8 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job
Sometimes you just gotta leave
I’ve written and advised you about ways to quit your job, what you should do if you get fired, and even working for crappy companies. After being a professional for so many years, I’ve learned quite a bit about what I will and will not tolerate in the workplace. I’ve also learned that walking out on any toxic relationship can be life-changing, whether it be a significant other, friend, parent, or even the one you have with your employer.
1. Your Boss is Unstable
Trust me. Not everyone in management is a stable genius. Maybe you didn’t need me to tell you that in this day and age, but here we are. There are many traits that can make a boss be considered “unstable,” and I am not talking about someone who is actually mentally ill here, but someone who seems to be able to turn their unstable behaviors on and off depending on their mood, who else is around, or if the wind is blowing just right.
I’ve had several bosses like this. Nice and supportive one day and then the next day they act as if you pissed all over their Cheerios. My most recent one was like this. She would sing my praises to my face and the next she would bitch about me to other colleagues. So which is it? Some days she would come in with a grumpy face, sighing loud enough for the entire first floor of Cube World to hear. Other days she came in smiling and chatting with everyone.
I think the worst was when she lied. She had a habit of telling her superiors gossip that simply wasn’t true. So-and-so didn’t get their work done, what’s-their-face is looking for another job, who’s-it said they are bored and need more work. Each of those examples are true lies she told. All three of those instances are also how three people got fired.
Everyone was always on pins and needles around her. Kissing up to her and pretending they liked her. When the reality was, no one really cared to be around her. She gossiped, told painfully boring and long personal stories, and even lied about what her husband did for a living. She wasn’t a bully or a tyrant, but just an unstable person to work for and with.
Anyone who has a boss like this has reason to quit. It is not healthy to be stressed about what’s being said about you or never being sure who is walking in the door each day. In a big corporation, unstable bosses get away with this shit all the time. There’s no need to go crazy trying to make these people happy or figure out what they really want from you because they will never be honest to your face.
2. You Are Being Bullied or Harassed
As you may know, I was a victim of workplace bullying on several occasions. One caused me so much emotional grief, that my anxiety medication dosage had to be raised. I couldn’t sleep. I cried almost every night when I got home and every single Sunday night before I had to go back. Some Saturday nights too, if I had too much wine. I finally quit that job. It was a great job. Stable, decent pay, good benefits, close to home, and I loved my boss. But that wasn’t enough to keep C-Word at bay.
Being followed, blocked from performing my basic job functions, constantly questioned, and watched for any mistake was not a good situation. HR didn’t help and my colleagues tried to stay out of C-Word’s way as to not become a target themselves. Some even thought it was funny. After several years, my body finally had enough of the constant stress. I was sick all the time. I literally did not go #2 during the week anymore. I had a flu shot and still had the worst flu of my life. I was drained physically and emotionally.
No one should put up with this behavior. If you’ve tried to rectify your situation through the appropriate channels and nothing is being done to protect you, it may be time to leave. That type of stress can affect your health, relationships, and mental health.
3. You Have a Better Opportunity Elsewhere
This one is kind of a no-brainer. But some people still feel guilty about leaving their employer or boss. Sometimes the fear of the unknown kicks in or even imposter syndrome. It all depends on what a “better opportunity” looks like to you. Is it more money? More freedom? More responsibility? New scenery? Better benefits?
Whatever Better Opportunity looks like to you, after weighing all the pros and cons (costs of living, salary, etc.) if you still feel like moving on is better, then I say go for it! Life is about opportunities. Both the ones we take and those that we pass on. No one should live with the regret or what-if of not taking a chance to better themselves. Isn’t that what a career is all about? Moving forward?
4. You are Paying Most of Your Paycheck into Child Care and/or Gas
Here is another reason to quit that may seem obvious. But many people don’t make the connection or think they HAVE TO work, even if it costs more to work than to stay home. Childcare costs are outrageous. I used to run an in-home daycare for several years. I made pretty decent money, even being the cheapest in town. That was 20 years ago when I charged $100 to $150 per week. Now a four-year-old opening at a commercial daycare runs about $250 to $400 per WEEK! Do the math. Are you really bringing enough home to make the gas money, clothes, stress, office politics, etc. worth it?
Several years ago, when gas prices were reaching upwards of $4 per gallon, I had an 80-mile round-trip commute. At the time, I had an old gas guzzler mini-van in bad need of a tuneup that I could not afford. I was filling my tank at least three times a week at $60 per fill. On top of that, I was paying almost $200 per week in daycare fees. That’s almost $400 per week just for me to work. I made $12 per hour. I was left with just dollars, after the cost of insurance premiums.
Just as I was getting ready to quit, gas prices started going back down. Although, about six months later, I quit anyway for having an unstable bully for a boss.
The lesson here is, if you aren’t making enough to pay for the expenses so you can work, like childcare, gas, work clothes, tools, etc., then you should think about quitting and finding something that pays better.
5. You Have a Terminal Illness
Honestly. If you are told you only have a limited time left in this world, please enjoy it. Don’t spend the majority of it in an office or working for The Man. Travel, check items off your bucket list, spend time with family and loved ones. I know too many people who kept working after receiving a terminal diagnosis. They waited to quit until they were too weak to enjoy the rest of their days.
Dying is not the time to prove you have a good work ethic. Just quit.
6. The Job Isn’t What You Signed Up For
This happens far too often. The old bait and switch. I had a job like this. I was supposed to be a Remote Project Assistant, creating and editing deliverables. Ad hoc tasks. Supporting the CEO. But, during my first week with the company, I was given deliverables to format, proofread, and edit. I thought maybe they were easing me into the role and the project work would come later. It did not. Not only was I expected to only copy edit, but I was also expected to work 12+ hour days. All of which is fine, IF that had been what they sold me on. It was not.
Another role I had was exactly what they told me I would be doing. It was the culture that wasn’t what they assured me it was. Remote work, family-friendly, Work/Life Balance, fun, laid back, helpful. None of those things were true. In fact, they were all so far from the truth that I questioned my own sanity for a while. I finally went back to the job offer packet and the job description. I was not losing my mind (over that anyway). Either they truly believed the BS they were spreading OR they lied to get experienced people in the door.
When you are sold on a lie, it’s okay to quit. In the first scenario (the one that ended up being a Copy Editor job), I was over-qualified. Yes, we had a lot of work, but it was easy. Maybe that’s okay for some, but I like to learn and extend myself. To be engaged in my work. In the second scenario, the Trickle-Down and Toxic Cultures were so bad, that people quit daily. People also cried daily. That’s not how work is supposed to be. If you’re super unhappy, quit if you can.
7. You’ve Tried Everything to Get Fired and Haven’t Been Yet
Yes, this is a thing. I have done this thing. Living in an At-Will-Employment state means that there is no guarantee of keeping my job. I can get fired or quit willy-nilly. No one has to give a reason. But, if I get fired, especially for no reason, I can get unemployment benefits. If I quit, it is highly unlikely I will get unemployment. So, it behooves me and others in At-Will-Employment states who want to quit, to try to get fired instead. Granted, this was a long time ago and I ended up quitting anyway. I assume the company was playing the same game I was, hoping I would quit so they didn’t have to pay out of their unemployment insurance. They won. They made my life so miserable, that I had to quit.
Seriously, if you are playing this game with your employer, you may as well quit. They have more resources than you. I would say give it a good three months and then throw in the towel. No, this is not the most ethical thing to do. Yes, trying to get fired can affect your references. I do not recommend trying to get fired. Just quit. Start fresh.
8. The Company is Part of an Illegal Crime Ring and/or Laundering Money
I have not knowingly worked for a crime ring. Or the mafia. But I did work for a company whose parent company’s CEO got into a lot of trouble for millions of dollars in unauthorized bonuses and misspending company funds on artwork and gold toilets. But us peons at the local levels had no knowledge of what the head honchos were up to.
However, many Enron and Arthur Anderson employees knew what their organizations were doing were illegal. You can’t just make up investment funds for negative dollar amounts to keep your company in the green to keep stock prices up. Okay, well you can, but it’s illegal and will come crashing down eventually. I am sure a lot of those employees that got caught up in the scandal wish they would have quit long before shit hit the fan.
My point is, if you know your company is into illegal business dealings, get the fudge out now! You never know who they may pick as their scapegoat. Unless you want to go to federal prison, I guess. Then, by all means, stay. Maybe you’ll like prison food.