(Prefer to Listen? Click here to tune into the Fork in the Road Podcast Episode 2)
Whether you’re feeling unsatisfied in your career or overwhelmed with work, deciding that it’s time to quit your job isn’t black and white. In the mix, you’ll find a bounty of gray areas. Because even when we know that what we are doing is no longer working in our favor, we often trudge along due to fears like finances, stability, and family obligations.
It’s true, those are major pillars in guiding your decision. And for the majority of people, even being able to consider leaving a job is a privilege. So, before ever making that jump, remember how grateful you are to be allowed an opportunity to think outside of your current employment.
Even still, the great resignation has become a real thing. In March 2022, the numbers were at 4.5 million! People are no longer sticking around to find out if things will work in their favor and they are choosing to pursue other avenues.
When you are in a place to leave your 9-5, consider that those outside forces mentioned above should not be the entirety of your decision. In fact, there’s something that may matter more: your personal happiness. And my guess is those 4.5 million people decided that that was enough.
Feeling unhappy in your career can look like a lot of different things for different people. But there are three red flags that recur among professionals or working adults when we start to feel unsettled in our environments. These three circumstances should be taken into consideration when wondering if it is time to quit a job.
You’re not growing.
Perhaps you’ve been working in your current position for several years now and you’ve tried moving around with no luck, or you can’t see a good opportunity for advancement available to you in your current company. Either way, the inability to see growth within your position can leave you feeling bored and uninterested.
In a recent Pew Research study, they surveyed over 6,000 US adults who left a job in 2021 to understand why Americans were leaving their jobs during the great resignation. Among the top 2 reasons, 63% of adults said it was due to a lack of opportunities for advancement. This is telling of how important it is for professionals to be given access to more unique opportunities.
Oftentimes, we may even value the companies we work for but despise the roles we’ve been stuck in for so long.
That feeling of not evolving but being hungry for more is a sure sign that you are ready to move on. But before you call it quits, make sure that you’re defining what growth looks like for you. Is it managing more people or working in a more independent role? Whichever you decide, be sure that your research into what's next aligns with what you need.
You have more to give.
Similar to not feeling like you’ve grown or have an opportunity to grow in your position, you may also experience feelings of not using your abilities, strengths, or talents to their fullest potential.
When you feel like you have more to give, you may not be getting projects or clients that showcase what you can do and at the same time, you may feel that your tasks have become too repetitive or mundane.
These feelings may fester and evolve as you notice that you aren’t being recognized or awarded for your efforts. We all want to be acknowledged in some way - big or small - for doing a great job and if you aren’t given opportunities to do your best, then it may be time for a change.
First, consider what acknowledgment looks like for you. If it’s being awarded, then you may want to seek out projects, whether within a company or on your own, that are competitive in nature. If it’s a simple “good job” or recognition email to your colleagues, then seek out companies with a generous and rewarding culture who challenge you to take on new and exciting opportunities.
You want more control.
When we think about control, we often think of having a life where everything goes our way. But the reality is that we can’t control every aspect of our lives. But when it comes to where and how we choose to use our talents, we are all looking to have more flexibility.
One of the major pain points for those working traditional 9 to 5s outside the lack of respectable pay is that they have little control over their time. Their time becomes dictated by managers and company obligations. Along with time, other people are dictating their earning potential, their scope of work, where they work, what makes them successful, etc.
It can feel like your destiny has been put into the hands of other people. That alone can make anyone want to quit. While entrepreneurship comes with its own set of challenges, you have the potential to take back your control.
So, if you’re feeling lost and out of control or the thought of breaking out on your own has ever crossed your mind, then it may be time to consider a career change. Some potential careers where you could have more control and still use your corporate or inherent skills include... freelancing, coaching, or consulting. Consulting is a great way to keep doing what you love in corporate but on your own time and on your own terms.
If you're interested in learning more about becoming a consultant, take this 2-minute Consultant quiz to find out if it may be right for you.
No matter the situation that has you considering whether it's time to quit your job - low growth, lack of diversity in your work, or feeling like you’ve lost control - remember that you must first weigh all of your options and take into account your personal obligations. But above all else, put your personal happiness first.