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Career Advice

How to Know When to Quit Your Job

With the shrieks of surprise at the UK’s shock election last week still ringing in our ears, a rather intriguing question has been floating around TheEmployable office.

Those of you familiar with last Friday’s remarkable political shifting will know well of what I speak, but if you don’t know, I found that the BBC did a bang-up job of summarizing it in their Friday afternoon headline “Tory Majority, Miliband, Clegg, and Farage resign”.

A powerful story if ever there was one, and it has sparked some rather spirited discussions in our office over the past couple of days, namely around the question ‘How do you know when it’s time to quit your job?”

For those atop the ladder of employment, like CEO’s and party leaders, knowing when to go is often rather obvious; if you lose millions of pounds, or millions of voters, it’s probably time to hand-over the reins.

But what about us mere mortals?  How do we know when the time has come to cut our losses, tender our resignations, and make our way to pastures new?

Before you throw in the towel, jump ship, or fulfil any other ‘abandoning’ analogy you can think of, here’s 4 key thoughts that you might like to consider few things you might like to consider.


Don’t do it on a whim.  

Tendering your resignation in the heat of the moment is all well and good, but unless you have alternative employment in the pipeline, your carefree abandon can soon convert to bitter regret.

This is why quitting your job on a whim is never a good idea; there are very few situations in which having no job is better than having a job you dislike.  Presumably you hope to find employment which is more suited to your particular needs and wants; and prematurely quitting your job can remove the time and security you need to find the employment you want. As a result, financial constraints can force you into accepting a role that you don’t really want, putting your right back at square one.

A slow considered approach is what is needed; if you are truly unhappy or unfulfilled in your work, take steps to change the situation.  Be careful though, you don’t want your employer to know that you are planing to leave.


Are you chronically unhappy or unfulfilled?I quit

The key word here is ‘chronically’.  Are you unhappy and unfulfilled in your role to the extent that you know, deep-down, the situation can never be remedied?  If that is the case, then you certainly should be taking steps to move your career in a different direction.  We make the distinction of ‘chronically’ because even though you are having a bad work week, this doesn’t mean that you need to pack it in altogether.

Having said this, it is rather important to fully understand, what parts of your current situation are causing this feeling.  This will help you to avoid simply transferring to another job in which you will be equally miserable, but instead take a meaningful and positive career step that will help to prevent such a situation from occurring again.


Have you given it a good go?

If you spend your life running from every challenge without ever giving yourself a fair shot at success, you’re probably going to have quite an unfulfilled time of it.  There comes a period in many roles when the temptation to give up becomes compelling, but it’s important to ask yourself, is this just a natural part of the overall experience?  For example many find this situation develops shortly after taking a new job, once the ‘bedding in period’ has ended and they are expected to be fully fledged members of the team.  Before quitting, it’s important to consider whether a little more perseverance could see you making a success of the role, and overtime growing to enjoy it more and more.


Could the situation be resolved without such drastic action?Customers 3

No employer enjoys seeing their staff unhappy at work (we hope not anyway) and therefore they should be happy to at least discuss making reasonable accommodations to help resolve some of the issues that you are having.  Of course there will be limits to what they are willing to concede, but it’s certainly worth a shot, before giving up for good.  It may well transpire that by making suggestions, you can improve the situation, not only for yourself, but for those around you as well.

Are you thinking of making a career move?  You might find something to your taste in our career directory, which is packed full of career guides to help you go after the job you want.



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