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I Didn’t Quit My Job. I Broke Up With It.

Red flags aren't reserved for romantic relationships. Here's how to know you're in a toxic relationship with your job.

It’s been months and I still have trouble saying it:

“I quit my job.”

The word “quit” doesn’t sit well with me. Its connotation insinuates a lack of commitment. It implies that I gave up, failed, or didn’t try hard enough. Yet, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Saying I “quit” is unfair.

When it comes to leaving a job behind, “quit” is the wrong term. The same way we move on from romantic relationships that are no longer right for us, we sometimes need to make these difficult decisions professionally, too.

I didn’t quit my job. I broke up with it.

I was committed to my job. I gave it my all every single day. I treated it with respect, honesty, and care. Sometimes, it took priority over my spouse, friends, and family. I loved my job. I was in it for the long haul.

But over time, things (and people) changed without warning. There were miscommunications, tough conversations, and second chances. Promises were made, only to be broken.

These types of disappointments, which I know quite well from dating and playing the field, reminded me to evaluate my worth. Through puppy love relationships and entry-level jobs, I put up with feeling unappreciated for years. I tolerated unfairness and deception. I let others put a ceiling on my capabilities and dictate my potential. Day after day, I settled.


In the aftermath of the countless letdowns I endured climbing a corporate ladder, I started defining what I deserved. I stopped being a “yes” girl. I resolved to set my bar higher and raise my expectations.

Today, I’m confident, not desperate. I think twice about opportunities and relationships I welcome into my life. For the first time, respect, trust, and appreciation are non-negotiable.

There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.

You are empowered to walk away from relationships that are no longer serving you. That isn’t quitting. That is accepting what you cannot change, letting go, and moving on to something better where YOU are in control. You should be in the driver’s seat of your own happiness.

Here’s how you know it’s time to break up with your job:

You’re not being heard. You’re hired to provide input, share your ideas, and add value. If you no longer feel like your contributions are being fairly considered or taken seriously, it’s time to go. Someone else will listen and appreciate what you bring to the table.

Your needs are not being met. Whether you’re striving for project ownership, leadership opportunities, or pay that is commensurate with your value, you have a vision for your career path. If you are vocal about your goals, yet they feel farther out of reach each day, move on. You are no longer growing.

You haven’t seen a change. It’s true that most problems in the workplace are a result of miscommunication. You owe it to your employer to address your concerns with a conversation. If you’re promised resolutions that fail to come to fruition over time, you’ve done your part. Thank you, next.

You’re compromising your values. If you have to acquiesce to decisions that you don’t believe in or are required to do something that makes you uncomfortable, you are doing both yourself and the company a disservice.

You’re not yourself. Has your daily demeanor taken a turn for the worse, especially to the point where other people take notice? This doesn’t only affect your co-workers. If your workplace dissatisfaction lingers in your home life all the time, you need a new job.

You no longer wake up with enthusiasm. Okay, so not every day on the job is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but for the most part, you should be fulfilled. If you’re waking up dreading the day, it’s probably because you’re not feeling valued.

You’re not happy. Plain and simple. If you’re miserable, it’s not worth staying. Get over the fear or embarrassment of “quitting,” and start taking control of your life.

Breaking up is hard to do. I was devastated to leave a job I once loved. Like anything you care about, it hurts when it’s gone. But sometimes the best thing is to say goodbye. It will only make you stronger.

“You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you were meant to be.” — Unknown

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