How To Quit Your Job Like A Pro (5 Steps)

how to quit your job

Have you ever thought about leaving your job? I’d be surprised if you hadn’t (I certainly have!).

But sometimes, it’s difficult to differentiate a dry spell from longer term job dissatisfaction.

So how to quit your job?

One thing I’ve learned, over the years, is that the key to a successful transition is understanding WHY.

Why do you want to quit? Why will you be better off somewhere else? 

In this post, I’m sharing 5 steps to follow when you’re thinking about quitting your job. And if you don’t want to quit, use these steps to assess your current situation, and understand what works for you to maximise job satisfaction.

Recognise The Signs

How do you feel on Sunday evenings? Relaxed after a fulfilling weekend? Or stressed and anxious about the week ahead?

I’ve felt both, sometimes in concurrence.

I think you owe it to yourself to understand what makes you anxious about a Monday morning. 

Here are the two ends of the spectrum: 

  1. Your job is demanding, stressful, and you are outside your comfort zone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you are being stretched and learning new things. Be aware of this and channel it as an opportunity to grow and become a better professional. But is it too much?…
  2. Your job is boring, you hate your colleagues and/or have no motivation at all going into work. Now, there’s a problem. This might be a sign that you’re ready to make a move. Let’s dive deeper…

Have you noticed any signs that your job no longer makes you thrive (as a good job should)? 

  • Are you procrastinating more? 
  • Are you complaining to others a lot? (about your boss, your colleagues, the commute…)
  • Are you often justifying your job to others? (it pays well, the hours are good…)
  • Are you not learning anything new?
  • Do you lack motivation outside of work? (exercise, relationships, eating well…)

These are all signs that you might need to rethink your position. Be aware of them, and understand why you feel this way. It will help you make a decision and appreciate what you are after in a job.

Understand The Root Causes

how to quit your job

Now that you’re aware of the signs, time to understand the root causes.

Why are you feeling that way about your job?

In my experience, there are usually four lenses of job dissatisfaction:

  • Company. Do you buy into the culture? How do you feel about senior management? Is the company profitable? Are you fairly compensated for the value YOU bring?
  • Career. Are you excited about your next promotion? Still willing to learn? Are you proud of your career?
  • Capacity. Are you overqualified for your role? Learning anything new? Do you feel like you add value? Do you have ownership/responsibilities?
  • Colleagues. How do you feel about seeing your colleagues in the morning? Do you feel part of a community? Do you have a “best friend” at work? Can you be yourself?

When you think about the four lenses, what makes you unhappy in your current position?

Once you understand the root causes, visualise what a good situation would look like for you: are you after a better work-life balance? A higher salary? More opportunities for learning and development? Meaningful relationships?

Only then can you start looking for a new job, something you know ticks the right boxes for you.

>>> RELATED: 9 Ways To Be Happy At Work

Don’t Wait Until You Break

I’ve been guilty of “not giving up” for too long in my career. Expecting a better outcome from a job. Sometimes it pays off, most times it doesn’t. 

Waiting until you reach your breaking point will not do you any favours.

If you wait until it’s too late, you will make hasty decisions. You might rush into a “rebound” gig you don’t really want, and find yourself in the same situation a few months later.

It’s not easy to know when to quit your job, but it doesn’t mean you should push on indefinitely, hoping for things to get better on their own.

Before you even make the decision to quit your job, start planning for a successful transition. Get ready by building your skills, reputation and knowledge. You will be in a much stronger position when the time comes.

Don’t stop networking with your peers at work. Connections are always important to nurture. As you plan to leave your company, being in good stead with your soon-to-be former colleagues will create invaluable bridges you might need in the future.

And to give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect job, start building an emergency fund. This is particularly useful when you’re tied into a long notice. It’s OK to quit your job without another one lined up. But make sure you can afford to be picky!

Make A Good Last(ing) Impression

how to quit your job

You know the signs, you understand the root causes, and you’ve decided that it is time for you to hit the road.

Now is your chance to exit gracefully and like a professional.

I’ve seen so many people have a shocking behavioural change between the moment they resign and the moment they leave (in the UK, we generally have a 1 to 3-month notice period).

What you need to remember is that, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s a small world. 

Yes, people remember first impressions. But they’re more likely to remember a bad last(ing) impression!

What happens, then, when you encounter your colleagues in a different setting? Or if they know someone at your new job? And even if you’re certain it will never happen, is this the kind of professional you are?

Of course not.

Instead, make your departure something to be proud of: prepare a handover file, make sure you colleagues know everything they need to know, and if you can, be part of the hiring process for your replacement. After all, who knows your job better than you? And trust me, your boss will thank you!

Check-in With Yourself

how to quit your job

Now that you’ve found a job that ticks all the boxes for you, you owe it to yourself to have regular check-ins. How do you feel about the four “Cs” mentioned earlier: Company, Career, Capacity and Colleagues?

Circumstances in life change. And so do priorities. What made you happy at work last year might not make you happy this year. This is especially true when you start having children by the way!

I personally find that the yearly “performance review” is a good time to do this. I also have this conversation with my team, making sure we don’t just talk about work objectives and performance, but also (and most importantly), about job satisfaction and professional development.

(Side note: I don’t buy into yearly performance reviews. I believe performance and development should be an ONGOING concern of both employees and managers. More on this later)

>>> READ NEXT: How To Be Authentic At Work (5 Steps)

In Conclusion…

I hope these were useful. 

If you’re in a job and think about quitting, do take the time to consider these steps. Don’t rush into a new job without careful thinking.

Doing this right will drastically transform your work journey: from job hoping to career planning!

Are you happy in your current job? Thinking of quitting? What’s holding you back?

Please comment below and share this post if you found it useful!

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