In case you need an extra push, here are 5 signs it’s time to quit your job. Here’s hoping this gives you enough inspiration and motivation to finally pull the trigger.
It’s time to quit your job when you just can’t take it
Let’s start with the most obvious sign it might be time to quit your job. You absolutely hate it. It’s one thing to be in a job that’s tolerable or something that isn’t your dream job, but working at a job you hate will cause massive, long-term problems in your life.
Say you work the typical eight hours per day. You also sleep eight. So you have eight left after that, but probably less when you consider getting ready for work and traveling back and forth. It can’t be good for your mental health to have 30-40% of your day spent in misery for decades at a time.
Of course, you can’t just up and quit. The main theme of this post is that you need to build a bridge to a better gig while you’re working at your current job. But if you’re working a job you hate, you should pour your energy into getting out of that job as soon as possible.
Don’t let that frustration go to waste. Use it.
Negative emotions have power when you turn them into energy instead of just feeling sorry for yourself. When you don’t feel like doing what’s necessary to get out of that job, think about how much you hate it for motivation. Maybe anger isn’t necessarily the healthiest emotion out there, but it’s useful.
Excess amounts of stress caused by a job you hate are definitely not healthy. That frustration and despair from your job will spill into other areas of your life—your relationships, your health, and your overall mental well-being. I’m not saying it’s easy to just up and quit a job you hate. But I am saying that it’s, in many ways, a life and death situation.
You’ve completed one adventure and it’s time for another
Another sign it’s time to quit your job could simply be that you’ve achieved what you need to achieve in that role and it’s just time to move on. You could have had a long and fruitful career you enjoyed, but it’s just reached an endpoint because you climbed to the highest rung possible.
In short, you’re just bored.
A lot of people believe that they have to stick with something simply because they’ve been doing it for a long time. They don’t want to let go of what they built like status, prestige, and the admiration of peers in their industry.
But it’s important to understand that a great career doesn’t have to stay in one single lane forever. Sometimes you’ll put all of your energy into a certain path thinking that’s what your future self wants, but let’s be honest, you can never truly predict what your future self wants. People grow and change, evolve, and develop different tastes.
I have a friend who had a decorated career as an organizational psychologist. She graduated from top schools and became a highly respected multiple six-figure earner. Not too shabby, right? While she didn’t hate her job, she felt there were bigger and better moves to make, so she made them. Shebuilt a personal brand and now runs a seven-figure company helping highly qualified professionals find their dream jobs. She went from one great season in her life to an even better one.
Don’t let “golden handcuffs” keep you stuck in a position you’re ready to move on from. If you have that sense that you’re ready to explore something new, do it. If you have a decent amount of money stashed away, you can leave and explore on your own. Or, you can use the same route as I mentioned earlier by beginning to look for new projects to work on.
You want complete control of your work life
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’re always going to feel a little dissatisfied working at a 9-5 job, even if you enjoy it. The next sign it’s time to quit your job is that you don’t want to have any job. You’ve always wanted to go out on your own. You’ve had dreams of starting a business for a long time. You probably already have business ideas you want to work on, but just haven’t pulled the trigger.
But you avoid starting a business out of fear.
I have a fun game I like to play with people I meet. I ask them what type of business they’d start if they knew it would automatically work out. All of a sudden they are filled with ideas. Sometimes I can tell they’ve been thinking about these business ideas for a very long time. At the end of the conversation, I give them that look that says “you know what you need to do.”
We live in an amazing time to start a business on the side and turn it into a full-time gig eventually. Technology has made the capital requirements for many businesses a lot lower than they used to be, so you don’t have to risk everything to start them. You also have access to a much wider customer base than previous generations. Your customer base is the entire planet earth. Don’t you think you can get a handful of people out of 7 billion total to be interested in your products?
There are tons of resources available, too—from books to free podcasts and videos to online courses to coaches—that can walk you through the process of starting a business step by step. This doesn’t guarantee your success, but there are so many blueprints available—keep trying until something sticks.
I’m the type of person who knew I couldn’t have a job forever. I liked the last gig I had prior to quitting, but I just didn’t like the idea of having a ceiling on my income. My bosses were great, but I didn’t like the idea that I had to do what they said. I didn’t feel free and freedom is something I value more than almost anything else.
So I decided I was going to learn how to buy my freedom.
I started with freelancing, blogging, and writing books. Then I moved on to teaching others and making a living through courses and consulting. I did it slowly and surely, but I got it done. You can, too.
Quitting your job is easier when you’re ready to leap
This point is for those who already have a side project going and they’re unsure whether or not it’s time to pull the trigger and go full-time. At first, you start tomake some money from your side gig. Next, you start to make real money with your side gig.
At a certain point, you actually begin to miss out on money because you have to be at work when you could be making more by dedicating all of your time to the project. Even at this point, you might still feel afraid of the unknown and worried about the risk you’re taking. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can give you some insights to help you make a better decision.
For one, even if everything blows up in your face, you can always get a job again. Second, if you have a cash reserve and a safety net, it allows you to explore your project full time without having to worry about going broke right away. I advise people to have at least six months of savings in cash and have a side project that has either met or exceeded the income from their job for six months in a row. Those are pretty reliable metrics.
I’ve been through it myself. I was scared and uncertain at first, but leaving my job to go full-time was the best decision I ever made. And knowing what I know now, I would’ve done it sooner. I would’ve leaped sooner. The moment I quit my job and went full-time, my income skyrocketed and my results jumped dramatically.
It wasn’t just because I had more time to work on everything. I also had the weight of the job lifted from my shoulders and that freedom helped me be even more creative and hard working. If you’re in this position and you decide to leap, the same could happen for you.
The ultimate sign it’s time to quit your job
This last sign encompasses all the ones I’ve already mentioned. Whatever logical reason you choose for believing it’s time to quit your job, the truth is, you just know. Your intuition is more intelligent than your rational mind.
This isn’t a theme that applies to just jobs. It applies to all the important decisions in your life.
Think of what it means to have a “gut feeling.” Your body has a visceral and noticeable reaction to something because it knows what needs to be done and it’s urging you to do it. What other mechanism could possibly be more reliable than that? Deep down, you know.
If people trusted their instincts, the advice industry would disappear. We wouldn’t need to read self-help books or get career advice from experts, we’d just get busy doing what we already know we need to do.
But since it’s hard to fully trust your intuition, people like me are here to give you reminders.
Quitting your job can be emotionally difficult. Trying to build something new from scratch will be difficult. Making a major pivot will be uncomfortable. But you can handle it. You know you can—you have to trust yourself enough to follow through with it.
How do you want your career to pan out? How do you want your entire life to pan out? Do you want to look back on your life and regret that you didn’t trust the truth hidden beneath your nose the entire time? Or do you want to look back fondly because you bet on yourself and knew your intuition would carry you through the ups and downs?
I think you know the answer.
Now is the time to apply the knowledge you already have inside of you.