3 questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about quitting your job

Have you ever thought about quitting your job? If so, I know how you feel. I quit 6 jobs in the 18 months after I graduated college so I had that feeling 6 times. I know first hand on how it feels to be on the fence with this decision. It’s not the most fun place to be.

So — I’d like to help you. And these three questions — which are actually practical — will do just that:

1. Do you keep up with industry news by reading magazines or articles online?

When I graduated college, I started working for a high-end faucet company. My boss gave me five magazines related to the faucet industry to read and asked me to read them, because he wanted me to learn about all the new trends and government regulations. I opened the first magazine, and it took about five minutes before I was asking myself “what am I doing at this company? I have zero interest in faucets.” If you work in an industry you have zero interest in, the chances of being a top performer are small. An employee that works for a competitor in your same position who loves the industry would undoubtedly do a much better job than you. This person would be at the forefront of innovation and you will be at the forefront of nothing because you have no interest.

2. Do you often find yourself brainstorming how to improve a project or task on your own time outside of work?

If on-going projects NEVER cross your mind outside of work then you’re probably not excited about them. Genuine excitement does not clock out at 5pm on a Friday and take the weekend off. If you’re genuinely excited about a project, you’ll be finding ways to improve it outside of your 9–5. Oh, and one thing to note: working on projects from home because you’re trying to meet a deadline does not count. It has to be done out of choice.

3. Do you often arrive early and leave late out of personal choice?

There’s a difference between an employee who always gets to work “on time” vs someone that gets to work early. Someone that gets to work early isn’t arriving early to check Facebook — they’re arriving early because they’re conscious that the extra time is needed to complete projects on time and to a high standard. They also probably leave late because they’re trying to put some final touches on a project, instead of leaving it for that day that never comes: tomorrow. These people arrive before the boss and leave after the boss, and they’re not doing it to show off — they’re doing it because they want to create value for their organization, and an 8 hour shift is often not enough time for them to create value at the speed that they want to create it.

If you answered “no” to all of these questions — you should consider looking for another job.

The starting point for deciding on your new job is to work in an industry that you’re genuinely interested in. If you closely read the characteristics of the examples above, you’ll realize that they’re characteristics of entrepreneurs. Why do you think this is? Well, I believe the best employees are those that treat the company they work for as their own. The ones that take ownership of the value creation process and don’t set an expiration time for their creativity. Of course, you might be ok with working at a job where the answer is “no” to all of these questions — but I’d argue that you’re deciding to settle. I’d argue that you are playing it safe. Playing it safe might feel like the best thing to do, but many people would agree that the success you achieve in life is a direct result of the risks you take.