“Choose a Job You Love and You Never Have to Work a Day in Your Life” -Confucius
Everyone has been in that situation before: you are in a job you hate. You wake up one day and may not even realize it! One day you ask yourself: “How did I get here and how do I get out of it?” Trust me, I’ve recently had this solo conversation with myself too. In the beginning of this month, I actually quit my job that I wasn’t a crazy fan of. It was kind of a crazy move for me because I had only had the job for less than a year. My mentality has always been: “stick to a job at least for a year because it looks good on your resume.” But throughout my short time there, my mental health and happiness were at stake, two very important values for me. It came to a point where I could no longer sustain my happiness. If you find yourself in a similar position, below are the factors I took into consideration when making such a major decision such as leaving that job.
Let’s Get the Negative Out of the Way First…. Every Job is Stressful
Now, I hate to break it to you, but yes, every job is stressful but it’s all a matter if the stress is worth it to you. Just imagine this, you’re working in your dream job and a task or situation is stressful but once you solve the problem or finish that task, imagine how REWARDING that will feel. Now, imagine the situation in reverse, you’re working for a company or a person you don’t feel any attachment to and you have to deal with stress? You may not find it rewarding at the end of the day or may not even feel like the stress was worth it. Stress is a battle that comes with every job, it’s just a matter of where you want that battle to take place.
Also… The Next Job Might Not be it Either
Another: “I hate to break it to you” moment but, the next job you find might not be your dream job either. The most important thing is that this job should be a step closer to that dream job. Every job is a lesson for you both professionally and emotionally, so don’t look at your time there as a waste. Through my old job I discovered MANY things not only about myself but also what I did and didn’t want to do as a job or in a future career.
Now to the Actual Decision Making…
Everyone’s situation is different, whether it’s financial, living etc. When considering making that decision, you should look at the circumstances around you. There may be a possibility that you end up having some time off as you look for other jobs or bounce around between them. But even if your current situation doesn’t allow you to currently switch jobs, don’t give up! There will come a time you can! Nothing says you can’t look while you’re still employed at the other place! If you are in a situation where you CAN be unemployed ask yourself…
What’s Keeping Me Here?
The chance that this question is answered with a: “I don’t know” is a GREAT start! You should be questioning why you are there in the first place, especially on those stressful days. A part of answering this question is: looking at your values. I mentioned earlier two important values to me: my mental health and my happiness. My job was affecting those two and for me, no job that I don’t love is worth sacrificing those two things.
Your values may be different. Do you value money? Maybe that’s why you’re still there. Is it the company’s values? Is it because you enjoy doing what you’re doing? Will I be able to get to where I want to be professionally? Will I get a promotion? But if you really can’t find the answer, that’s more of a tall-tale sign that you’re not working there for the right reasons.
Don’t Let Your Cool Co-workers Keep You
As much as we grow to love those coworkers we get lunch or happy hours with, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t let them be a deciding factor. A lot of people when asking themselves questions from above, say: the people, the people is what is keeping me here. We all know we can still keep up with people through texting and social media. Just because you don’t see your friends every day doesn’t mean you’re no longer friends with them right? That rule should be applied to coworkers as well and don’t worry, you’ll be invited to that happy hour still.
Don’t Make it a Rash Decision
I remember a professor at college once told our class: “you don’t want to be that person on the train that looks absolutely miserable going to work”. I always had that quote in the back of my head and guess what… I had actually become that person! I never wanted to be that person where the “job became the job”, but that’s who I unintentionally had become. I looked at the factors keeping me at the job and waited, waited to see if anything would change that would make me change my mind and nothing did, so I knew I was making the right choice.
I definitely wouldn’t recommend quitting just because you had one bad day, that’s inevitable. Wait a few bad days (I personally waited around a month, whatever you feel comfortable with), look back at your values, look back at what’s keeping you there and if nothing has changed in the “trial period” you set for yourself, maybe it is time to think about your next step.
Discuss it with Those Around You
Discuss your thoughts with those who you consider to be a good support system for you. Sometimes you need the perspective from an outsider and those who have your best interest at heart, to give you their advice. Sometimes these people know you better than you know yourself! They will encourage you to do what’s best for you and will be with you throughout the whole process from beginning to end!
It’s Okay To Quit
One of the things I kept telling myself during my “trial period” was: “am I taking the cowardly way out?” No you’re absolutely not, actually it might be the bravest thing you’ve ever done. Not everyone has that courage say: “you know what? I’ve had enough”. Not everyone will have the courage to go into the unknown like that. Some people may look up to you and admire you (but don’t do it for admiration). It’s very brave to take matters into your own hands and aim towards working on something you love….
But what about the stress?
Those are normal, it’s okay to be a little scared! After all, you are human, you should be a little scared! You’ve just made a big life changing decision where you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s okayyyy. It’s okay to ask yourself a million and one questions: “I don’t know what’s coming next?”, “I won’t find another job soon enough.”, “Did I make the right choice?”. This is when relying on your support system becomes key. They will help you keep calm in this and remind you, you’ve picked the best choice and whatever comes next might be the most exciting decision ever.
After everything… Look at the Lessons it Taught You
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so even that job that you weren’t happy with, happened for a reason. Realize all the lessons it’s taught you. Hopefully, it showed you your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you realized that you’re not in a field you want to be in, or that you want to find a job that’s more rewarding. Don’t see this choice as a scary experience, think of it more of a step in the right direction! One day when you are in that dream job of yours, you’re going to be glad you quit that job.