I’ve become accomplished at many things over the years, But none, I confess, has come close to my ability to quit jobs.
It all started when I was a seventeen and took a job in a library near my home. The owner was a rather fastidious man who criticized the way I dressed. My mental arithmetic wasn’t quite up to par, either, and after a single day’s work, I waltzed out the door, and never returned.
After I graduated, I started to work in events — and promptly threw in the towel nine months later. After working as a features writer for a tech start-up last summer, I quit after a miserable two months spent under the thumb of a terrible boss.
You might reasonably assume that my life thus far has been characterized by dropouts. But that’s not the case. I knew when to stick things out even if I had not a clear plan in place.
Our societies encourages young adults to believe they have all the time in the world, and that taking risks, such as quitting your job, taking an advanced degree, or traveling abroad, is something you do later on in life. But I’d argue that quitting situations that aren’t meeting your expectations can be a vital life lesson to shoulder.
Life is too short to settle for something that makes you unhappy or isn’t advancing your career in the direction you’d like it to go — not least helping you to become the person you deserve to be.
If you hate your job so much, then why stay? The answer is simple – change is scary. You hate your job but you’re scared to quit.
You have to ask yourself what is more frightening – the thought of being miserable day after day at a job you hate, or the thought of a job unknown?
Unfortunately the majority of people tell themselves that “the devil they know is better than the devil they don’t know.” So, they have successfully convinced themselves that the uncertainty is far worse than their current situation. The fear of change wins.
But luckily that’s not my case.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
― David Bowie
Quitting a job is always a scary thing. But it can be downright terrifying when you don’t have another one lined up. The nerves build up to the surface from the moment you hand in your resignation notice.
“Where are you going?” is typically the first question your boss and coworkers will ask. Saying you’re not sure will undoubtedly lead to quizzical glances and perhaps even snickers of “you’re crazy.”
But, there are tipical reasons when quitting with no backup plan is the right thing to do for your career:
If your work environment is so toxic that you aren’t able to see your own strengths and values clearly, getting some distance may be the only way to regain your faith in yourself.
Sometimes you need time to detox and heal from abusive situations so that you don’t jump into something just as bad to get away from your current job.
It allowed you to take stock of what was important and do some intensive thinking about what you needed out of your life and career.
At work it’s sometimes hard to find a great moment to show everyone what you’re made of; you might keep getting pipped to the post or you might be continually looked over and never be given an opportunity to truly shine. On the other hand you might be working yourself into the ground with not so much as a, “Please” or “Thank you” like Andrea from The Devil Wears Prada.
You may also be doing way too much work and hold more responsibility than is required for your position and you could be due a pay rise. Forbes reported that instead of complaining about being undervalued at work it’s best to collect hard evidence to prove that you are. Then, hopefully you will receive the credit you deserve. If your efforts fail, it may be time to find a job where you’re appreciated.
The job search process is very time consuming. Looking for a new job while employed means you can never truly give your all to your search, and you may not have the time to explore all of the opportunities available, never mind booking time off to go to interviews.
You may also want to reach out to connections in your industry to find out about new opportunities, but fear reaching out in case news of your job search gets back to your current employer.
Quitting without a backup plan is not for everyone. For some people, the fear of the uncertainty is too difficult to navigate and paralyzing.
Infact quitting your job without a backup plan has the same effect on your nervous system as walking into the desert without any water.
When you’re unhappy in your job, however, that stress can lead to many worse things than anxiety.
Stress can cause sleep deprivation, a heart attack, depression, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses.
Assess the toll your unhappiness in your current job is having on your health.
If the stress is greater than your anxiety about quitting, jumping ship may be the only way to save your mental and physical health.
It means having a group of friends or a career coach who can help you see things clearly when you’re on the other side. Your support system is made up of individuals who know your strengths and can help you find your way after you leave.
Finally it’s not easy feeling frustrated and restless in an unsatisfying job. It’s not easy knowing that leaving might be a big mistake. But, staying might be an even bigger one.
You don’t know how things will turn out if you quit. We never do. But here’s what you do know—staying where you are most likely won’t get you where you want to be.
Jumping ship without a life vest is not an easy decision, but when done for the reasons described before, it may be the best way to propel your career forward in the right direction.
Wouldn’t you rather live life by choice instead of chance? Wouldn’t you rather look back and know that you did everything you could to create the life you desire instead of wishing you’d had? Wouldn’t you rather take a chance on faith instead of fear?
Who knows, you just might get everything you wished for.