Feel Like Quitting Your Job? Do These Things First
> At times we can feel like our only solution is to quit our job
Beeeep! Beeeep! Beeeep!
Your alarm goes off.
You roll over, hit the snooze button and go back to bed.
Beeeep! Beeeep! Beeeep!
It’s been 10 minutes already?!
You turn the alarm off and lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering if you really have to go to work today.
You think about all the ways you could get out of it.
Maybe you can call in sick. What would you say is wrong? There’s a bug going around. You could say you’ve caught that.
Or maybe, you could say that your boiler broke down and you need to stay until a repair person comes by.
Of course, you could just call in and quit...that would make everything better, right?
These ideas run through your head until the point where you’re forced to roll out of bed, get ready in a hurry and rush out the door.
We all have mornings like this. Mornings where going to work seems like corporal punishment rather than the very thing we chose to do with our lives.
And it’s totally normal to feel like this some days. Especially when it’s BBQ weather outside, or when we’re feeling a bit hungover from a weekend of too much fun.
But what if this starts to become the norm?
What if every morning you roll out of bed, drag yourself to the door, and feel a growing sense of dread as you near the office?
And things don’t get better once your day begins.
The hours go by at a snail’s pace - and you would know, you spend most of your time watching the clock.
You feel a sense of heaviness while you’re in the office. Tasks that used to engage you feel like a chore. Instead of paying attention in meetings, you’re just wondering when they will end.
As soon as the clock hits five, you’re out the door. And before you even get home, you’re dreading the next day when you have to do it all over again.
If you’ve been feeling like this lately, you may be thinking that it’s time to throw in the towel. And you might be right.
But we often jump straight to the solution of quitting our job when things aren’t going as well as they should when, in actuality, there may be other (less dramatic) solutions available.
The key is to understand what is making us feel like we want to quit - and then deciding where to go from there.
You Can’t Always Live In The Moment
It’s no wonder so many of us get to the point where we feel like quitting is our best or only solution.
According to this study by Harvard Business Review, over 70% of Americans stay in jobs they hate. This means that we allow our negative feelings about our work situation to build up over time.
Instead of addressing why we hate our jobs and looking for a way to fix things, we force ourselves to “tough it out” because of the money, the fear of failure or even sheer laziness.
So, of course, our situation doesn’t improve and whatever is making us hate our jobs continues chipping away at us, until finally, we feel so overwhelmed that all we can think to do is throw in the towel.
But quitting a job without some serious planning is not a good idea.
Unless you have tons of money saved up for a rainy day or you’re one of those rich kids who only works to keep busy rather than because you need the money, quitting your job on an impulse will put you in a tight spot.
Without a solid amount of money saved up or a new job to go to, the joy of sticking it to your boss will be swiftly eclipsed by the very real need to pay your rent or mortgage, feed yourself and your family and..well, you know...live.
Even with some money saved up, resigning without a plan of what to do next can be extremely stressful.
The process for finding a job could take 3 weeks...or it could take 3 months, maybe even over a year.
There’s no telling how long it will take you to find a job that you’re truly happy with. And, you don’t want to end up just taking any job because you’re in a situation where you need one.
That will just put you right back to square one.
So, before you walk up to your boss, slam your resignation letter on the desk and shout “I quit!” - stop! Read all the way to the end before you do anything else.
The Truth Behind Your Feelings Of Giving Up
When you’re already feeling stressed, unmotivated or unhappy at work and then things become even more overwhelming, your natural reaction will be “I need to get the hell outta here!”
Our minds are pre-programmed to constantly move us away from pain and suffering, and instead, seek out comfort and security. It’s hard-coded into all of us and there’s no avoiding it.
This pre-programmed mindset is what enabled humans to survive during prehistoric times. And, this same deeply embedded pattern continues today.
When things get even the slightest bit difficult, when we get out of our comfort zone or, in this particular case, when our job is just bringing us down, our minds quickly want to head for the exit door.
And while the feeling may be warranted, it’s important to dig a little deeper and figure out the real reason(s) why you want or need to quit.
Sure, in the moment, such reasons like “Because I’ve had enough of this shit!” seem fair enough.
But further down the line, you might wonder if there could have been another solution.
So, when you find yourself daydreaming more and more frequently about the look on your boss’s face when you resign, here’s what you can do to get to the root cause of why you feel this way.
1. Ask Yourself These Questions
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, all we know is that we want to quit and we want to do it right now!
These questions can help you to decide whether or not that’s really what you want.
Am I overreacting?
Is the situation that’s making me want to leave temporary?
Can I afford to quit?
If I quit now, how will I feel tomorrow? Or next week?
These questions can help in the moment to calm you down and bring you back to reality.
Leaving a job is something that takes planning and consideration. However, if you’ve answered these questions and still feel that quitting is the right answer, then maybe it is.
In some extreme situations, for example, intense workplace bullying, quitting is the best thing you can do for your sanity and well-being.
But, if you come to the conclusion that you don’t need to quit in the next five minutes otherwise you’ll spontaneously combust, then here’s what to do next.
2. Make A List!
Making a list is the solution to most problems in life, don’t you think?
For this list, you want to establish all the reasons you want to leave and all the things that are making you stay.
Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Mark one column “Reasons To Stay” and one column “Reasons To Leave”. Complete each column as honestly as you can.
To start things off on a positive note and calm yourself down, start with the reasons to stay. Start with simple things such as getting a paycheck, the work friends you have, maybe even the location if it’s not too long a commute.
Think about what you would miss if you left, even if it’s something as non-work related as the free bagel Fridays or the lunch crew you eat with.
Think seriously on the good stuff. It’s way too easy to just short-list this side and overload the bad stuff. So, be true to yourself.
Next, complete the reasons to leave column. If you’re reading this article, we’ll bet you don’t need any help with this one.
But make sure to write real reasons. “Kevin is so annoying” isn’t really a reason. “Kevin and I clash and it’s affecting my work” is.
As you write this list, make sure you interrogate the real reason behind each point. You may even notice things come up that you hadn’t realized before.
For example, if one of your reasons is “No work/life balance” you need to figure out exactly why that is.
You may realize it’s because you’re always working late, and that’s because your workload is too high. So the real reason is “Unmanageable workload”.
Another reason could be “I’m bored” - but why are you bored?
Perhaps it’s because your skills are not being utilized or maybe because there are no learning and development opportunities, so you’re doing the same job you were doing five years ago.
3. Remember Why You Started
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and written out your list, take some time to go back to when you first took this job.
What were the reasons you wanted to do this job and join this company?
Do those reasons still apply? If yes, add them to the stay list and if not, why and note them on the leave list.
For example, if one of the reasons was the excellent flexible working options available, that should be on your reasons to stay list. Unless, of course, the company didn’t live up to expectations.
After this exercise, you should have a better idea of the real reasons you want to quit beyond “This company sucks”.
The next step is to identify what alternative options are available to you.
Solutions That Don’t Involve Throwing In The Towel (At Least, Not Yet)
One of the reasons we suggest trying to improve the situation at work before quitting is that you may run into the exact same problem at your next job.
Nothing would suck more than quitting one place because of a bad manager, just to end up with an even worse manager.
So, before you quit, it’s important to at least try and rectify the situation.
That way, even if you do end up in a similar situation, you know that moving on was still the best thing for you, as you tried other solutions, and they didn’t work.
There are tons of reasons that you might want to leave a job. We’ve come up with a few that we think are most popular and suggested some alternative solutions.
Problem = Low Pay
Solution = Ask For More Money
It seems pretty obvious, but we’re willing to bet that a huge proportion of people who leave their jobs because of poor pay haven’t even tried asking for more money.
And it’s not simply asking for more money just for the sake of more money, it’s driven by the fact that you feel that you’re underpaid for the amount of contributions you’ve made to the company.
A lot of us mumble and grumble about how we’re not paid what we’re worth. We’ll tell everyone in the world about it - except for the one person who can do anything about it, our boss.
We wait until the annual review to see what goodies are in store, and then when we get a measly 1% raise, we go right back to complaining to everyone but our manager.
So, if money is one of the reasons you’re ready to walk out the door and never come back, please for the love of God, ask for a raise first!
Does the idea of actually asking for more money give you the heebie-jeebies? Fear not, here are some quick tips to help you.
Step 1 - book a meeting with your manager, separate to any regular meetings you usually have. Send them a calendar invite and book a private room or space so you won’t be disturbed.
Step 2 - take some time to think about why you deserve more money. Try not to focus on what other people may be earning and instead, think about the value you bring to the company.
What big wins have you had recently? What awesome feedback have you gotten from other colleagues? What extra responsibilities have you taken on since your last raise?
And, research how your current salary compares to current market rates in your area for similar jobs. If you’re truly underpaid, that’s a big factor that can support your case for a raise.
Step 3 - write all these reasons down in bullet points in your notebook. You’ll take this with you to the meeting so that you don’t forget everything in the moment.
Step 4 - Breathe! Take a few minutes before the meeting to run through your notes and take some deep breaths.
In the meeting, don’t rush, take your time to say everything and keep breathing deeply to stay calm. You may not get the answer you want, so just focus on remaining calm and not getting too emotional.
Step 5 - Ask and ask again! If the outcome of the meeting is a no, just take that to be a no “for now” and not forever. You can even ask your manager when will be a more feasible time to raise this issue again or further build your case on your annual review.
Problem = Bad Boss
Solution = Communication
Have you ever heard the quote “people leave managers, not companies”? Well, it’s true. Most people leave their company because of a bad working relationship with their manager.
You may feel that this is beyond repair and they’ll never change - but have you actually tried talking to them about things?
For example, maybe the reason behind your poor relationship with your manager is the way you guys communicate. Perhaps they’re very short with you and you feel they treat you like an assistant rather than a colleague.
If you come to them with this, in a constructive way, you may find that their intentions are not what you assumed, and they simply adopted this short, sharp communication style because of the demands of their own workload.
They, quite simply, don’t have time for niceties or detailed responses.
Once you both have an open dialogue about this, they can amend their communication style and you can relax in the knowledge that their approach is a sign of busy-ness rather than lack of respect.
Problem = Unmanageable workload
Solution = Better workload management or more support
If an overwhelming mountain of work which never seems to get smaller is causing you to want to quit, there are a few things you can try to make it better.
Assess your workload and decide whether the issue is that there is too much work or that you’re not able to manage it properly.
If the issue is too much work, speak to your manager. If you don’t tell them you’re struggling, they will assume that the workload you have is manageable for you and they’ll sustain it.
We often expect our managers to just know when something isn’t right, but let’s not forget that they have their own workload, priorities and probably other direct reports too.
So, sometimes, it’s our job to bring their attention to our challenges.
If the work isn’t actually coming from your manager, maybe the issue is that you need to be better at saying no to others.
As much as we want to make a good impression and help others, we mustn’t let it get to the point where it’s negatively impacting our work and our well-being.
If you decide that the workload you’re receiving is fair but you’re still struggling with it, then it’s time to try out some workload management tools.
Maybe prioritization is the issue. Many of us often fall into the trap of thinking that everything’s a top priority, but in reality, everything can’t be #1.
Perhaps you’re struggling to manage multiple bosses, in which case learning how to handle multiple managers with their competing demands will be a key skill for you.
With these tips, you may find that suddenly having a hold on your workload makes your whole working life much more bearable - maybe even pleasant!
Problem = Conflicts with coworkers
Solution = Conflict resolution
Unfortunately for us, most jobs involve interacting with other people and some people can be real assholes.
If it’s your coworkers that are making work unbearable for you, it can definitely feel like getting out of there is the only option.
But there are a few tricks you can try to resolve tense working relationships. One of them is a recurring theme in this article - talk to them.
Let the asshole know what they’re doing to upset you and ask them to stop. What’s the worst that can happen? They’re already making your work life a living hell so why not give it a try?
If that fails, here are seven more ways you can put assholes back in place.
Problem = Stress caused by any number of things
Solution = Proper stress management
At the end of the day, whatever your reason for wanting to quit your job, it most likely is something that causes you stress. So, proper stress management is an ideal solution to most of the root causes you’ll encounter.
The first step is, of course, to identify the stressor. It could be any number of things ranging from lack of respect or recognition, micro-management styles, high-stress environments, etc.
Whatever it is, the 4A method to stress management can help.
If the stressor is something that can be “Adapted” or “Altered”, then there’s no need to leave your job - at least not yet!
See what you can do to either adapt yourself to the situation or alter the situation.
Solutions For When There Seems To Be No Solution
If you’ve looked at your list of reasons to leave and you can’t seem to find any workable solutions, don’t despair.
Perhaps you’ve spoken to your manager multiple times about trying to improve your relationship and it’s only made things worse.
Or maybe your request for a pay raise has been rejected and you’ve been told in no uncertain terms not to expect one any time soon.
In these situations, there are a few last ditch things you can do before you quit your job. At the very least, these will give you the time you need to hunt for a new opportunity elsewhere.
Constantly avoiding your boss, pain-the-ass co-workers or workplace politics isn’t a long term solution but it’s something you can do in the short-term to reduce your stress while you look for an alternative.
Just minimize your interaction to these stressors as best as you can. Limit your exposure to only what’s required to get your work done.
When you come up against a challenge which cannot be changed (at least not by you) it’s important to practice acceptance.
This doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything about it, but once you accept that you can’t change this thing or person, you can refocus your energy on what you can change.
It’s like getting angry at commuting traffic. There’s nothing you can do about it. Rush hour traffic will always happen like the sun rising and setting. So, learn to accept it and reframe your mind about commuting and turn it into “me-time” instead.
When you’ve got an asshole or bitch for a boss, it’s really easy to just throw your hands up in frustration and anger and start looking to jump ship. It’s a natural reaction that everyone has.
But, take a higher perspective on this. Mentally remove yourself from the situation and see how you can take advantage of it. Use it to make yourself a better person.
VIDEO: Instead of quitting the job you hate, do this instead
YOUTUBE: Mel Robbins
> No matter the situation, there’s always something we can learn
> Reframe your mind to spin it into something that helps you
> See it as an opportunity to take you to the next level
So, if your job or boss sucks, what can you learn from it on a daily basis that can improve your chances of getting ahead?
How can you turn the tables on the shitty circumstances and use it as a building block or springboard to get to the next phase in life?
Acting like a victim of the circumstance puts you in a helpless mental state - that’s not going to do you any good.
Behaving like it’s a skills training session where you’re strengthening your mental and emotional muscles is going to make you a better person and set you up to handle future similar issues without breaking a sweat.
While meditation may have nothing to do with whatever is making your work life so miserable, it will help you to manage stressful anxiety and feel less attached to the situation.
Meditation doesn’t require any memberships, special equipment or even expert instruction. All you need is a quiet place and a few minutes of time - that’s it.
When you can allow your mind to race around with its thoughts, it will eventually tire itself out much like a hyperactive kid all sugared up.
It’s all about letting your mind work through it’s thoughts and then, letting those thoughts drift off and evaporate - for the time being. This will settle your mind into a state of active calmness. It sounds contradictory, we know. But, it’s damn accurate.
You can learn how to meditate at work with this newbie’s guide we put together. It’s a real game-changer.
5. Internal transfer
If your issues are team specific, then maybe a transfer within your company could be the answer.
Unlike moving to another company, you have internal “visibility” of other departments or groups in the company. Use that to your advantage to find a new spot and a better fit.
This is less disruptive than a whole new job and will require less admin work from you - win! Speak to your HR department to see what your options are.
Stay Positive - Things Will Get Better, One Way Or Another
We spend a huge portion of our time at work, so when things aren’t going our way, it can be easy to get down about it and see no way out.
With this kind of mindset, quitting seems like the light at the end of the tunnel.
But it doesn’t always have to be.
Sometimes, with little changes, we can drastically improve our work life and, therefore, our well-being. It can reverse depressing mornings into happy kick-offs to the day.
But, it’s equally important for us to know when the time has come to move on, and to do it in the right way, not in a thoughtless spur-of-the-moment kinda way.
So next time you find yourself in a downward spiral of dreading work, going to work, hating work and then back to dreading it again, stop..breathe...think.
What is causing you to feel this way? How can it be resolved? How can you counter it? Can you reframe your perspective on it?
Empower yourself to take action on the things you can improve and learn to accept the ones you can’t. And if all options have been exhausted, then and only then, start making strategic plans to jump ship.
In either case, if you take action on resolving the internal issues or on searching for the right job, you’ll find yourself in a much better situation. And when that happens, you’ll be able to wake up happy without any alarm clock or snoozing.