How do I decide to leave my job?

My job is terrible and getting worse, but I’m having a really hard time deciding to leave. How do I make this decision? Are there tools I can use that will help me see this clearly and make the correct decision for the long-term? I have a long history of bailing on jobs as soon as they got bad, and I’m really trying to not do that with this one, but I’m afraid that I’m going to go too far in the other direction now, and stay long past time to quit.

Any suggestions?

Yeah, me too, me too!

There’s no big secret to it, IMO – either you can put up with the job and the demands it places on you, or you can’t. If not, seek new employment.

If it was that cut and dried, I wouldn’t be struggling with it like I am. But thanks for making light of something that I am having an incredibly hard time with.

I don’t think rjung was making light of it featherlou. It’s just that there really is no “A+B=C” method for determining if you should leave a job. One thing you may try is writing a pro vs con list of your job. This might help you focus on what it is that’s realy bothering you about your job. Maybe you’ll even find out it’s something you can change easy enough without leaving, maybe you’ll find out that it’s really only a couple things that bother you and the rest is fine.
Too, part of it should probably be how easy can you find a new job, and how long can you last w/o income if you need to.

When I left my job of 5+ years though, it really came down to just not enjoying getting up in the morning anymore. Not saying everyday has to be a party, but when the bad days outnumber the good, it’s time to move on.

Shrug Hey, that’s the methodology I used when deciding to leave a bad job. If you didn’t want to hear it, you shouldn’t have started a thread asking how… :wink:

I quit mine when I woke up one morning and said, “No, I’m never going back there again, I can’t deal with that shit anymore.”

I have stayed in a position too long. (anyone agree that going to periodic [read unreliable] half sallary is too long?) And I have left a job before it ever got any where near that point.

Basically it come down to realizing 2 things:

  1. A job is supposed to be a MUTUALLY benificail relationship in which both parties’ needs are met.
  2. You can only control your own needs.

Remember since a job is supposed to be a mutually benificial relationship if you are not happy with it, then it needs to be disolved. IOW, don’t get caught up in loyalty to company or friends or anything else beyond what you get out of the job. If you are not satisfied with it, then you need to leave.

Before you do disolve the relationship, however, try and think objectively about the things you want from the it. Make sure that they are resonable expectations. If you owned a company, would you provide those things to an employee in your position? Do most companies provide those things? Do any companies? If you find that your needs are quite reasonable, explore (respectfully) whether your company might provide them.

jk1245’s suggestion about a pro and con list is a good place to start.

Also, if you decide to leave, try and find a new job before you give notice. And you might want to circulate a resume (discretely) anyway. It can be a comfort to know you could get another job.

And it could make you appreciate your current job more if you found out you can’t :wink:

This is a long winded explanation because I tend to be long winded. But I think rjung summarized it pretty good :slight_smile:

First, let me start by apologizing to Rjung. I shouldn’t have posted in the mood I was in - I had just come back from the bathroom at work from a bout of crying out of sheer frustration. That really is never a good sign in a job.

Second, there is some great advice here. I had forgotten about the “mutually beneficial” aspect - they are taking advantage of me, and giving very little in return. It’s no wonder I’m feeling rotten about it. I have to take a look at my expectations and figure out if they are realistic - I don’t think I want very much out of a job, but maybe employers just aren’t willing to give what I want.

You’ve given me good things to think about. Thanks much.

I’ve got a rant about my job, but I’ll leave it for another time.

I always looked at a job as a business arrangement. You provide X service and they provide compensation. Without knowing your particular situation it’s hard to give exact advice, but I think the best thing to do is to look and see what other kind of employment is available and see if that would probably be more to your liking.

How long have you been in this job? How long have you been in the other jobs you’ve quit? Is this job significantly worse than the others, or have they all been bad?

Before you decide to quit, you can look for another one. It is a good idea to find a job you think you’ll like first. Perhaps you are in a line of work where that is easy.

Just a quick additional thought. Remember not to take it personally. Unless you are sure they are singling you out for abuse (in which case you might have an actionable situation on your hands), they may simply have a lousy management style. I’ve known companies like this. They simply treated employees like crap because they thought they could get away with it. Of course, I’v known workers like this too. That’s why I recomend taking as objective a look as you can at your own needs. Just remeber that whatever you decide, its not personal.

Also, it may help to take a longer term aproach. I don’t know what you do, so forgive me if I am talking out of school. But it might be that you cannot find a position which gives you everthing you want from a job in your current career. Maybe the best thing is to stay where you are (or in the same job at another company) while you retool (re educate) for another career.

Start looking around, discreetly, but without quitting. You may find that there is no greener pasture than the one you’re in, and then you’ll be happier where you are. If you do find one, then go.

I left my last job after 10 years. It had gotten to a point where I would walk into the building and start having anxiety attacks. I was utterly miserable. But I always hold that a job you hate is much better than no job at all. So I started “secretly” looking for a new job, using my vacation time to go to interviews, etc. Found something I liked and when I was formally hired, changed the date on my letter of resignation (that I had written two years earlier), attached it to global email, hit “SEND”, and walked out of my office to the surprise of all.

Being unemployed sucks a lot more than any job. Tough it out until you find a new job, behind the scenes. Collect a paycheck until you do. That’s my advice.

Whenever I was feeling down in my old job, I’d start sending out resumes and interviewing. May be worth a shot.

featherlou, I’m in the same boat right now. There are things about my job that I find very satisfying, but also aspects that I really dislike, starting with the fact that we’re underpaid and understaffed. It’s getting more and more frustrating. Few of my predecessors have stayed in my position for more than a year. You’d think this would be a big flashing sign to my employers, but they don’t seem to get it.

I’m planning on starting a serious job search in January and just gritting my teeth until then. Sorry that I don’t have much advice, just commiseration.

The pro/con list is a great idea. Try to figure out what, exactly, the problem is–is it a management issue, a temporary mountain of work, or something long term? If it’s management or the type of work, that won’t change. I also think that unless there is some clear identifiable reason why you should stay; e.g., they pay you five times what you could get elsewhere, you truly love your work, etc., you should listen to your gut and at least send out your resume and see what’s out there–that alone can be a stress-reducer–something about the mere act of doing something to change your situation.

I quit a job 3 years ago where I liked the work and the people I worked with and where I had a future, assuming I worked out some kinks, BUT, I was working insane hours and was extremely underpaid for the market I was in. I left and went to a job where my salary doubled and I worked less. Sounds great, right? It was, for a while, until I realized that I hated the work, hated my boss, hated the company, was bored, dreaded going into the office every day, and had no future with that company. So I quit and went back to the old job–not back to the old salary but I did take a hit. That was 3 months ago and I know I made the right decision–I love the work, the people I work with are great, and I have a clear advancement path. I do miss the old paycheck–actually, my wardrobe misses the old paycheck–but that’s it.

So, long story short, follow your heart and your gut.

Well, I used to like the work, I used to like the people, but the management has always sucked and I’m being underpaid by about 30%. The only real reason to stay is that I have a chance of being promoted to a job that will look great on my resume (and, theoretically, bring my salary up to a level that will be more realistic). There are supposed to be big changes happening in the new year, some of which may benefit me, but I have no guarantees, and no way of knowing if it will ever get any better.

On the one hand, it sucks now and if it doesn’t get better, I will quit. On the other hand, there is a possibility that it might get better. Is it worth sticking around for a possibility, when a company has already proved that they don’t value me or my work?

Well, If you are truly unhappy, send your resume around. You can do it discreetly, and you should. I think it will take past the new year to find other opportunities anyway, so you will be in a better position to decide if the changes affect you or not.

Remember not to fib to prospective employers. Tell them that you don’t plan to be available until after the new year. You can say that you simply can’t leave some of your projects until then they like that :slight_smile: