Telltale signs it’s time to leave that job…

Consider this. You’ve been at it for some time now. 1 year. 3 years. Maybe even 10.

Yet something’s missing. It just doesn’t feel right. You feel like a part if not your entire soul is lost. You find no purpose that is able to fill that cavity from this side of the pasture.

At some point in everyone’s career, we would have felt this. Be it a dream job or something you sold out for because you needed the money; realisation will hit you like a giant yellow school bus on a bright sunny day — that purpose is what drives you to drag your feet to that office and not the money or the people.

Graduating from university and stepping into the corporate world, I told myself —Pragmatism is key. Of course being born and raised in Singapore, my hopes and aspirations of becoming a writer had to materialize slowly and realistically. For those of you who do not know, Singapore is one of if not the most expensive city in the world to live in. The cost of living here is extraordinary and more often than not, our worth is more materialistically determined than anything else. Sad, but it’s a reality. But I digress.

I studied Chemistry but took on a job so distantly placed from my field of study because the pay was impressively well above market norms — on top of the developmental opportunities, career growth prospects and quality of contacts that I foresaw could be made of it, I kept an open mind and took the leap.

Here I am at my 1 year mark. It is starting to get to me. Eating me from the inside. The daily conflict between the brain and the heart. The “you need to pursue your dreams” vs “you need that income to live reputably in society and support your family” predicament. That angel vs devil metaphor. Nights have turned sleepless because of this.

It is arduous to have to drag your feet to a place knowing your heart is not in it, but to have to do it anyway takes immense strength and tenacity. Much of what mainstream education feels like to the enlightened sometimes.

Throwing that resignation is easy. The thought process behind that however, must be logical and practical. At least in my opinion. You’ve been going through that daily grind for sometime now and work has become routine enough that it equips you with utmost familiarity. Your couch that is your career, is all warmed up and cozy, but deep within you, that sort of comfort isn’t what you truly seek. What gives?

1. You wake up every morning and the first thing you ask before brushing your teeth is “Why am I doing this?”

The process of trying to leave a job is like developing a cancer. It is deferentially symptomatic at different stages. The above is stage 1. The feet dragger from the bed.

2. You start convincing yourself as to why you should remain in said job and why you shouldn’t pursue your dreams. *Cue yellow legal pad listing pros and cons (reference to “How I Met Your Mother’s” Ted Mosby)*.

The money, the work benefits (medical, dental, flexible, parental benefits, leave entitlements, bonuses, free gym membership, etc. — I kid not. These are legitimate factors for choosing and to stay in a job), the work environment (colleagues), the progression pathways and others. In my case, If I become what I want to become, then I’m my own boss. I forgo a world of benefits that were presented to me on a silver platter like I was privileged to receive them, and instead have to depend on creating opportunities for myself. Even the latter requires a certain sense of discipline. As with many other virtues, it must be habituated and it can be. It’s a chance one has to take.

3. You consider or perhaps begin therapy.

Now don’t get me wrong. Where pain finds the heart and words of consolation are the remedy, then why not consume the nectar that heals? Notwithstanding, this is a sign that the heart and mind are misaligned and stressed out about it. I’m not a certified therapist or a psychologist to academically or clinically front this statement. These are only outputs of my logical and analytical deductions. I’m happy to hear varied views.

Therapy isn’t bad — if you know what it’s purpose should be. If you depend on therapy to convince your heart that what you’re doing now is where you belong, it’s pointless my friend. You will hit a roadblock.

4. You lose focus and interest in your work. As a result, you begin under-performing.

This is it. The final stage of the cancer. The pressure becomes so intense it is only waiting to implode. Much like a pressure cooker that has been overloaded.

When it’s too much to handle, negligence and apathy will kick in. Disregard and disinterest for the work and its quality lead to dissatisfaction from superiors. Performance appraisals take a harsh beating and rewards are compromised. Where once stood the fortresses of your career goals, there is now just a blank space.

Boom!!!

But is it the end?

Hardly.

That’s when you start to find the pieces that you thought were missing but had in your back pocket all along to complete the puzzle that you wished for oh so long.

Timecheck — Start Googling for a resignation letter template and yes.

It’s time to leave.