Careers are long journeys without clear destinations. Sometimes, the path ahead doesn't look promising. Maybe it's time to turn left.
There are countless reasons to quit a job, but three stand out to me.
When you stop learning
Fundamentally, no job is safe. Society evolves, and we need to evolve with it.
When you stop learning, you stop evolving. Your career takes a halt.
Maybe you're happy where you are today, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the train never stops. You need to decide whether you're OK to be left at the station.
If you feel that you're not learning anymore or don't have the opportunity to learn in your job, maybe it's time to jump trains.
When you stop believing
Companies have a role to play. A mission. Something beyond just making a profit.
Hopefully, you have joined your current company because you believed in its mission.
You may think that mission doesn't matter if you enjoy your work, colleagues, and benefits.
But as with anything, there are highs and lows. When you're at your lowest, purpose reminds you why you're working hard to get through.
If you feel the mission is not worth the struggle, maybe it's time to find another purpose.
When you stop trusting
The whole point of organizations is that we can achieve more collectively than individually. That we all play a part and rely on others to play theirs. That requires trust.
Trust in people, rules, and processes.
Trust is predictability. Reliance. Safety.
When you stop trusting, everything looks rigged and unfair. That leads to cynicism.
If you find yourself acting cynically, maybe it's time to move on.
When not to quit
Are you still learning or have the opportunity to learn?
Do you still believe in your company's mission?
Do you trust and respect your colleagues?
If you can answer yes to all these questions, maybe it's not the right time to quit. Maybe you're considering quitting for the wrong reasons.
It is natural to expect things in return for what we do. But there's a fine line between expectations and entitlement.
"I'm not paid what I deserve."
"Management doesn't realize my potential."
"Things never change."
"I'm not empowered."
"Nobody believes in my ideas."
Maybe you haven't found the right way to get your ideas across or convey that you could contribute more to the organization.
Before quitting, ask yourself.
- Have I tried everything I could?
- Have I consulted or involved enough people?
- Or am I expecting to be empowered before trying anything? (Procrastination)
Don't convince yourself that "they never let me do things" or "they don't believe in me." There's no such thing as a "they". Just a bunch of you and I.
Focus on what you can do. What you're willing to do. What you believe in.
Because at the end of the day, that's the only thing that matters.
Maybe, then, consider quitting.
The train never stops. But there's always a next station.