A few years ago, I wrote an article for Out Of Your Rut titled How Do You Know When It’s Time to Leave a Job? While I certainly wouldn’t disagree with the content that I wrote for that first article, I realize in retrospect that it was not as complete as it could have been. As time marches on, I recognize that there are other variables that might come into play at your workplace. Here are some more reasons to consider leaving your job if you’re unhappy:
1. You get buried with work
In the previous article, I mentioned that sometimes you can be left without any work to do, which can be a reason to consider quitting. More often, however, it’s the opposite problem: you wind up dealing with much more than you signed up for.
Sometimes it’s due to co-workers not pulling their weight. Sometimes it’s due to being chronically understaffed, due to high turnover or organizations not wanting to do any additional hiring.
And sometimes you, for better or worse, have made yourself one of the “go to” people in your company. If you can handle the additional workload without many problems, wonderful! On the other hand, if you find yourself chronically exhausted and losing sleep, you might want to re-consider how much of your personal health is worth sacrificing for your organization’s priorities.
2. There’s no place to move up (no vertical movement within your organization)
For some people, having opportunities for promotion are important. This can be difficult, as a lot of companies no longer promote “in house”. Perhaps there are places where an entry-level “grunt” can work their way up to become a corporate VP, but this is becoming exceedingly rare.
Most companies will bring in outsiders for their management and higher-up positions. Many workers who do desire to move up the corporate hierarchy might find themselves languishing in the same position for many years, only to face stiff competition when a more lucrative position opens up.
3. Moving up isn’t worth it
A bigger paycheck is always worth it, right? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes a promotion can result in greatly increased job stress and responsibilities. More often than not, most workers starting out at the bottom will hit a ceiling when they reach supervisory level. Many times, supervisors have to catch the arrows being shot at them from all directions, whether from their employees, their managers, their customers, etc.
And oftentimes, supervisors may not make much more than the employees below them are making. Is it a good trade-off? Only you can decide that. Believe it or not, there may be times when asking to be demoted might be a better move.
4. There’s no place to move elsewhere (no horizontal movement within your organization)
Are you burned out from your current job? Sometimes, you might not have to quit, especially if there are other places within your company where you can go to. Moving to another department with different tasks and responsibilities can help re-vitalize your outlook. Or, staying within your department but working a different shift/time slot can reduce the burdens placed on you.
If you can’t see yourself working at another position within your organization, and you’re unhappy with where you are at now, it’s time to look elsewhere.
5. You don’t feel safe at your workplace
This has become vitally important, especially in the age of COVID-19. Bosses ridicule employees for worrying about the virus. Fellow employees refuse to follow safety protocols. Customers who refuse to wear masks have become argumentative and even physically violent with store workers who face the unenviable task of having to play the role of law enforcement.
Of course, these concerns aren’t limited to COVID. Other factors may greatly increase your chance of being injured or susceptible to other illnesses. How much risk is worth it? Again, each of us has to decide how much we’re comfortable with.
What should you do if you find yourself in any of these situations? Should you just quit, even if you don’t have another job offer? That’s very difficult and challenging to do in these turbulent times. There are, however, several strategies you can employ while you are attempting to re-calibrate your life:
Do whatever you can to save up to have an emergency/reserve fund on hand
Many of us were flat-out unprepared when stay-at-home orders this past spring with COVID went into effect. Quite a few people live hand-to-mouth, but many more of us (including myself sometimes!) consistently find ways to waste money that could be put to better use.
Have at least another source of income that you can take advantage of if you do decide to quit
Obviously, many people have a spouse with a comfortable income that can provide a cushion. Many others, however, don’t have that option. Do you have another job? Can you do temp and/or contracting work? Do you already have a solo entrepreneur project that you like and are able to expand? The more eggs you have in more baskets, the better.
Buy only the basics and necessities
Let’s face it, we all buy all kinds of stuff that we don’t really need and that don’t have any lasting impact on our daily well-being. We all get caught up in the traps of envy and novelty from time to time, and while there isn’t anything wrong with “treating ourselves” once in a while, we all run the risk of becoming too self-indulgent and depleting our financial reserves. Christy Bieber has a great column from 2017 on Fool.com over the many ways we Americans waste money. Personal disclosure: I’m guilty of more than a couple of these!
Find ways to mentally take care of yourself
This is especially critical as 2020 has become a year where we’ve become more socially isolated from one another. I will discuss this in more detail in a future column very soon.
That’s all for now, dear readers. Praying that you all stay safe and stay healthy during these challenging times!