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How to Quit Your Job Without Ruining Your Career

How to Quit Your Job Without Ruining Your Career

Not many of us are very comfortable with change. It’s human nature. We like stability, predictability. But when that comfort zone settles around a job we’ve lost our passion for, it’s time to face the possibility of moving on.

Skyrocketing demand for IT talent is pervading the lives of even the most settled technology professionals, so it’s not all together unlikely that you’ve entertained the thought of quitting for a more tempting offer. But with opportunity inherently comes risk. How can you be sure that this is the right move to make? An opportunity that looks appealing from the outside may or may not be what you expected; after all, comfort zones exist for a reason – you don’t want to jeopardize your career just because you’ve had a rough week at work.

Are You Quitting for the Right Reasons?

So is it really time to quit your job or are you just experiencing natural ups and downs? In some cases it may be a tough call. Life events can affect your career outlook and it can take a lot of honesty with yourself as to where the true problem lies. But here are a handful of things we’ve seen over and over again that appear to be good indicators of when it’s really time to quit.

The first indicators are a matter of professional development. Do you feel stale in your career? Are you stuck in a rut? It’s not just a matter of upward mobility; the best employers know that their team members need opportunities to learn and lead, to nurture their career goals. Opportunities of this sort are endless, but if you’re not seeing them in any way, shape or form, it may be time to start searching for something new.

Another set of indicators of when to quit your job lies in the company and how it’s managed. Are you receiving regular feedback? Is the company undergoing frequent re-structuring? How is office conflict managed? Are other people leaving, and if so, for what reasons? Great employers understand that their employees need to feel valued. If your status as a valuable team member is getting lost in the mix and buried under other issues, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

The final set of indicators relates to your personal wellbeing. If the workload is too heavy or the work-life balance is so off-kilter that your work-related stress is manifesting in physical ways, then saying goodbye is probably the healthiest choice. Or, if a toxic work environment is ceaselessly surrounding you, once again, it might be healthier to move on. Maybe your life values have shifted, and this job just isn’t aligning. No matter what the cause, it’s important to know when to prioritize your health and wellbeing above your job.

Get an Outside Perspective

In any of the above scenarios, it’s important to question whether the issues can be realistically addressed without leaving. So, if you’re feeling stagnant in your career, talk with your boss to see if they can offer any opportunities for growth, learning, or leadership. Or, if it’s a negative work environment, talk the issue through with your supervisor to see if they can help make it more positive.

Additionally, it’s an excellent idea to get some outside perspective on the matter. When you’re on the inside, it can be easy to miss the root of the problem, so talk to a mentor, trusted friend, old colleague or unbiased family member who isn’t afraid to deliver a perspective that may not align with your own. For example, a mismatched work-life balance may be your own doing, not your company’s, even if you’ve been denying it.

If, however, the problem remains despite your best rescue efforts – and your source of outside perspective agrees – it’s definitely time to ask, what’s next?

What’s Your Plan B?

There may be a sense of relief in finally coming to a conclusion that it’s time to quit… Or, there may be a sense of panic. What’s next?

There are two main scenarios here: first, you have a new job lined up that you’re ready to accept. If that’s the case, congratulations! In the excitement, however, don’t forget to genuinely ask yourself whether this new job is truly what you want for your career, or whether it was an escape route from your old job. The new opportunity may have been the trigger to quitting your job, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is the best path for your future career. Consider your options carefully.

On the other hand, you may have no prospects of any new job at all. You have a couple of options here. Either you quit and use the time off to search thoroughly for your next awesome career opportunity, or you stick around and search in your spare time. Considerations for this decision naturally include both your financial and personal wellbeing. Can you sacrifice the extra income to quit with no immediate alternative? Can you sacrifice your sanity to stay for the weeks it may take to find something new? It’s a hard decision, and it will likely affect which future opportunity you end up taking, so be careful to consider all the options.

Another great alternative is to work with a recruiting and staffing firm to help you decide how and where to move forward in your career path. A diligent IT staffing firm will thoroughly interview you to understand your career goals and aspirations, and then work quickly to line up available and matching opportunities. In this scenario, you’re unburdened of the job search stress and you gain the outside perspective you need to quit your job without ruining your career. If this last alternative sounds like the perfect solution, let us know. We can help you out.

If you’re back on the job hunt, download our free job seeker guide for tips on resume writing, networking, interviewing, and more.