How to Know When It’s Time to Quit Your Job

How to Know When It’s Time to Quit Your Job

Change is scary, but so is staying in a job that makes you miserable. Here’s how to know when quitting is the right decision for you

Do you wake up every day dreading going to work? Do you spend the weekend anxiously awaiting Monday morning, and your evenings moaning about your boss? If your answers are yes, yes and yes, then it might be time to start updating that LinkedIn profile.

You certainly aren’t alone: it’s estimated that one in five people look for a new job in the new year, with the main reason being poor management. So, what better month to start afresh and wave goodbye to your boss than January?

Last year, a friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous) quit her job after months of toiling with the idea. She had been feeling miserable at work for a while, telling me: “I just didn’t want to be there and felt very negative towards the company. I felt so anxious every time my boss called me and generally felt like I was walking on eggshells.”

Transformational life coach, Tereza Smolikova, says there is one main indicator which should give you a clear answer on knowing when to quit. “If you’re continuously struggling to get out of bed in the morning because the thought of going to work gives you anxiety, then it’s time to move on. Simple as that.” She says there’s a difference between the short-term stress caused by a meeting or a demanding project, and long-term stress caused by deeper issues. 

In my friend’s case, although she was stressed at work, she was extremely bored mentally and admits: “I really needed a change to engage my brain again!” Nonetheless, she wondered whether quitting was the right decision, especially as she really liked her colleagues. Tereza says, “We spend the majority of our time at work so it is really important to be in a workplace that is actually right for you.”

Having finally handed in her notice, my friend says: “The relief I felt the moment I had done it told me that it was the best decision I could have made.” She says it’s not wise to make a rash decision, but she’d been looking at job sites and talking to friends and family about it for a while. Her leap of faith paid off, and she soon found a new job, which she loves. But how will you know if that leap is the right one for you?

There are many different reasons for wanting to leave your job, Tereza explains, and understanding your motivations can go a long way to helping you make the decision that is right for you. Here, she outlines them and gives advice on navigating the situation. 

You like what you do but your boss is a monster, you can’t stand your colleagues, or you disagree with company values. 

In this case, it’s most likely you just need to find another employer that would be a better fit for you. But do your research on the companies you interview for and really try to discover the company culture and how they treat their employees.

You like the company, but the work you do is mundane, boring, uninspiring and you’re asking yourself “there’s got to be more to life than this, right?” 

Here, it gets a bit more complicated. Maybe you do have an idea of what you’d actually like to do, but most likely you don’t have the right qualifications or experience to get a job at the same pay level. That’s where further education and some lifestyle changes are needed to be able to accommodate the transition, such as retraining as a teacher, or going freelance to gain flexibility and freedom. 

Or perhaps you know you need a change, but you’re not quite sure what it should be – in which case, you’ve got a lot of soul searching to do. My advice? There are many different resources you can use, such as personal development books, podcasts, Ted Talks and YouTube videos. Here are some of my favourites:


Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Find Your Why by Simon Sinek

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long Happy Life by Hector Garcia

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin 

The Big Stretch by Teneshia Jackson Warner


The Marie Forleo Podcast 

Your Dream Life with Kristina Karlsson

Game Changers with Molly Fletcher

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Put Yourself First with Kat Horrocks

Ted Talks:

Simon Sinek

Laura Sheehan

Brené Brown

YouTube channels: 

Marie Forleo

The Financial Diet

Erin May Henry

Alternatively, if you are in the position financially where you can afford to work with a life coach or a career coach, do – they will help you navigate through this new territory and achieve the result you seek more quickly.

You’ve realised you just don’t want other people to tell you what to do, and you want to be able to make your own decisions. 

In this case, coming up with an idea for your business is crucial, and so is creating a good business plan. There will be a lot of things you will need to learn, especially if you’ve been traditionally employed until now. Here, you have two main options based on whether you have a financial cushion you can lean on while you’re building your business, or you don’t. In the latter case, I highly recommend starting your business on the side, while you’re still in your 9-to-5, and make the transition fully only when you know you can generate enough profit to substitute your monthly income. You might have to make some compromises at the beginning, but the end goal is well worth it. 

Read this if you want to find out how to work on your side hustle without burning out.

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