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Should You Quit Your Job or Stay: 5 Helpful Hints to Help you Decide

Updated on May 14, 2013

Ever have one of those moments when you are going about your day, and you literally stop yourself, stop whatever you were doing, lean back in your chair and say to yourself, I hate this job. I need to do something different. Join the club.

What is it that brings you to the breaking point?

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I can relate. I’ve been in those situations where the money for what you have to deal with is laughable. Your peers are endlessly passing you by for jobs and careers that make you jealous. And I’ve had those jobs, where you’re doing just the most meaningless, immaterial and petty things that make no difference to anyone but the person who asked you to do it. Things that if not done, make no difference to absolutely anything or anyone. But what can you do about it? Try to find a new job? How important is work to your life. I’ll share with you 5 helpful things to consider when evaluating if you should find another job, or if you should stick it out.

1. Is your job intense, sporadic at time, or easy going?

If you’re job is intense, all of the time, with little down time and you’re miserable, you’re options are rather limited. If you are satisfied with the money (next tip), than you may want to stick it out. See how (tip 5). If you’re job is sporadic and busy some time, and relaxed the other, look to see if there is any way to work a flex schedule. It may be that you’re job really is only critical part of the time, like every Friday, or from 9am – 11am. See if you can find some extra down time to enjoy the things you like. If you’re job is just steadily easy-going, and there aren’t really any deadlines, or urgencies, consider finding some hobbies that you can participate in while at work. Such as trading stocks, taking an on-line course, or looking to do other things that you enjoy and can double dip. I once had this job that really only needed me working 3-4 hrs a day, but in the corporate world, everyone punches their 8 hour minimum ticket. I would work my 3-4 hrs in the morning, take a long lunch to get a work out, and then trade stocks and play Sudoku for the remaining 3 hours of the day. I made money while making money, got in shape, had some fun, and really had just a stress free life. The job actually became enjoyable because it provided the backbone for my other hobbies. If left with a day off, or weekend, I likely wouldn’t go to the gym, or run errands as I’d not want to spend my free time doing things I didn’t enjoy. I miserable job is great for those opportunities.

2. Money Money Money

If you’re motivator is money, and your job is not paying you what you feel you deserve, you need to consider some things. You’re commute: If you have an easy commute and the money is not that good, consider that finding another job may require a more hectic, stressful or longer commute. A commute in bigger city can span from 15 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes depending on where you live. If you’re new job puts you towards the higher end, that is literally 5 or more hours a week sitting in a car, where you can’t enjoy your free time, and you’re not getting paid. Ouch.

Consider your habits. Do you have a gym near your office, or favorite hang-out spots nearby, is it convenient for picking up or dropping off your children at school. Sometimes there are things outside of a job itself that make a location favorable. Don’t forget to factor these non-salary related items into your decision. I once took a dream job, only to grow bitter about it because my commute was just horrendous.

3. The People: A business is just the sum of its parts right?

Consider the people. If you’re co-workers are your office friends and you enjoy the camaraderie, maybe it isn’t such a bad place. On the other hand, if you have co-workers that just make your days miserable, consider that they likely won’t be leaving. Often times the people who make us miserable, enjoy having that power over us. Consider too that just because you met 1 person at an interview for a new job, and you perceive to like the office, you still haven’t met the rest of the crew and things may go down quickly. Two career stops in a row for me, I took because I liked my managers. Both times, within 3 months of being there, they quit and were replaced by absolute nightmares. Its pretty common to come and go in the work-force.

4. The Company itself: Policies, Benefits, Politics

I found this great job, only to find out that the “great compensation and benefits” really weren’t so great. You get sold on an employer for numerous reasons, like, they offer flexible Fridays, where you can work 80 hrs in 9 days and take off every other Friday as an example. Only to find out that your department manager thinks it’s important that you make yourself available and so the unwritten rule is that the perk is available, but no one takes it. Or, they offer “incentives” or bonuses that aren’t actually paid until you dedicate your life to their service. A good example was this OT incentive on one of my projects. It sounded great, and it was great, up until they tell me the incentive will be paid out over 3 years. Or stock options, that take 5 years to vest. Lets face it. If you’re miserable in your job, you’re never going to realize those benefits. Its important that you recognize and distinguish what benefits are offered compared to what you actually receive. Consider long term incentives, lost when deciding what to do.

Ever send the email to one person, only to have it responded with 5 extra people including your CFO cc’d on it? Some people love to play office politics and prove by saving every email every sent that you said something or did something incorrectly. They also seem to get a sense of importance by letting their superiors know that they are on top of it. Lets face it, you don’t need to cc all, to reply with a “Thank you”, or “will do”. More importantly, not everything should or needs to be shared via email. But office politics run deeper than an email battle. Some people simply are rude, arrogant, demeaning and downright horrible to work with. If you’re office has people like that, and it factors into part of your misery, you may have very few options but to take yourself out of that situation. You can confront them and tell you don’t appreciate being treated the way you are and risk being fired, or let it go and suffer.

5. Is it your perception?

Are you as talented as you think you are, do you fill a role as vital as you think, and are you really as unhappy as you are at this moment? Emotions come and go, and often times we make our worst decisions when we are most upset or irritated. Take a breath, calm down and relax. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. Try to find the silver lining. Consider too that a job is just a job for some of us. While yes, there are those that love what they do and feel like they never work a day in their lives, that isn’t the majority of people. There is nothing wrong with not loving your job, as long as you recognize that it is just a means to an end. You have to work so you can play.

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