6 Signs It’s Time to Quit

With the job market so strong, experts say it’s tempting to leave if these conditions apply.

If you’ve thought of quitting recently, you aren’t alone. Earlier this year, when one large multinational surveyed more than 30,000 people across 31 different markets, it found that more than 40% of them are considering leaving their employer this year.  Plus, lots of people have already pulled the trigger. This spring, the so-called quit rate, or percentage of Kenyan workers who voluntarily left their jobs in a month, hit its highest level since 2010.

Quitting, however, is often a big decision, since it will potentially disrupt the lives of both you and your family (not to mention your finances). Experts say smart workers only take the step wisely—no matter how strong the job market. Even there are more than 9 million open positions nationwide), most people won’t find a job they like right away. “Don’t jump before you have something else because that job could be next week, or it could be six months,” says Samantha Muchiri a career coach for Staffrite

Experts suggest upping your search and perhaps bolting if you are experiencing one or more of these:

Nothing interests you.

Nearly every job had some degree of drudgery. Only about 1/3 of workers describe themselves as very engaged on the job, which means nearly everyone else will be annoyed or bored at their work at least some of the time. However, it’s a troubling sign when you don’t find anything about the job engaging. “You should be excited about your work, we spend enough time doing it,” says Samantha.

Just take a moment before declaring with certainty that “nothing interests you.” Experts say it’s easy to overlook many aspects of a job you do like, such as learning new skills or brainstorming with coworkers, when there are one or two things front-and-center that you don’t, such as too much paperwork or an unruly boss. 

You Have the “Monday Scaries.”

Remember when you were a kid and on Sunday nights when you dreaded going to school the next day? Those are the “Monday Scaries.” Unfortunately, some people feel like that in their professional roles too, and unlike school versions, they won’t go away in the summer. There could be legitimate reasons to be nervous or stressed about going to work after the weekend, such as a big meeting or a missed assignment. But you shouldn’t have that feeling every week.

You aren’t advancing.

Still have the same pay after 5 years? Haven’t learned any new skills? No chance to work in a different environment or with different coworkers? Seeing your employment opportunities blocked is frustrating, but experts say it’s one of the best reasons to consider quitting. “If you’re not growing and you aren’t challenged, those are good reasons to leave,” Samantha says.

You just can’t work with your boss.

Under normal circumstances, the top reason why people switch jobs is because of their relationship with their boss. It wouldn’t be surprising if the pandemic changed your relationship with your boss, either. One South Africa study found that 66% of tech workers said their relationship with their boss had deteriorated over the last year.

During the pandemic, managers have had to challenge of working with their direct reports under unprecedented circumstances. Experts say some have just done a lousy job with it. Some became micromanagers or couldn’t communicate effectively, which can turn a good working environment into a slog. Plus, the pandemic made some bad managers worse, making a bad situation untenable.

Before pulling this trigger, however, relationships with bosses can be improved. If you think the boss is setting unrealistic goals or being too micromanaging, talk to them. There may be room for compromise.

You are burnt out.

The pandemic ended up extending work hours for millions of people, whether they were putting in overtime hours on the job or never getting up from the kitchen table working remotely.

According to Herbert Freudenberger, who coined the term in 1974, burnout is “the extinction of motivation or incentive,” but in reality, burnout can come in a variety of forms. Exhaustion, an inability to concentrate, anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and even irritability could be symptoms of burnout, Samantha says.

Before quitting because of burnout, consider taking a vacation first. Sometimes a brief time off away from work is enough to clear up these feelings.

You had a COVID-19 revelation.

After being isolated for 15 months, or watching friends and family suffer through health issues, it’s perfectly natural to reassess your current situation, including your job, which gives your life meaning. Experts say that disruption and isolation have a way of encouraging us to re-evaluate our lives. You might have taken your existing job because it pays really well, but you may value a less taxing role that allows you to spend more time with family. Or you have come to really like working remotely and your existing job will no longer let you.

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