Worldwide, according to a Gallup poll of 230,000 workers from 142 countries, there are two people who hate their jobs for every one person that loves his or her job. Only 13 percent of workers identify themselves as “engaged,” meaning that they like what they do. Sixty-three percent of people say that they’re “not engaged,” and 24 percent of people identify themselves as “actively disengaged,” which means that they actively cause difficulties for their co-workers and their managers.
If you hate your job, you’re certainly not alone, but would you be crazy to drop everything and quit? Should you walk in and resign right now, or should you come up with a plan to quit within the next few years? If you’re wasting half of your waking hours in a job that you hate, then it’s probably time for some radical change. Just make sure that you know where you’re going before you hand in your resignation.
Should You Quit Your Job?
It’s nice to have the attitude that if you quit your job, the universe will take care of you. However, for your own sake and for the benefit of those who love you, you need to think through a few important elements:
Your finances. In today’s economy, you’ll wait an average of eight months to find a new job. Do you have enough money to cover your expenses for that long? Are you and your family willing to make drastic lifestyle changes to accommodate less cash flow while you figure things out? Do you have capital to start your own venture, or can you get a loan from a friend or family member?
Your emotional state. If your job is causing you so much stress that it’s affecting your health and your important relationships, then it might be worthwhile to pull the plug. However, if you’re just mildly annoyed and you think you can still hang in for a while, it might be smarter to stay while you think through your options.
Your plan. Some people want to quit their jobs and start their own companies. Others want to quit and then travel for a while or stay at home for a while. If you have a plan that you’ve carefully thought out, then you might be all right if you take the plunge now. Alternatively, if you only have a vague idea of what you’ll do and how you’ll feed yourself, then you should probably stay until you come up with a strategy.
Your loved ones. If you’re single, then quitting your job only affects you. If you have a partner or kids, then your decision to quit could have a significant ripple effect. Don’t let your partner push you into staying if you’re utterly miserable, but take your family’s feelings into consideration before suddenly giving your notice.
Quit Slowly or Quit Now?
Consider talking through your options with a licensed mental health counselor who has an MS in mental health counseling (to learn more about mental health issues in the U.S., visit this page). Your mental health status could be having a negative impact on your current job, or be a negative factor in your next occupational endeavor. A mental health counselor will be able to point out issues you may have overlooked that are holding you back at work. You might also talk with a financial planner or accountant to get a realistic picture of your financial situation.
Once you’ve decided that you want to quit, you need to set a timetable. Keep a few important things in mind while you’re planning your departure:
- Don’t leave before you leave. Avoid becoming one of those “actively disengaged” workers who makes everyone miserable because you’re miserable. Try to leave with good job references, and leave your professional network feeling positive about you.
- Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If you decide to quit without finding a new job, then expect to live off of your savings or investments for a while. Also, know what you’ll do if your new business venture goes bust.
- Have a goal beyond money. Wanting more money is a worthy goal, but life is about so much more than your bank balance. If you became financially independent, do you know what you’d do with your time? How would you create a more satisfying life?
Final Thoughts: Should You Stay or Should You Go?
Quitting your job and taking control of your life is a good thing to do. At the same time, avoid jumping out of the plane until you know that you’re wearing a working parachute.