It starts as an inkling, but it eventually becomes all you can think about: You need a new job. Sometimes, though, immediately jumping ship isn’t the right move. Instead, you should consider the pros and cons of quitting before you announce your decision to your boss.
The best way to weigh the good and bad about your current position is to ask yourself the hard questions — we’ve gathered five of them. With honest responses, you can determine if now’s the time to start a new venture.
1. Why Do I Want to Leave?
There are so many reasons why you might want to leave a job. Perhaps it’s no longer challenging to you. You could be overloaded with work and unable to manage a balance between your professional and personal life. Or you might regularly butt heads with your boss or other co-workers.
Spend some time to pinpoint the reason(s) why you want to jump ship. In some cases, you might be able to fix what’s bothering you without leaving the job. For example, , ask for it. Sometimes, the situation is repairable, and it could be worth it to try and do so. In other cases, though, you might need a new career path or company in which to work.
2. What Have I Contributed to My Current Company?
Another serious question to ask yourself is how much you’ve accomplished in your current position. Do you have enough bullet points to add to your resume to make this job something you can use as a jumping-off point?
This is an especially vital consideration if you hope to climb the career ladder in your next position. Without accomplishments and achievements to point to, you might not be able to market yourself for the new job you seek. So, if you find yourself unable to list out the good you’ve done while at your current post, you should shift your focus. Start working harder to make a mark that you can use to your advantage when you’re ready to move on.
3. Where Do I Want to Be in Ten Years?
There’s a reason why . It gives an idea of how serious you are about your career path and how hard you’ll work to get where you want to be. The vision you have for yourself should guide more than just a recruiter, though. It should always be the North Star of your career.
So, ask yourself what you see for your future. If it’s something different than what you’re doing now, it’s time to think about how you can pivot toward that ten-year goal you’ve set for yourself. Whether that means finding a new job, signing up for continuing education, asking for an internal promotion or completely switching your career path, start figuring out what you need to do ASAP.
4. Can I Afford to Quit Now?
Your frustration may lead you to make an irresponsible choice to quit your job without something lined up afterward. As tempting as it may be to walk away and deal with the consequences later, you need to take a critical look at your lifestyle and figure out if you can afford to do this.
First of all, examine your savings accounts. Can you live for six to 12 months without an income? You never know how long it’ll take for you to obtain your next position, so you need to have lots of savings as a safety net. To that end, you should factor in the benefits your job provides as well. If you quit, you’ll likely have to pay full price for your healthcare plan, for example. Add up all of these figures to find out if you can pay these additional costs.
Finally, consider this: If you quit now, you might put yourself in a desperate situation financially and wind up taking another job that’s not quite right. So, only take the unemployment leap if you have plenty of time to figure out what the right position is to chase next.
5. Is Nostalgia Getting the Best of Me?
Before you got your current job, you had a different one. Maybe you’ve begun to look back on your time as a start-up boss or barista or teacher or editor, and you wish you could go back to a position that gave you the right balance of challenge and enjoyment.
The only problem is that you might be looking back with rose-colored glasses on. This job might not have been fun while you had it, but you remember only the positives now. Sometimes, switching back to an old career will just be a temporary solution to your current dissatisfaction. Ask those who knew you in your previous job if they can remember your happiness during that time. Chances are, your parents, best friend or spouse will be able to tell you if you were fulfilled or not.
But in some cases, nostalgia does linger for a reason. As you sift through your memories, you might genuinely want to take that step back into an old job because it was an ideal fit. path you once pursued, and you might just feel that happiness again.
You Have Your Answer
Digging deep into these and other exploratory questions will give you an answer as to whether you should leave your job or not. No matter what you decide, one thing is for sure: You’ll be much more content after a bit of soul-searching shows you where you belong.
About the Author
Sarah Landrum is the founder of , a career and happiness blog. As a freelance writer, Sarah enjoys writing about a variety of topics from career and business to healthy living. Catch her on Twitter for more great advice.
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