“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Comfort is a wily beast. Before you know it, you can slip into an easy situation and languish. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, if comfort is all you seek. But if you’re looking for something a bit more meaningful, more challenging, and more fulfilling, comfort can be the enemy.
About six years ago I began my job as an IT consultant. I had always been quite good with computers and I knew somebody on the inside. It was a great move for me, as I quickly learned a ton. Every day was fun. I got to experiment with new gadgets and implement what I learned into client systems. It was one of the best and most challenging jobs I’ve ever had.
Flash-forward a few years and things started to taper. I wasn’t learning as much and the usual problems we dealt with became rote. I felt a longing to move on, to try something different, to strike out on my own. But despite the boredom I was beginning to feel at work, I couldn’t get up the nerve to make any moves. The job paid very well, I had a lot of freedom, and great benefits. I had grown comfortable and accustomed to a cushy life.
Last year things came to a head. I was having a particularly stressful month, overloaded with work that was neither challenging nor interesting. I had enough. I reached out to my bosses and let them know that I was done. We had a meeting about my decision. They didn’t want to lose me. They addressed my concerns and we agreed that I could change my job and begin working on some new internal organizational systems. I decided to stay and give this new role a chance.
Now, a year after my role change, not much is different. Senior staff did not adopt the new systems I built. The work is still uninspiring and unchallenging. I’m comfortable, but comfort to me has become draining. Change can be very difficult for some and after spending time trying to implement new solutions I’ve realized that you simply can’t change other people if they don’t want it.
I’ve again quit my job. For real this time. It’s both liberating and frightening. It’s not you, job, it’s me. I need a greater challenge.
I’ve learned a lot from my quitting experience. Here are some signs that it might be time to quit your job.
1. You Are No Longer Learning Anything.
Jobs can be a lot of fun in the beginning when you’re learning new skills. However, mastery of those skills without the opportunity to learn anything greater can lead to dissatisfaction. After 6 years at my job, I wasn’t learning anything new and the usual tasks I had to deal with became frustrating. My skillset had grown beyond what was being asked of me. There was no opportunity to work on higher-level tasks, as those tasks just didn’t exist.
2. There Is No Chance For Promotion Or Growth.
At my job, everybody pretty much did similar work. Even the owners did the same work as the employees. There was no opportunity to build a career. While my job became quite easy, I couldn’t see a future in it. I was getting stuck with a mediocre skillset and no chance to move up the ladder because no ladder existed. After a while, I figured out I didn’t want to move up that particular ladder anyway.
3. You Keep Telling Yourself You’re Going To Quit.
For the past three years, I’ve told myself that I was going to quit my job at the beginning of December, work until the holidays, and start the New Year off with new opportunities. But I never did it. Then, when I finally did strike up the courage to quit, I ended up staying at the job for another full year. Telling yourself that you must quit this job is a sign that you do not belong there and you should start making moves to figure out your next adventure.
4. You Want More, But You’re Seduced By The Comfort.
If you’re unchallenged at your job and you desire to do something more yet you can’t seem to leave because you’re too comfortable, it may be an indication that you’ve reached the end of what this particular job can offer you. Not everybody strives for more, of course, and comfort could certainly be the end goal for many people. But I’m looking to build a challenging career that I’m proud of and settling at an unfulfilling job just because it’s comfortable is a path to stagnant unhappiness.
5. You Have a Bad Attitude And It’s Obvious.
I’m so guilty of this. Over the last few years my attitude at work could be described as manic. Some days I would be happy and easygoing, other days I would be negative and unhelpful. If you don’t enjoy your work or you’re unchallenged, it can certainly affect your attitude. Nobody wants to work with someone who has a bad attitude, and if you find more and more that you’re guilty of this it may be time to consider what’s next.
While quitting my job was a very difficult and stressful decision to make, I know it was the correct one. My detour down this path has been too long and I have grown uncomfortable with the comfort. I will definitely miss my coworkers, as we have all grown very close. But I need to venture out on my own and figure out the next stage of my life. I’m scared and excited. It’s a great feeling.
What’s your quitting experience? If you want to quit but haven’t yet built up the courage, what’s holding you back?
Photo by Andrew Vargas
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11 thoughts on “This Is Why I Quit My Job”
Right now i am in the middle of quiting my job.
I have just talked to my boss last week about it.
I am really scared, because i have no idea what i am going to do after it, but i know it is the right thing. I feel it. And actually i am very excited for the future again.
I will do the best i can und will not wait that long to quit again ever in my life, because i saw the signs pretty early, but stayed anyway. People always want to be safe, but you know what: I don’t care about that anymore. I need to do my own thing.
Kind Regards from Germany.
That’s great, Steffen. This is exactly how I felt. Scared, yet sure that I was making the right decision. I think your comment about being excited for the future once again is very telling… when you’re stuck in an uninspiring position, the future can become something that doesn’t really thrill you. Just more of the same is all you have to look forward to. That can be a very depressing way to live.
My advice is to not stress too hard about the first two months of your transition, as this was the advice people gave me. The first two months will be weird and haphazard as you try to figure out what’s next. But make sure your network of family, friends, and colleagues know what you’re doing and what kind of stuff you’re working on… these relationships will surely generate opportunities for you in your new life.
You can definitely make this work. Good luck!
Hello Steffen just wanted to say hello to a fellow German (I’m also German and am based there) and congratulate you on your decision to embrace change and do something different with your career and life. This is a bold move and it takes courage. So well done for that! And YES it will all work out for you. I know that because only 2 years ago I was in a similar position and I quit my job knowing that something more just had to be possible for me. And it was :) Never ever give up, and most importantly, surround yourself by those who have made the steps to building a career and life that they love. Good luck with your journey!!
I never got a notification about this post, so I just stumble on this on chance. Great post. Glad you write about this. Years back I was in the same position as you. Adding a controlling and manipulative boss, bad working environment (between collegues and in general) and long hours I did the same thing and sort of quit and got another position. I ended up burning out and hit the wall. The exhaustion was enormous. Money in the bank, but no energy or spirit what so ever. My friends and family didn’t support me either and couldn’t understand why I left such a steady, well paid job. Shortly after I recovered there was an illness in my family so I had to take care of others. Because of this I never really got started with my own, new life. Now that I can, I find myself scared of carving out my own path because I can’t see where the money is going to come from.
(And I still don’t get any support from my family and my previous friends left when I wanted to do something different.)
I am not cut out for ordinary 9 to 5 job, so it is not easy not fitting in.
Thanks again for sharing your story.
I’m happy my story affected you, Heather. We’re often told that money is the most important thing we can strive for, usually at the sacrifice of our own happiness. I believe everybody can find their place, whether that be in a 9-5 job or something different beyond that. I’m with you — definitely not cut out for the 9-5 grind. But it’s important to discover your niche and figure out how you can help people (and subsequently make an income!) outside of the “safety” of a standard job. I think you just have to keep throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, what you enjoy, and what can provide you with the life you want.
It’s sad that your family and friends don’t really support you in your dreams. My advice would be to seek out friends that do have similar goals as you and communicate with them often. Build a community. We’re the average of the 5 people we spend our time with. With that knowledge, go discover your new circle and flourish. Good luck!
Hello Heather, I can resonate with what you are saying about the 9-5 not really being a good fit for you. And I don’t believe you need to fit in for the sake of fitting in. I think you can find your own box and build something that makes you happy no matter what the people around you say.
Money is definitely a big one for so many people but I would recommend not letting yourself be guided solely by money. Money flows where joy and purpose go so focus on what brings you joy, lights you up and then take it step by step to build a life on your own terms. It really can be scary when money worries are involved but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I had similar issues and at times it was sooo scary, but actually it was a great way for me to learn and heal limiting beliefs around money and redefine my money story.
Thank you for sharing, Joseph. I think that as a society we are now moving toward becoming more transient with our jobs. Gone are the days of “security,” where you put in 30 years and then retire. And thank goodness! We’re in a new era where we learn and grow and push ourselves to new heights!
Two years ago, I left my job and 4-bedroom house of 10 years, and started over 1300 miles away on a sailboat. I now regard it as the most important decision I’ve made in my life, and there hasn’t been a day where I have regretted it.
Spot on, Bethany. We’re in total agreement. There has never been a better time in the entirety of human history for people like us to choose a different path. Every single bit of human knowledge is available to each one of us, 24/7, and from that we can learn anything and everything we want. The Internet is truly an amazing social and intellectual blessing.
Your story sounds amazing. I’m happy you were able to figure out what brought you the most joy. You’re certainly a minority and it’s great that you’re spreading the spiritual wealth that you’ve accumulated. Keep on it!
Good morning. I actually just started a job last week with a very reputable company. I already dislike the job. Perhaps it’s the longing to do more than sit at a desk and take back to back calls. I am just tired of that type of work. I want to do something that has meaning and doesn’t have me sitting for 8 hours a day.
Thanks for the great post. I’ve been telling myself I’m quitting for the past year, and I finally get to make the exciting announcement to my boss on Monday!!
I was in the same boat, feeling uninspired, comfortable, and generally unmotivated by the inability of me to really move leaps and strides doing the same boring thing I always do. My business that I started while working has not even made me any money yet, but I’m confident in my ability and am looking forward to the adventure that comes from being a full-time entrepreneur.
In the span of 15 months, I have held, and quit, three jobs. First, I was delivering pizza. I was making a wage and decent tips. Then, we got a new manager and I quit. Next I got a job as a valet. I didn’t have the energy for all the running. So I quit. Then, I got a job as a cashier at a drug store. It was fine in the beginning. Management was complying with my request for part-time hours and a flexible schedule. But then, we got a new manager who obliged me to work excessive hours leaving me stressed out from the work and over the chances of earning too much money.
You see, I am on SSDI. I receive disability benefits that I cannot do without. I have been diagnosed as bipolar. Some have even diagnosed me as having schizoaffective disorder. I have always been told to limit the amount of stress in my life. But I found myself working in one of the busiest drugstores in N. Dallas and stressing out every day on the job and wanting to quit every day. So I did. I don’t know what I am going to do now. But I’ve built up a significant nest egg over the past five years but I live beyond my means now. I don’t want to piss off my life savings while I seek a new and better fit; but I really don’t want to have jumped out of the frying pan only to find myself in the fire. I wish there was some job I could do to supplement my disability benefits that I didn’t loathe.