How to know if it’s time for you to leave your job

How many times have you said this to yourself compared to the number of times you have actually done it? Quitting a job is not a decision that just pops into your head suddenly; it must be carefully thought out. There are a number of reasons why people quit their jobs; some quit because they are relocating, others because they are moving on to a better job, while some quit due to some form of harassment in the work place – and sometimes, people just can’t take it anymore.

If you are on the verge of quitting your job, there are a number of important considerations: one is to know when it is the right time to leave your job, and another is to understand why people say they want to quit their jobs but they never actually do.

When is it time to leave your job?

The major challenge people face today is knowing when the time is right to quit their job. Some make plans at the beginning of the year with the aim of quitting at the end of the year; but these plans never materialize because they misjudge the situation, or the situation evolves into something else. You need to be extra sure that the step you intend to take is the right one. You also need to be self-assured; ready to accept the consequences of your actions if things don’t work out as you intended and for some people this is the hard part.

“And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit.”
—Stephen Root as Milton Waddams in Office Space

So these are the signs that it is time to leave that job:

Damaged relationship with your boss

There is a saying that people leave managers, not companies, and it is widely stated that a bad boss is the number one reason for employees quitting their job. Partially this is true, but if your competitor offers your staff double salary, it is not going to be about your boss anymore. However, if your relationship with your boss becomes damaged, you should quit your job if – and only if – you believe that the damage is irreparable. There are a number of factors that could damage the relationship; from you acting unprofessionally, to your boss acting badly. As the employee, you will begin to notice cracks in this relationship; when attempts to broker peace fails, then it is time to consider quitting your job.


The most important element of any job is growth, most employees want to grow in their position, not only because of the associated rise in salary, but because we are problem solvers and we love challenges. Stagnation could mean an absence of challenges in the job, or finding yourself doing basically nothing different month after month. Stagnation could turn into boredom and nobody wants to be bored for months or even years, you must be growing constantly on the job and with the job. Employees often leave their jobs when they realize that growth or learning new skills is no longer possible in their current position.

Something better has come along

Quitting a job means that you have found something you are interested in doing other than your job. Perhaps you have a new start-up idea, or ideas for new products, or perhaps your weekend hobby has transformed into a viable business. This new-found interest could be in the form of another job or a personal business; it must be something you love. There is no point quitting your job if the alternative is not something you love. Yes, you can quit because of a fatter pay check, but will you enjoy the new place?

Remuneration and entitlements are delayed

Many people feel they should quit their job when what is rightfully theirs is not given to them when it becomes due. There is no point begging for your entitlements when it is clearly stated in your contract. Unfair compensation is enough to make you quit your job. It is only fair for you to receive what you are due after working in order to earn it.

Management’s recognition

From time to time everybody wants to hear words like “Good job!” from colleagues and especially from their boss; lack of recognition could be the catalyst for an employee’s decision to leave an organization.

“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.
Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!”
– Earl Nightingale

Lack of ethics at your workplace

Even if your boss is great, you may notice a clash of morals between you and the organization as a whole. Little things that you consider morally wrong and unethical could give you a reason to leave your job. Lies or fraudulent practices are serious ethical issues that will force you to consider your stance in that organization. Some workplaces are full of internal politics between teams and managers and these activities could easily poison a good environment.

Company activities/values

For some people it is really important that the company does something more than simply generating a profit, especially for many Millennials; for them external company activities are important, they want to see the company focusing on more than generating money, they want to see the company taking care of their employees with respect and taking part in charity activities. During the Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2016 Millennials were asked: “What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?” They responded that businesses should put employees first, and they should have a solid foundation of trust and integrity. Millennials also believe that the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance. Attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number.

There is a clash between work and family

Once work begins to make you frequently absent from your home then you should think about making some changes. A great career is important to many of us, because we live in times when our actions define us, and others judge us based on the job title on the business card. But you should not be too busy to take time out of your day for those who matter most; family time is very important for the development of your children and for the love of your life. And as Mr. Dr. Abdul Kalam said “If you fall in your life, neither your boss nor client will offer you a helping hand, your family and friends will.”

So once your job begins to clash with your home life, then you must think about what is more important – your career or your family. Finding the work-life balance is not easy; it’s a constant battle between our desire to advance our career, reach for the sky and become a CEO one day, and the things that really matter – our loved ones.

You can’t live the life you want

People and jobs evolve, nobody is the same person they were a week ago, they are learning, evolving and their needs change. Sometimes they feel that this is not the right place, that their job is not giving them any joy and they would like to try something else, even if it’s only for a short time. If you have the feeling that you need to change something in your life it’s a good time to think about the next step you need to take for yourself and for your career. It’s better to have a plan and not act on impulse.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears”
– Les Brown

Why do people not act, even after making up their minds to quit their jobs?

There are a number of reasons, but the main one is that a change in situation has arisen. People want to feel challenged, appreciated and wanted. Once the reasons behind the initial desire to quit are no more, then there is no point acting on your initial plan. So a change in situation automatically means a change of plans.

However, if the little voice in your head wins, and you not only say: “I’m quitting my job today”, but you also intend to act on it, try to act professionally; don’t burn any bridges behind you. Even if you are moving because of problems with colleagues, try to act professionally, other employees in the company do not need to know what is happening or your reasons for quitting the job; you don’t want them to remember you in bad light. Acting like an amateur could hurt your references and your reputation in the future. And before you quit your job, make sure you’ve got a plan in place!

In conclusion, the decision to quit your job must be thought out carefully and if you realize that the reason(s) you want to quit are no longer valid, then stay.

But at any given moment you have the power to say: “This is not how the story is going to end!”