Woman with her head against a wall thinking about leaving a job.

Are You Thinking About Leaving a Job?

If you’re in a moment of change or growth, you might be thinking about leaving a job. As a career coach and Denver career counselor, I meet many people who daydream about a change in jobs now and again. Sometimes these are just idle daydreams. Other times, they’re a sign that you really do have good reasons to leave your job. 

If you’re thinking about taking the leap and leaving a job, here are five ways to determine when exactly to leave a job.

5 Best Reasons for Leaving a Job

1. You feel unsatisfied or disinterested in the work you do.

No matter how unhappy my career coaching clients say they are in their current job, one of the first things I have them do is list the things that they enjoy, even if it’s a very short list and they can only honestly say, “the free coffee in the break room.” 

If their list of things they like is solely related to having a great boss, great benefits, and/or good co-workers rather than the work itself, that is very telling. Loving their work but not loving the corporate mission or its leadership is also an important signal. If you don’t find the actual work that you’re doing satisfying or even interesting, that’s a good reason for leaving a job. Make an honest list, and then keep that list in mind if you decide to go job hunting, so you can recognize the things you like.

2. You dread Mondays.

If you find yourself already dreading Monday’s return to work on Sunday, it might be time to rethink what you are doing. One of my executive coaching clients told me he started to feel that dread on Saturdays because he knew he only had one more day before he had to return to a job he didn’t like. 

The ultimate goal is to be happy about what you get to do each day and to have your weekends as a time to relax and renew yourself. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have some ambivalence about jumping into the work week after an amazing weekend of fun, friends, and family, but that’s different than experiencing actual dread — which is one of many good reasons to quit a job.

3. You frequently browse jobs on places like Indeed, LinkedIn, or ZipRecruiter.

I get this a lot from career coaching clients. They aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for, but they just want to “see what else is out there.” 

The problem is that if you don’t first clarify what you want, you end up with the “different job, same crap” problem, and you’re back to job searching soon after. If you take the time to find your focus and sort out what you really desire in your next job, you’ll be happy you took that time in the long run.

While the urge to job search may just be idle curiosity, it can also indicate that you’re restless where you are, which can be a good reason for change and leaving a job. 

4. You keep hoping things will get better.

Sometimes, waiting things out is the smart thing to do. For instance, if you love your job overall, aside from one or two things, such as an overwhelming project, a bad boss, or an annoying co-worker, it makes sense to give things a chance to improve. Projects end, co-workers move on, and bad bosses may (hopefully) get fired. 

The key is to figure out where that tipping point is between your current circumstances and your overall satisfaction. Did the tedious project that ended get replaced by something equally undesirable? Are you working too many hours per week, despite being told things would “slow down?”  Does your bad boss seem like they’re settling in for the long haul? If your plan to “wait it out” has you feeling like you’re in danger of an ulcer or a drinking problem, that might be a good reason to leave your job.

5. You have thought about getting a career coach.

Many of my clients say they had considered getting a career coach at some point in the past due to work dissatisfaction. When caught early, a good career coach can help clients find opportunities for professional growth that can help them feel more satisfied, or brainstorm ways to test drive a new career, before the current one reaches a crisis point. 

Unfortunately, too often, people wait until they are really miserable in their jobs and only look for a coach when either they feel they can’t take it anymore, or their work stress is impacting the quality of their relationships with their spouse, friends, and family. Ideally, you want to have a positive work/life balance, where you have plenty of energy and attention to give to the people you care about outside of work hours.

If your job is negatively impacting your overall quality of life, to the point that you’re seeking help from a career coach, that could be a sign that you have some good reasons to leave your job.

Leaving a Job When It’s Time for a Positive Change

Think about the number of hours you spend at your job (For full-time workers, that’s 2,080 per year), and how many hours that adds up to over your lifetime. Life is too short to waste on something you aren’t passionate about, so if you are unhappy in your current job, do something about it. 

Some people don’t need a career coach if they already know what they want to do and how to get there, but others could benefit from more guidance, or desire career assessments to determine their next path. Whatever you do, decide you want to be happy doing it, and get started!

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