Advice to Consider before Quitting Your Job


“Given the economy, is it wise to quit a job I’m unhappy with and treated poorly in?” – Greg from St. Paul, MN


In most cases, leaving a job is not an easy decision regardless of the circumstances.  We spend most of our waking hours with people we come to know personally and professionally, and with whom we have created a bond.  In many situations that bond can feel like family, making it all the more difficult to cut ties.

When facing that tough choice, it is always best to be as clear-headed as possible. Keep the decision-making process simple and void of emotion, if at all possible.  The following exercise might help you to be objective:

  • Find a quiet, calm environment free of stress and activity, like your favorite park.  Take a writing tablet and make two lists:  One with all the reasons you are unhappy and the second listing all the actions that make you feel that you are treated poorly.  Then, next to each item, think of what action you might take to make the situation better.
  • Ask yourself some questions:  What aspects of the job do I like?  What are the chances that I will find satisfying work if I quit?  How long can I support myself without income?
  • Imagine what tomorrow would be like if you weren’t at the current job.  Would things be better or worse?

Even without the current economy, my three decades in the workforce suggest that it would be unwise to leave a job if you are not financially prepared to live without steady income.  Only you know your threshold for feeling mistreated.  I would exhaust every option to improve the situation and – in the process – improve my morale before making an emotional decision that could lead to further stress and an uncertain amount of time out of work.

If you are still undecided after conducting the soul-searching exercise I suggested, you might consider seeking the advice and counsel of a trusted friend outside of work or a professional.  As the workplace has become more complex, professional coaches have become a popular resource for people making career decisions.  You might search the Internet for a resource near your home. You can also get in touch with your local Goodwill, many of which have experienced career counselors on hand to help you talk through your decision.

Whatever you finally decide, making good sound decisions with which you are comfortable is empowering and can lead to untold possibilities.  All the best to you.