How to know when to quit your job

If you find that you can relate to more than half of the situations, then it’s probably time to quit your job.
person holding sign at desk that says I quit

How to know when to quit your job (when you’re in charge)

How do you know when to quit your job? The decision can be difficult, especially if you’re a high-ranking member of a company, possibly even its CEO. But sometimes, even if you’re the one in charge, your career might not be right for you. You may have created a comfortable position for yourself — complete with benefits, a good salary and loyal colleagues — but if it doesn’t feel like a good fit anymore, you shouldn’t force it. 

So: should you quit your job? Read up on the list we’ve compiled here. If you find that you can relate to more than half of the situations below, then it’s probably time to go from “thinking of quitting” to quitting, full-stop. 

1. You aren’t improving

High-achievers are always striving to learn, grow and do more than they did the day before. That’s especially true of company leaders, such as CEOs and other executives. If you’re at the executive level but you find yourself stagnating or failing to expand your skillset, it’s probably time to take a hard look at why you’re staying at your current company. 

2. Your company is moving toward a bad future

Whether you’re a new hire or you’re the lead decision-maker at your organization, it’s easy to smell when a business is making a beeline in the wrong direction. What are profits looking like? Are your product offerings the way of the future, or are other technologies and services making them obsolete? Do you see new hires and branch openings in the future, or factory shutdowns and layoffs? Take stock of these signs — if you don’t get out before it’s too late, you won’t have a job left to leave. 

If you’re in charge of things, this means coming to peace with the fact that your vision didn’t quite work out the way you thought it would. That’s okay. As long as you learned from it, grew and got as much out of the business as humanly possible, you’re going to be just fine. Leaving doesn’t make you a failure; obstinately clinging to an unviable business strategy does.  

3. You don’t respect other decision-makers

You know what they say: most people stick around for the boss. Even if you’re the head of your entire organization, there’s probably other decision-makers who you regularly work with to keep things running smoothly. If you’re not all on the same page, daily business can be frustrating, if not infuriating.

The workplace should be somewhere you feel inspired to grow, achieve and learn. If you’re not getting that out of your current situation, it might be time to start thinking of quitting. 

4. You’re severely undervalued

Most people think all company leaders and executives get more than enough recognition. But how are you treated by your clients? The media? Shareholders and your board of directors? There will always be people inclined to butt heads and dismiss your ideas, but a poisonous environment where your contributions are sideswiped in favor of different management principles is no good. If you’re severely undervalued on a constant basis, it may be time to step down.

How to know when to quit your job infographic
How to know when to quit your job (when you’re in charge)

5. You aren’t passionate about the work

There’s a saying that goes a little something like this: love your job when you can, and love other things when you can’t. Not everyone can be passionate about their job all of the time (they call it work for a reason), but you should be able to get excited about what you do at least some of the time. Try to find all the silver linings to your job that you can. If you can’t find any? Consider moving on to greener pastures. 

6. You don’t fit the culture

Who do you work with? Do they represent you? Would you go out after work and grab a drink with them? Even if you’re in charge of setting the culture of the company, a culture can quickly spiral out of your control, turning into something you never imagined. 

Maybe you wanted a relaxed, creative and inspiring work environment, but because of the nature of your clients and the always-on hustle culture of some of your colleagues, your workplace has become a process-driven nightmare. The point is this: you might be able to address some of the issues with your company culture if you’re near the top of the chain. If you’re not in a place to do that, try to find a workplace that better matches your workstyle and values.

Should I quit my job?

It’s hard to know when to quit your job. In fact, most executives cling to their positions longer than white-collar employees for a variety of reasons: they like being in charge, they think they can change things, they see it as a sign of failure if they jump ship… the list goes on. The truth is that it doesn’t matter where you fall on the employment ladder — quitting your job to find another opportunity is as normal and human as eating and breathing.

What is different for executives, however, is the weight that comes with leaving a company they’ve helped build. For this reason, you might want a second opinion on your choice to leave or stay. Executive coaches are great resources for leaders in positions like these. An executive coach can help you get to the root of your problems with your company and determine whether or not you should stay in your position or quit. 

More than that, executive coaching can help you sharpen your business skills, improve your relationship with colleagues, manage more effectively, increase your work-life balance and even rekindle your passion for your career. Whether you’re thinking of quitting, actually quitting or deciding to stay, coaching can push you in the right direction — and make the decision-making process a little less anxiety-inducing.

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