Quitting Your Job: “Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?”

Echoes of the famous Clash song have undoubtedly resonated at that painful moment of deciding whether to quit a job or not.

Go ahead.  It’s okay to occasionally indulge yourself in that fantasy of going out in a blaze of glory like a certain JetBlue flight attendant did last year.

But then, let’s get real.

At some point in our career, most of us find ourselves in such a prickly dilemma. The real trick to navigating a confusing mess of conflicting emotions is to rip lyrics right from this song and apply them to the real-work world.

So, darlin,’ you gotta let me know:

“If you say that you are mine, I’ll be there to the end of time.”

Most employers are about as loyal to you as you are to them.  Ultimately, your being their employee is a mutual business decision, and loyalty can go out the window if company finances take a tumble. You need to do periodic gut checks on the fiscal health of your employer. If the vibes aren’t good, follow your intuition.

“It’s always tease, tease, tease.”

You have to decide whether promises of promotions, raises, and incentives as well as growth are going to be delivered on by employers.  If you constantly get reassurances, but the company doesn’t deliver the goods, it might be time to put the teasing to the end and call it for what it is: being led down the primrose path. Time to start looking.

“One day it’s fine; the next day, it’s black.”

Ever work in a ‘yo-yo’ environment? One day you feel great about your work, only to crash after being hung out to dry by unsupportive bosses?  A healthy work environment means you are excited every single day about going to work, and feel rewarded and recognized for your contributions. Sure, we all have bad days, but when they equal or outnumber the good ones, then you’ve got some tough decisions to make… soon.

“If I go, will there be trouble?”

The toughest part about leaving a current employer, sans alternative employment, is possibly facing extended periods of no income.  It’s the risk you take, which is why most career professionals advise that you don’t depart one employer until you’ve lined up something else.   Ultimately, it boils down to you deciding whether the trouble of looking for a job is worth the possible reward of a great job (and exit strategy of your current work).

“If I stay, will it be double?”

Weighing in the mental cost and toll that having constant issues or stressors at work is something you cannot ignore. Staying in a job you hate can take years from your life, not to mention impact or initiate health problems.  Do you know anyone who has gotten ulcers from their job? I do. Plenty.

“This indecision is bugging me. “

Someone once told me that when we fear change the most (thereby hesitating), is exactly when we most need the change.  If you have been on the fence for a long time now, it means that there is something gnawing at you and obviously, the status quo isn’t solving it.

“Who exactly am I supposed to be?”

Are you reaching your career potential in your current position?  Rose Tremain penned the famous quote: “Life is not a dress rehearsal” – if you are not connected to your passion and realizing what you COULD be, maybe that means that it is time to move on. You only get one chance in this life!

“Should I cool it or should I blow?”

I once had a hothead of a boss, who, at times, was so irrational that it would almost push ME over the edge… it was so infuriating some of the things that this person did. But cooling it might be a good idea – rather than taking the cue from our previously mentioned JetBlue flight attendant friend.  Short-term reactions could impact your long-term employability, so taking a step back to determine whether inter-office clashes are one-time only occurrences, or symptoms of a larger, deeper problem.

If the employer doesn’t want you, then maybe setting yourself free could be the answer to opening the door to new possibilities and a healthier work environment.

 

About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, where she provides results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. She is the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide, and Talentzoo.com, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals.

Dawn is also a recognized career expert on Careerealism.com – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to TalentCulture.com’s weekly meeting #tchat on Twitter.

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  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    Most important takeaway on this subject is to NEVER act out of emotion! Ask all the questions in this excellent post. Sleep on it. Don’t be impulsive…

  • http://www.KarmaCRM.com krysia hepatica

    Love your analogy, very entertaining!

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  • http://twitter.com/viravani Valerie Iravani

    Hello Dawn,

    Great questions and examples.  I go through this often, but mostly because I get bored, and there is no clear career path for me in the organizations for which I work.  Most managers and organization do not pay attention to the skills that employees can or have already developed that are not directly related to their current position.

    In almost any given situation, I have either quit to find new opportunities for learning and a higher salary, or have been laid off because the company reorganizes and made no effort to use my broad range of skills in other departments.  I find this amazing.  What a loss to them, and a disappointment for me.

    Companies are NOT as loyal to employees as employees want to be to them.  The smaller the company, the more likely the loyalty and commitment are created.  The larger the organization, the more impersonal the relationship and the less likely the employee is to find any loyalty, either in their direct manager or the company as a whole. 

    In the seven industries, 10 companies, and no matter the size of the business from start-up to global giant, I have seen that employees are on their own to manage every aspect of their career and will find little support from HR representatives or managers.  Why – profit is king and fixed costs – such as employees – are always a burden.

    Might sound cynical, but that’s my experience.  As a manger, I have found very little support for developing succession plans for each position.