How To Know When It’s Time To Go

Fun Fact: Winners quit all the time.

Just putting in the effort/ hustling/ grinding is not enough- that effort needs to be in the right direction for what you want to do, otherwise you will just burn yourself out for no reason. Part of that process means constantly reevaluating what you are doing, and dropping the jobs, habits, and directions that no longer serve you like a hot rock.

Sometimes quitting is the easiest thing in the world- usually once it’s become a matter of moving on to something better or personal survival. Unfortunately, our pack-bonding brains are great at giving us reasons to stick around, endure the unacceptable, and sabotage our own happiness for the sake of security.

If breaking up with your job is hard to do, it might really be for the best.

1. Threats to your Health

A hand pressed against fogged, wet glass. White and red lights of an ambulance shine through from the other side.

This one really should be a no-brainer, but we sadly we as humans (and notoriously folks in the culinary industry) are great at passing off our suffering and struggles as “part of the life,” “carrying hard” and other such toxic macho-posturing bullshit.
No jokes about this one folks, so please forgive the language- IF YOUR JOB IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO YOUR PHYSICAL AND/OR MENTAL HEALTH, FUCKING LEAVE. You are born for more than to work until you fucking die. YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, SAFE, AND CONTENT IN WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING.

2. Martyrdom

“I hate this job, but I can’t just leave ___ to fend for themselves.
“I’ll leave once the team is trained up enough and I can go.”

Yes, very noble- but they are their own people too. If you are worried about so-and-so “not being protected/ready” without you, 1. Why do they need you to survive? Take them with you if that’s the case- what’s bad for you is almost certainly bad for them too.

2. It’s not your problem/fault if the business is not staffed or doesn’t train appropriately to tolerate the sudden loss of any given employee. Bear in mind also that you might be overestimating your own impact. Don’t martyr yourself for a company that will replace you within two weeks.

3. You’ve Already “Clocked Out”

Animated GIF of a woman walking out a door slowly, reading "I may need to extend my lunch break into not working here anymore."

You deserve more in your life than to spend eight hours of each day with your brain shut off. You deserve work than inspires, excites, and challenges you. If you show up to work and truly find yourself going “Meh, it pays the bills,” find a new job- or find a way to make something that excites you pay.

4. You Dread Work More Than You Are Excited By It

Animated gif of a drawn person clutching their head and swaying with their eyes wide open.

Generally speaking, we all prefer to be doing things we enjoy most of the time. We accept that it can’t be ALL of the time- there’s always crap that just needs to be done, whether we like it or not.

In a perfect world, what we do for a living should be something we enjoy. No, we won’t enjoy it all the time- no one’s life is wall-to-wall sunshine and rainbows- but it SHOULD be something we don’t feel is a waste of our limited time on this planet. Much more, it shouldn’t be something we would actively seek not to do. If you wake up in the morning, feel a cold stone in your stomach as you go “Oh god, not this bullshit again” and give yourself a thousand-yard stare in the mirror, it’s time to move on.

Tomorrow morning, look in the mirror, and ask yourself “If this wasn’t my reflection but another person, looking at me this way after saying they need to go to work, what would I tell them?”

5. Restlessness

Part and parcel to “checking out” is the agitation of boredom. If you are ambitious, it’s only natural that your desire for greater challenge, greater impact, greater responsibilities, and the opportunity to learn new skills will come in to play. If your organization is unwilling/unable to recognize that and either promote or change your responsibilities, you are doing yourself a disservice by sticking around. Don’t choke off your ambition to fit someone else’s limitations.

6. Evolving Priorities- Yours AND the Business’s

Sometimes people just grow apart. It’s the same with jobs. If you find your job being pushed in a direction that doesn’t jive with your goals or ideals, you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to find a new place to hang your shingle. The same goes for changes in your life. This can be painful, especially if you’ve given a lot of time and energy to a position. People aren’t set in stone, though- you are allowed to grow and change as a person, and you are likely to do it at a faster rate than your job can accommodate.

If you really love your job, you should feel free to discuss these changes with your employer and see if accommodations are possible- reduced hours to pursue a new project, a change of shift to better enjoy time with your family, etc. If you aren’t so attached to your job, though, you shouldn’t feel bad about seeking something else that will grant you the room you need to grow and change.

Keep your head up, keep looking, don’t give up aiming for better, and always

Stay Classy,

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