1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
We are here for your business - COVID-19 resources >
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Get Ahead

8 Reasons to Quit Your Awful Job

image for Zinkevych / Getty Images
Zinkevych / Getty Images

Going to a job every day you don't like is exhausting. When the alarm goes off each morning, it's like a siren sounding for the end of days. It may be a bit dramatic, but when you're in the situation, it feels like nothing will fix the problem.

Eventually, you'll need to evaluate and make a decision. Is it worth it to stay? Are you just having boss troubles? Can it be fixed?

We asked some experts to guide you through your decision making. If more than a few of the following signs ring true, it may be time to plan your exit.

Sure, some days at work are more exciting than others, but if you find that every day in the office is a snooze-fest, it may be time to find a new gig. 

As an executive career coach and employee-turned-entrepreneur, Jessica Manca knows a few things about calling it quits. She cites boredom as the number one sign that it's time to throw in the towel. 

Manca — whose company, Managing Mindspaces, helps professionals balance their paychecks with their passions — said that if you're bored, have lost motivation, are just going through the motions or are procrastinating more than usual at work, you may want to consider looking for a more fulfilling job.

Being comfortable in your position is a good thing. However, being so comfortable that you're never challenged or intrigued is definitely not a good thing. If your job just doesn't stimulate you like it used to, it might be time to move on. 

"Once you stop learning and growing in your job, it's time to look for something else," said Adam Grealish, founder of Roletroll.com, a job recommendation engine for finance and tech workers.

Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and human relations specialist, agrees. Langerud said it's time to quit when you want to develop new skills that you simply can't learn at your current job.

If just thinking about your job makes you want to throw up, guess what? It's time to quit. 

"I literally would wake up feeling sick to my stomach, dreading the drive into work," said Myra Dorsey, owner of La Bodi Massage Inc. in Maryland, who worked for three Fortune 500 companies before founding her own company in 2011. 

Lori Malett, president of Hatch Staffing Services in Milwaukee, said her formula for knowing when it's time to quit also involves certain stomach-turning feelings.

"It is time to quit when you wake up every day with a pit in your stomach, dreading getting in the shower and going to work," said Malett. "It is time to quit when you leave work each day, already dreading and thinking about coming in the next day."

Sometimes, it takes a while to adjust to a new job. But if you've been in the same position for some time and you still don't feel like you fit in, you might want to seek employment elsewhere. 

Karin Hurt, a speaker, educator and CEO of Let's Grow Leaders, said that when there are no kindred spirits in sight, it's time to find a new job. Not fitting in, Hurt said, might do more than hold you back from making friends; more importantly, it might keep you from finding the mentors you need to grow in your career. 

This double whammy of lack of work friends and lack of guidance is a lonely place to be, Hurt said, and can lead to other negative ramifications at work, like feeling grouchy, unappreciated or trapped.

Think about what your career trajectory would look like if you stayed at your current job. Does the idea of moving up give you something to hope for, or does it make you want to turn and run the other way?

"If your boss's job sounds like a soul-crushing, mind-numbing express ticket to Sellout-ville, then you may be at the wrong company or industry," Susannah Snider, personal finance editor wrote for U.S. News and World Report Money. "It's time to re-examine what you want out of your career and consider moving to a new job."

If your current position causes you so much stress that you fear your mental health is at stake, get out of there, fast.

"When I started waking up at night shaking because I was having nightmares about my boss, I knew it was time to quit," said Suzi Istvan, a brand strategist and web developer. "A job isn't worth losing sanity!"

Tom Mulherin, who quit a teaching job, relayed a similar message. After working for a year in a failing school system, Mulherin said he decided that his mental health, self-respect and need to escape stress were too important; he couldn't let his nightmare of a job continue to jeopardize them. 

"I gave my two weeks' notice to my employer, and almost immediately felt a sense of liberation, positive momentum," Mulherin said. 

Perhaps one of the clearest signs that it's time to quit your job is if a better position becomes available to you. But judging a "better" opportunity isn't as clear-cut as you might think. Just because another position pays more, that doesn't mean you'll be happier in it.

Langerud said you can judge if something is actually a better opportunity (and a viable reason to quit) by whether or not the new position "feels like home or fills a deeper need." Langerud has himself quit many a job, for many a reason, he said, but quitting for something more than just a bigger paycheck, he explained, led him to better career opportunities.

Some days at work are bound to be better than others, but if you get the impression that each new day on the job is a little worse than the one before it, it might be quitting time. 

"I would say it is time to quit once the factors determining your job satisfaction are changing permanently for the worse, with no hope of improvement," said Liz Jackson, with Agency Fusion, a Web design and development firm in Utah.

As Jackson explained, if the company you work for makes a big change — hiring scores of new employees, changing its management structure, etc. — you might find that you no longer like working for that company. Recognizing this fact, and being proactive about it, is a healthy reason to quit.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Peterson. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.