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Finding Courage When You're Scared to Quit Your Job

Updated on April 30, 2016
SMD2012 profile image

I'm a business communications coach who teaches writing, speaking, and leadership skills to adults in the midst of a career change.

If you are stressed out at work, but afraid to quit, here are some tips on how to find the courage to make a tough career decision.

How much courage do you need if you want to take a big leap and quit your job?
How much courage do you need if you want to take a big leap and quit your job?

Quitting your job when you’re scared can be overwhelming and scary. But if you've got the right attitude, arriving at a decision about what to do next can also be an exciting challenge. If you’re looking for some hope and courage as you consider the ins and outs of leaving your current job, these tips on how to find the courage to make a tough career decision might help. As Winston Churchill said, 'A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.'

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

— Aristotle
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Many people looking for the courage to cope with a change at work have picked up this New York Times bestseller.

 

Most people who are afraid to quit their job have spent plenty of time weighing the pros and cons of whether they should stick with something that causes them stress or take a chance and walk away from the safety and security of a regular paycheck in search of something better.

But what is job security, anyway? Is job security simply knowing that you have a regular paycheck coming in? Is it believing that as long as you keep your head down and don’t rock the boat at work too much everything will be OK? That doesn’t sound very secure, especially of you are miserable and stressed out. If you dread going into work everyday, is there something going on there that makes you feel insecure: a boss that yells for no reason or a toxic co-worker who gossips? When your job causes you stress and makes you feel insecure about yourself, the financial security of having a permanent job can be overshadowed by the mental and emotional strain bearing down on you.

Don’t rush yourself into making a decision about quitting if you’re scared. Give yourself time to figure out what you want to do next. It could be 2 weeks, 2 months or even two years before you muster up the courage to quit your job, and that’s OK. Making a career decision this big shouldn’t be hurried. At the same time, don't let your fear of change hold you back from making a decision either. The parable told in the bestselling book Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson explores the pitfalls of not making measured, yet timely, decisions at work and in life.

Read What is Hope? And How Do You Hang Onto it When Things Get Tough for tips on how to keep your spirits up when you’re feeling scared about your job situation.

Be prepared to work on your personal and professional relationships. You are going to need them before and after you quit your job and move on. Quitting can cause stress on your marriage. It can disrupt workplace friendships. It can isolate you from some of your colleagues and peers. That’s why the best thing to do when you are thinking of quitting your job but you’re scared is to build a strong network of support that includes your family, your closest friends and anyone who you socialize with who isn’t part of your current work world.

If making new friends or reconnecting with old associates makes you nervous, read Tips for Making New Friends When You’re Shy to gather up the courage to make a change.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Plan ahead before you decide if you should quit. Even if you are so stressed out that you don’t think you can handle one more day at a job you hate, don’t hand in your resignation letter without doing some careful planning first. It’s likely that one of the reason’s your scared to quit your job is that you’re afraid on not having enough money to make ends meet. Read Things to Do Before You Decide to Quit Your Job for practical things you can do to help give you the confidence to make a smart career move.

Remember you past success at finding the courage to make a change. Quitting your job when you're scared takes courage, there's no doubt about it. But even if you have never taken a bold leap such as calling it quits and making a career change, chances are you have successfully made other changes in your life that required a great deal of courage. Use the things that you learned from those experiences to remind yourself that you can once again find the courage to make the right decision.

© 2015 Sally Hayes

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  • SMD2012 profile image
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    Sally Hayes 2 years ago

    I agree. It is hard to quit sometimes when you know how valuable you are and how many people will be impacted by your leaving.

  • lyoness913 profile image

    Wendi Pembridge Skilling 2 years ago from Overland Park, KS

    Good advice. Quitting a job can be so hard, especially when you're a valuable asset to your company and you know they'll be disappointed. My last company tempted me to stay with a very large raise- but I thought to myself 'Why wasn't I worth this yesterday?'

    -Wendi :)

  • SMD2012 profile image
    Author

    Sally Hayes 2 years ago

    Yes, thumbi7. I agree. And it takes courage to stay in a difficult work situation but we do it because we know it's the best thing for our families. Sometimes not leaving a lousy job is an act of courage too.

  • thumbi7 profile image

    JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

    But even when we don't like the place we are working, we keep quiet thinking about children and family, their financial security.

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