Should You Quit Your Job? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

By Jen Williamson Updated on May 7, 2019

Let's face it--nobody loves their job all the time, even those lucky enough to be working their dream gig. But let's say you're pretty far from that scenario. When should you tough it out—and when should you walk away?

There's no shame in quitting a job that isn't getting you where you want to be, or one that is actively toxic. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you walk out the door for good.

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1. Can you get where you want to go from here?

Do you feel there’s potential and opportunity where you are? 

Some companies seek to develop and promote their own employees, while others would just as soon get you good at your current job and keep you in your place. Have you been passed over for promotions you want several times, and do the reasons seem arbitrary? 

It’s possible that a move to another company—even a lateral move—could set you up better for moving ahead.

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2. Are you overwhelmed with dread on Sundays?

Is it difficult for you to enjoy Sundays because you know you’ll have to go back to work tomorrow?

Is your job a major source of stress in your life? Do you come home upset on a regular basis? Are you facing yelling, rude treatment, or other forms of harassment at work? Do you feel like you can never get it right?

There are circumstances where a certain amount of job stress can challenge you to grow. But if you come home feeling battered every day—and especially if abuse is a factor—don’t try to tough it out. Your mental health is more important than staying the course.

3. Are the problems fixable?

Maybe you’re dying to work from home, and that’s not something your company offers. But have you tried to sell your boss on a work-from-home schedule?

Or maybe you’re interested in doing something that isn’t currently in the scope of your role. Is it possible to expand your job description to include those duties? You don’t need to be limited to your original job description.

Not all problems require a new job to fix. Consider whether you can get what you want at your current job—even if it requires a little out-of-the-box thinking.

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4. Is your boss a nightmare?

Some challenging bosses can be our most effective teachers. If your boss is tough but fair—and most importantly, if you’re learning a lot—it may be to your benefit to stay.

But if you and your boss just can’t get along, and you aren’t getting significant career benefits from this position, it may be time to pack it in. And if the behavior trends toward outright abuse, you deserve better—even if you are learning a lot.

5. Are you dying to do something else?

No matter how great you are as a medical administrator, that job will never lead to working as an art teacher.

If what you want isn’t just a promotion or a lateral move within the same industry—if it’s a wholly different job in a new field—then you’ll probably need to leave your current job.

You don’t necessarily have to do it all at once. Some career shifts happen in phases. You could moonlight in your dream gig for a while until you’re ready to make the move to full time; or use your current job to put yourself through school if you need a new degree.

But in many situations, you’ll have to make the leap and quit your current job eventually.

6. Can you afford to quit?

Maybe you’re in a situation where you know you should quit, but you can’t afford to.

But if your job satisfaction is at stake, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at your finances. Quitting may be more possible than you think.

Here’s how to do it. Add up your non-negotiable expenses and see how much you need to get by on a bare-bones budget. And then see if there are any major expenses you can cut. 

One drastic idea but surprisingly easy idea? Refinance your student loans. You might be pleasantly shocked at how much you can save, both on a monthly basis and over the long term.

Not every negative job situation is a reason to quit. Some problems are fixable, or worth sticking it out for. But if your job situation really isn’t right for you, there’s courage in walking away. After all, it’s your career—and you’re in charge.

Find out how much you could save by refinancing your student loan. See if you're Refi Ready.  

About the Author
Jen Williamson

Jen Williamson is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. She has written for a variety of industries, including software, education, business, and personal finance. Prior to that, she worked at an adult literacy nonprofit in Philadelphia, where she coached nontraditional students in passing the GED test and applying for college. When she isn’t writing or reading—which is rare—she can usually be found planning her next travel adventure, training for a marathon, or sneaking in somewhere she’s not supposed to be. Read more by Jen Williamson