Is it time to quit your job?
Thinking of joining "The Great Resignation"? Read our expert-led guide first
words Isabelle Aron
Over the last two years, the world of work has changed a lot. We’ve endured endless Zoom meetings, kitchen tables have become ‘desks’ and the return to the office has left many wondering how the hell they used to commute five days a week. So it’s no surprise that many people have realised that, actually, they don’t want to do a job they hate, prompting what’s been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. In fact, in July last year, job vacancies reached one million, an all time high in the UK. To help you decide whether to jump ship, we speak to career experts about how to know if you should quit your job.
What are the obvious signs that you should quit your job?
Does your work make you want to scream/cry/throw your laptop out the window on a regular basis? Yeah, you might want to find a new job. ‘If it's impacting your mental health and you're dreading it every morning, or you're feeling overwhelmed or very stressed, those things are worth listening to,’ says career coach Alice Stapleton. Even if your job isn’t a total nightmare, if you feel you’re not progressing, it might be time to move on.
Is it ever worth hanging on in a job you hate?
Alexa Shoen, career coach and author of ‘#ENTRYLEVELBOSS’, says it can be worth staying, but only if it’s to achieve a specific goal. ‘The way I help people assess this is: okay, your job sucks, but do you want your manager's job? If the answer is no, then let's go to your manager's manager's job. Do you think: I'm trying to become that person?’, she says. ‘If the answer to that is still no, then what are you doing?’.
What are the main things to consider before quitting your job?
If you’re planning on quitting without another job lined up, get ready to do some sums. You’ll need a financial buffer – ideally enough money to last you at least three months. ‘It comes down to what you can manage financially,’ says Stapleton. ‘You might be able to move home, stay with a friend or save up to carry you through while you're looking for a new role. Look at your outgoings and set a budget for how much you're going to put aside.’
Are there practical steps you should go through?
See if you can resolve the issues that are making you unhappy. ‘If it’s a frustration around pay or progression, has that been discussed? Or if it’s about the role, is there an alternative?’, says Stapleton. If you keep telling yourself you’re going to quit but you never actually do it, Shoen advises setting a deadline. ‘The task expands to fit the time allotted, especially if you don't have a real “reason” to leave, you're just unhappy and you want to make the change.’ She suggests telling a friend (maybe one who also hates their job) to make sure you stick to your deadline.
Is quitting your job without another one lined up a bad move?
Leaving your job without a new position can actually help you get into a better mindset when job hunting. ‘Sometimes you can't get the headspace in your current situation because it’s screwing with you inside and out,’ says Shoen. If you do have a break from work, Stapleton says to ‘use that time wisely’. She adds: ‘Have some goals of how many applications you want to do, or an action plan to keep you on track.’
Is rage-quitting ever a good idea?
You’ve fantasised about the moment you get to slam your resignation letter down on the table with a pithy one-liner aimed at your terrible boss, right? But Shoen says that it probably won’t feel as good as you think. ‘Often, the fantasy of quitting feels so cathartic, but prepare for it to not feel satisfying,’ she says. As tempting as it is to want to go out in a blaze of glory, she advises taking the high road: ‘Be the one who leaves on a good note, because you're getting out.’
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