Updated: Aug 20
You've realized this for some time. You and your current job just weren't made for each other. Every working day is physically/emotionally/mentally draining, leaving you with nothing at the end of the day. You barely smile anymore, and the first thing on your mind every morning is the 101 other ways to avoid going to work.
The problem is, you're not sure what to do. You ask yourself the question, "Should I quit my job if it makes me unhappy?"
Leaving a job is not a trivial matter. You need to think this through. You're scared to leave, but it's depressing to stay. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The longer you spend thinking about it, the longer you need to repeat the daily dreaded routines.
It's not advisable to stay in a job that corrodes your mental health, even if it pays well. While quitting might be the easiest and fastest way out, some people might not have that luxury. They might end up in a worse situation.
No amount of money can replace your happiness. So, the answer to "should I quit my job if it makes me unhappy?" is a resounding yes. But one must do so with a clear reason and with a solid backup plan.
Find Out What Makes You Miserable
Sometimes, all you need is a vacation. The unhappy feeling might be the result of piled-up daily work stress. A few days or weeks off would help you recharge your batteries and give you enough time to think things through. Consider taking an additional unpaid leave if you need to.
Take a deep breath and try to figure out objectively if you can improve your current working situation. What are the factors that contributed to your unhappiness? Is it the work itself or your work environment? Is it your colleagues or your supervisor? The commute to work? The salary?
Do you have any power to solve these problems? Can you get help? Can you compromise?
For example, if you hate the work, but you love your workplace and your co-workers, maybe you can ask your supervisor to give you different responsibilities. Or if you love your work, but your colleagues are toxic, you can ask your superiors to switch teams or move to a different area in your office.
The first thing you need to know is whether you really need to leave, or can you continue staying in your present role?
You need to consider that you have bills and other things to pay, and quitting might mean losing a source to support your life.
Never decide to quit without knowing why you want to quit and how to survive after you quit. Keeping your current job is a lot easier than finding a new one. The last thing that you want to add to your plate is the regret of leaving your job.
12 Signs That You Need To Quit Your Job
On the other side of the coin, there are times when the best course to keep you away from any mental health issue is to quit. But how do you know when you should stay and when you should quit? Here are several indications that tell you it's better to pack your bag.
1. You dreaded waking up in the morning
If your job makes you unhappy, you'll try to avoid it any way you can. Waking up in the morning means you're one step closer to do the things that depress you.
2. You care less about your job
When you do something that you want to do, you'll do it with less care. You'll try to have as little involvement as possible and just want it to end as soon as possible. You stop trying your best and don't really care about the results either.
3. You're losing your concentration
Constant stress will cause you to constantly lose your focus on your work, be unable to concentrate, and be easily distracted. You'll make more mistakes.
4. It is exhausting just to survive the days
It takes you everything you have to go through the day. No wonder if you feel spent at the end of every working day.
5. You lose your self-esteem
Not being able to perform well at work again and again can cost you confidence in your ability to do your job well. When you feel you don't contribute, you will lose your self-worth.
6. You become easily irritated
When things always seem to go in the wrong direction, it's easy to feel frustrated and lost your patience. You become easily irritated and can snap at menial things.
7. You want to spend as little time as possible at work
Why spend more time than you have to at a place that makes you unhappy? Other than skipping work anytime you can, you'll also try to come late and go home as early as possible.
8. You can't enjoy your social and personal life
With no energy left, all you really want is to have a rest. It's nearly impossible to enjoy your personal and social life - be it with your family, friends, and co-workers. You avoid social events. Even doing your hobbies feels empty.
9. You can't sleep well at night
Drained and exhausted, you know you need some good night's sleep. Unfortunately, your restless and unhappy mind won't let you have one. It will affect your mornings, which will affect your days, which will affect your night sleep. And the cycle will continue spiraling down.
10. You're obsessed about work - negatively
When your job constantly stressed you out, you'll (subconsciously) look for reasons to avoid it. This might include replaying all the things that went wrong about your work, always thinking the worst about it, and telling everybody how bad your working condition is. You become obsessed with it in the wrong way.
11. You hate Sundays
Everybody loves the weekends. But if your job makes you unhappy, Sunday means you're one day away from repeating your dreadful routines. The anxious feelings, the butterflies in your stomach, they're stronger the closer you're to Monday.
12. Your physical health is degrading
High stress, depression, unhappiness, low self-esteem, lack of fun activities, and lack of rest and good sleep; not only all of them will affect your mental health condition, but also your physical body. Your immune system will drop, you'll be susceptible to harmful viruses and bacteria. In addition, you'll experience more cases of headache, stomach pain, sore muscles, and other physical pains.
How to Quit Your Job Without Ruining Your Life and Career
Let's assume that you say yes to most of the items on the previous list. You can't find any way to fix whatever problems you have at your current job. You concluded that you must leave your job for good - for the sake of your physical and mental health. You feel stuck in your life and career. You're miserable.
Then you should quit your job. But do not collect all of your belongings and leave straight away.
You need to figure out a way to quit your job without ruining your life and career. You'd also want to leave on a good note and not on a bad term. You need to create a solid game plan.
Know Where You Stand
There are too many unknowns in the process. You don't know where you will find the new job, whether this next job will be better than the current one, how long it will take for you to get rehired, and ultimately if you can survive that long without a stable income.
You need to change your money mindset and spending habit. Stop splurging all of your income on unnecessary things. Foods and bills are necessary expenses, but monthly movie streaming service? Not so much. Remember, you're about to enter the zone of less/no income. Start saving.
Save Enough "Quit Money"
Some use the term "quit money" to describe a saving that allows you to quit your job. It's used to sustain several months of living with no income while searching for a new job. Even if you've already gotten a new job before you quit, having some money on hand will give you more options.
Some are always prepared for the rainy days and have already saved for years. Good for you. If you haven't, there's no better time to start than today. Take at least 10 percent of your income before you spend it on anything else, put it in a separate emergency account, and never touch it.
So how much quit money is enough for you to safely quit your job? The minimum suggested amount is three months' worth of your living expenses. If you can save up to six months' worth, that's great. It will be even better if you can pile up to one or two-year worth. But it will take considerably longer.
And how much are your living expenses? Only you know. But consider all of your spending for food, rent, bills, school, and debts.
Start Building Your Ideal Career Path
You also need to start building your ideal career path. You don't want to quit one miserable job just to get back to another depressing one. One time should be enough. You can refer to our article on how to create your ideal career path for more detailed information, but here is the gist:
The first step is to identify your career options by leveraging desirability, feasibility, and viability. Make a list of your skills and interests, and find the intersection between them. Don't forget to list down potential challenges and their solutions.
Then continue by designing SMART goals for your ideal career path. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. These SMART goals will lead to one specific end goal that is aligned with your passions and your why. This will give you strong motivation to stay on your ideal career path.
The last step is creating actionable steps for your career development plan. Remember to make these steps specific but flexible. Include all the necessities to realize your goals and consider all the possible obstacles and solutions. One important thing that is dismissed by many is to set an estimated timeline and deadlines for each step.
You can make your journey easier by turning the steps into high-quality habits. Try to incorporate your hobbies into the process, find different ways to do things, and join the communities of like-minded people. The road will be smoother if you can find a mentor to guide you along the way.
At the end of the day, you would want to be happy in your career and avoid jobs that make you unhappy. You can achieve that by following the steps above and creating your ideal career path.
Get An In-Between Job Before You Quit
Getting your ideal career usually takes time. While you could be so lucky and land your dream job right after reading this article, the process could take years.
But what if you need to quit your stressful job right now? You don't want to stay any longer if you can help it. You don't have years to wait. What should you do?