How to Know When to Quit Your Job — and How to Do it Right
Knowing when and how to quit your job can make all the difference for staying financially secure as you go through this big transition.
July 25, 2022
Back in the day, it used to be that people would find a job after they finished school and stay with the same company for almost their entire career. Those days are long gone.
In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average amount of time people had been with their current job was 4.1 years. However, this number has likely gone down with ”The Great Resignation” movement that has taken place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to look for a new job. Maybe your current position doesn’t pay enough. Maybe you’re experiencing burnout from being overworked. Maybe you have toxic co-workers or a lousy company culture.
While you’ll undoubtedly experience bad days from time to time in almost any job, there are some times when quitting is simply the right thing for your career path and overall well-being. Here’s how to know when to quit your job and what you should do to streamline this transition.
How to know when to quit your job
When is it time to quit your job? While there’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer, there are some common warning signs that staying with your current employer isn’t going to do you any favors. Here are some key decision-making factors that can tell you how to know when to quit your job.
You’re not given any growth opportunities
You don’t want to stay in an entry-level position forever. Investing in your career involves gaining new skills and pursuing additional training or certifications so you can move up within your company. Sometimes, employers will provide or assist with this training so you can advance to a new position within the company.
Unfortunately, not every company provides great growth opportunities. If you asked for a raise in your last performance review and were told no, or there doesn’t seem to be any path for advancement in the company, it may be time to start searching for a new job. After all, if you aren’t getting any raises, your salary won’t be able to keep up with inflation.
You have a poor work-life balance
If your work schedule is interfering with your personal life, you definitely need to make some changes. For some people, the rise of remote work during the pandemic blurred the lines between work and home life. If you’re not able to get time off to be free from work-related emails or phone calls, you can never truly relax and unwind.
This can lead to one of the biggest problems in today’s working world: burnout. Burnout can contribute to cognitive weariness, physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion and feelings of stress and anxiety. When you don’t have time to address your personal needs and wants, work can leave you completely worn down.
You’re stuck in a toxic work environment
A toxic work environment can also pose a significant threat to your mental health. A bullying boss, toxic co-workers and a lack of clarity about assignments and responsibilities can cause you to genuinely dread each day you go to work. Quite often, a toxic work environment will also affect your personal life, leaving you drained and irritable even when you’re with friends or family.
Take note of what makes your current job toxic so you’ll have red flags to watch out for when trying to find your next job.
You’re ready for a change
A job change doesn’t always have to be because of problems with your current work. Sometimes, going after a new opportunity can be an exciting adventure. Maybe you want to move to a new place, meet new people or try out a new career. You can love your job and still feel ready for a change. And that’s perfectly fine, too.
How to successfully navigate your career change
Once you’ve decided that you need to change your job, there are some key steps you should take. Changing jobs may require moving across the country or even going for a brief period without work. Careful planning can ease the potential mental and financial stress that can come along with a job transition.
Update your resume
Quitting your current job means you’ll have to start looking for new employment. But before you do that, you have to update your resume. Be sure to include relevant accomplishments and experience from your current job.
Don’t limit your resume update to a word document that you’ll email to potential employers. Updating your public LinkedIn profile can make you more attractive to recruiters in your niche. Keeping your LinkedIn profile fully up to date (and open to recruiters) could result in you getting interview offers before you even start actively looking for a new job.
Start your job search early
You don’t have to wait until you quit your current job to start looking for a new one. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to identify what you want out of a new job and find a good match.
Be cautious about letting your current employer know about your job search. Some employers may fire you if they find out you are looking for a new job. Be mindful of your company culture and be sure to let potential interviewers know why you aren’t willing to use your current supervisor as a job reference if this is the case.
On the other hand, if you‘re interested in potentially staying with your current employer, a new job offer could be used as leverage for a raise or promotion. If your employer is willing to match or exceed the salary and benefits from the new offer, you may choose to stay where you are. Of course, if you’re ready to leave your current job for something different, you don’t need to worry about using a new job to gain negotiating leverage.
Depending on the timing of when you quit your current job and find new employment, you may go without a paycheck for a while. Look for ways to cut back on your spending and increase your savings while you’re still working at your old job. Paying down debts or eliminating unnecessary expenses (like daily coffee runs) will help you be able to set more aside for when you’re temporarily out of work.
By saving money in advance, you can avoid going into added debt while you wait to start a new job.
Give your two weeks’ notice
You can provide your two weeks’ notice by writing a resignation letter or meeting with your boss. You don’t have to tell your boss why you’ve decided to quit (though you can tell them you’ve accepted a new job if you want).
Even if you’ve had a bad experience at this job, this isn’t the time to burn bridges. Keep your letter or meeting polite and professional. You never know when you’ll find yourself going through a career change in the future. Parting on amicable terms will allow you to use your old supervisor as a reference if needed.
Watch for signs it’s time to quit your job
How to know when to quit your job can vary from person to person. However, by understanding some common issues that contribute to an unhealthy work environment and knowing how to prepare for a job search, you can take control of your career path.
A new job could provide much more than a bigger paycheck and better benefits. It could even improve your overall wellness through more satisfying work and a positive company culture.
Getting a new job isn’t the only way to improve your financial future. Paying down credit card debt can also help eliminate financial stress, especially when you find yourself between jobs.
The Tally† app can help by consolidating your credit card debt into a new line of credit with a single monthly payment so you can pay off debt more efficiently. With less debt and a better job, you can be in greater control of your finances.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.