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Is Staying is Worse than Leaving?

Many people think about leaving their jobs, but think it’s not the right time or they want to get a little more experience under their belt. There are serious consequences to leaving a full-time job. There are also consequences to staying too long. How do you decide if it is time to go?


There is no rulebook that explains how and when to leave a job. Below I describe three warning signs that indicated to me that it was time to move on. I am sharing my personal experiences, which may (or may not) relate to your situation.

Once again, I am NOT advising you to quit your job.

The Warning Signs There were three warning signs I looked for when I was considering leaving a job. The first was if I couldn’t do my job. This had nothing to do with a lack of ability on my part [There is a test to check for this below]. It was when I could no longer perform the items outlined in my job description due to external factors: inconsistent company values; poor management; lack of support staff...

The second sign I watched for was if I was feeling stuck. There was no opportunity for promotion, my individual development had stalled, or I was unfulfilled by the work I was doing.

The final and most important sign I kept an eye out for was if my job was causing unmanageable amounts of stress. Stress from the work place can induce lack of sleep; neck and back pain; excessive weight gain or loss; and strain on personal relationships with friends and family.

Is this really the right decision? If you have seen these three warning signs, there is a quick self-assessment to give yourself to make sure you are actually ready to make the leap. Before you go storming into your supervisor’s office, it’s important to ask yourself three questions.

Question #1 Do I understand what my job is? It sounds silly, but review your job description and make sure there isn’t some kind of misunderstanding.

Question #2 Am I giving it my all? Be real honest with yourself. Have you exhausted all reasonable methods and avenues?

Question #3 Is there something realistic and attainable that my employer can give me that will make staying worth it? More money. More resources. More vacation time.

These questions are so important because at least once after you quit your job, you are going to think to yourself: Maybe I misunderstood my role at the company. If only I had tried this or that. If they had given me more money or more help, maybe I would have been happier.

And if you had answered the questions honestly before you left your job, when these moments arise you can confidently respond: I knew what my job was, I tried everything I could, and no amount of money or resources would have made me want to stay.

So if something isn’t jiving for you at your job, ask yourself: Is something preventing me from doing my job? Am I stuck in one place? Is my job negatively impacting my emotional or physical health?

And if the answer is yes to any of these, then it’s now time to ask yourself: Is staying worse than leaving?

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