Sometimes, you just can’t stand your job. You go into the office every day and count the hours until you can leave your desk for lunch or go home. You’ll start to ignore the quality of your work. This will happen once or twice in anyone’s career, and the only way you can get past it is to find a new job.
But that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and quit immediately. It’s important to take a measured, strategic approach towards your next career move, and part of that strategy involves sticking it out at your current gig until you line up a new one.
As frustrating as your work may be, there are a few reasons you might want to wait before hitting send on that resignation letter.
1. Money matters
Many times, people rush into quitting a job they hate, only to forget to take their financial state into account. A steady stream of income is wonderful and you can often take it for granted when you’re trying to escape a job that stresses you out.
Before quitting, make sure you have the money that you need to financially support a job search. Calculate four to eight months worth of expenses for food, necessities, and additional purchases to cover your time without that steady paycheck.
If you don’t have the amount you need to support your job search, it would be prudent to hold off on quitting until you secure that next gig. A job search requires focus, and worrying about your finances can only detract from that effort.
2. Not ready to advance
A problem with leaving your job before you even make your first foray into a new job search is that you may leave too early. This could either mean that you don’t have the necessary skills to make a next logical step in your career or you haven’t spent enough time learning all you can from your current employer.
Whatever the cause, it’s important to at least give the job search a try and get some interviews under your belt before quitting. That way you can understand whether you’re qualified enough to make a positive career change -- and avoid any downward trend in your career trajectory. You’ll learn what you need to focus on and what skills you need to sharpen at your current job. And as a result, you might find yourself reinvigorated by a new goal at work.
3. Opportunities within
While your current job might be bad, that doesn’t mean the company itself is the cause. And you might be able to make a move within the company to a different project or a different team. If you feel like the company is somewhere you want to be, but other reasons make you want to leave, take the time to look for opportunities within.
If you’ve done your job well in spite of your hate for it, there’s a good chance you’ve proven your worth to other people in your company. And that means that you should have people you can talk to about chances for upward mobility, opportunities to take control of a project, or openings to become a manager for a team.
4. Bridges burned
When you quit a job you hate, it’s often an emotional conclusion to a difficult work experience. That emotional aspect can lead you to burn bridges that you might find useful later in your career.
Taking the time to search for a new job and separate yourself from the day-to-day that’s bringing you down will allow you to more steadily and calmly part ways from your employer. You’ll be able to frame your move as one of advancement, rather than a hasty decision made on emotions.
The end result will be a more amicable split with your old company, which will keep doors open for you to work with them as clients or customers. More importantly, it will allow you to retain professional relationships that could be mutually beneficial in the future.
5. It’s not them, it’s you
When you hate your job, there’s a chance that it’s not just the team that is the problem. It depends on your attitude towards the job, how you approach your tasks, and what you do to try to change the negative aspects of your experience. This can include anything from asking for a promotion, to asking for more or different responsibilities, to something as simple as just having a chat with your manager or changing your mindset.
So before you quit, it’s important to determine if it’s them, you, or a mix of both that’s bringing the experience down. Key in on what’s good and what’s bad about your job. Use that information to find out what you want, either out of your current employer, or in your search for a new one.