12 March 2024

To quit or not to quit — that’s a big question

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Leaving a job

Leaving a job is a big call to make, but there are some clear signs it’s time. Photo: File.

Travis Bradberry says it is often quite difficult to decide when it is time to take the plunge and change jobs to find new opportunities. He offers some pointers that suggest it is time to move on.

If you’re like most people, you spend more of your valuable waking hours at work than you do anywhere else. Therefore, it should be critical that you spend your time in the right company, pursuing the right opportunity.

Bad management does not discriminate based on salary or job title. A Fortune 500 executive team can experience more dissatisfaction and turnover than the baristas at a local coffee shop.

The more demanding your job is and the less control you have over what you do, the more likely you are to suffer.

A study by the American Psychological Association found that people whose work meets both these criteria are more likely to experience exhaustion, poor sleep, anxiety, and depression.

Staying in a bad job for too long can be very harmful to your career. If you’ve tried everything you can think of to make things better and haven’t seen any big changes, it may be time to move on.

Choosing to leave a job can be a gut-wrenching decision. You need to know that you’re making the right choice.

READ ALSO Reach for the stars – while staying grounded

The good news is there are some clear signs — if you experience enough of them — that suggest the time is right for a move. Here are some of them.

There’s no room for advancement: It’s easy to get stuck in a job and, if you love what you’re doing, getting stuck can be comfortable.

However, it’s important to remember that every job should enhance your skills and add to your value as an employee.

If you’re not learning anything new, and are just pottering around doing the same old thing while people around you get promotions and plum assignments, it’s time to look elsewhere.

You’re out of the loop: Does it seem like you’re always the last one to hear about what’s going on at work?

If you’re left out of meetings, rarely get face time with upper management, and have never even heard of the big project everyone else is so excited about, that could mean your bosses just see you as a body filling a desk, rather than as a valuable contributor.

That’s bad news for your career and may mean it’s time to leave.

You know more than your boss: It’s frustrating to work for someone you believe to be less skilled or knowledgeable than you are, but the real issue is deeper than that.

If you can’t trust your leadership to make good decisions and steer the ship in the right direction, you’ll be living in a constant state of anxiety.

You have a bad boss who isn’t going anywhere: Bosses come and go, which is why conventional wisdom says it’s best to just wait a bad boss out. However, that’s not always the right move.

READ ALSO Lead yourself before you lead others

If you have a bad boss who’s well liked by upper management, it may be time to leave.

In addition to making you miserable every day, a two-faced manager who’s loved by the higher-ups can wreak havoc on your career by taking credit for your work, bad-mouthing you to others, and blaming you for things that go wrong.

You dread going to work: We all get a case of the Mondays from time to time, but if even thinking about your job fills you with dread, it’s probably time to leave.

Don’t keep telling yourself you’re having a bad week if what you really have is a job that’s a bad fit.

You’ve lost your passion: Even if you love the organisation, your boss and your co-workers, it’s not worth the effort if you hate the work.

Passion is a necessary ingredient for success. If you’re unenthusiastic or even indifferent about the work you do, it’s time to reassess your career.

Your health is suffering: No amount of pay is worth sacrificing your health. Job stress can lead to depression, insomnia, headaches, frequent illness, and worse. Don’t let this happen to you.

Your personal life is suffering: Whether you work too many hours or you’re stressed and miserable when you come home, it’s time to leave when your job starts affecting your personal life.

If you do decide to leave, be smart about it. Don’t burn bridges by venting about all of the reasons why you’re leaving. That accomplishes nothing, and could even haunt you later.

Instead, simply explain that you’re leaving to pursue another opportunity, and then do so graciously.

Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart. His books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. He can be contacted at TalentSmart.com, where this article first appeared.

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