhaps you can transitioning to a survival job that is not so severe like a contract or temp position that will give you an opportunity to learn transferable skills.

Your division/department is not performing well – Sometimes despite your best efforts and due to influences outside your control, your division or department is not performing well. Unfortunately in Corporate America it is mainly a results oriented dollars and cents game. If you don’t make money someone who will make money for the company will ultimately replace you. Staying in a job with a situation you can’t improve no matter how hard you try can be pure torture. Staying around to be corporate road kill only intensifies the torture. Quit and find a new position where you can be successful.

Your boss is not liked or respected – Guilt by association is a reality in the workplace. You could be an exemplary employee, giving knock out performances every day, but if your boss has a really poor reputation, it often rolls down hill to the next level. The question to ask yourself is how badly tainted are you by your boss’ behavior. This bad behavior may have tainted your reputation within the company, leaving you very few options but to quit your job. If so, quit and move on quickly before the reputational damage spreads outside the company to colleagues in the industry, possibly causing long term damage to your career.

Your career has stalled at your present company – Sometimes the only way to move up is out. If you are at the top of your game at your company and can’t see your way clear to the next position, instead of waiting for something to happen, make something happen. Cause movement. You should always have the reins of your career firmly in your hands, ready to pull or push in any direction you see fit. Know when to leave the party.

Your job is affecting your health – Whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally, if your job is negatively impacting your life to the point where your health is under siege it is time to quit and move onto healthier pastures. Your health should always be a non-negotiable. Medical studies have shown that stress can change the chemical make up of your body, leading to disease. If you are unwell, how can you bring your best self to work each day? How can you give adequate attention to your personal life so that you have some sort of balance in your life? Life is too short to spend your energy and time on a job that just takes and gives nothing in return.