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Take this job and shove it! 5 Must-Ask Questions to ask BEFORE You Quit Your Job

A few years back, I impulsively quit my job.  I had been unhappy for over a decade, was knee deep into depression and was looking for relief, stat.   I spoke to no one about my decision.  I just went in one morning, told my boss that my job was no longer a good fit and that was that.

It felt great to leave. Until…

…the reality of not having made a contingency plan set in.

A few months later, I found myself in another job, doing the same thing.

I never even saw it coming.

While there are no easy answers to whether you should resign from work, I wish I had asked myself some questions beforehand.  Here are 5 I am passing along.

1. Are you having more and more difficulty getting up every morning? 

If you’ve become the snooze button queen, have to drag yourself out of bed each day dreading the trip to work, or find that you keep coming up with reasons to leave early/take “sick” days or not give it your all, then this may be the first sign that you’ve begun to check out.

We spend such a huge portion of our lives at work, and if it has become something that you dread, it’s time to think about why you’re doing it.

At some point or another we all choose to let go of relationships we are in because we no longer feel fulfilled.  Don’t get me wrong.  These break-ups are never easy.  But, eventually, we recognize that the act of putting ourselves first creates the clarity and space we need for the perfect partnership to show up.

Yet, we choose to stay in a job that drains us.

If your relationship with your job is no longer challenging, satisfying, interesting, stimulating, etc., it’s time to ask yourself if it’s time to move on.

Action Step: Sit yourself down with paper and pen.  Make a list of the following:

Who are you serving?

What value do you provide at work?

What are the benefits of this job?

What is it costing you?

Just getting some clarity on these questions can begin to help you sort it out.

2. Are you finding it difficult to focus while you’re at work?

When at the threshold of leaving a job you can often find yourself having difficulty staying engaged with your current work.

Unless you’re in a job that requires your full attention – such as heart surgery, you may find your mind tip-toeing into non-work-related thoughts. You may even be dreaming about other things you’d rather be doing for a living.

Especially if you are at this juncture, you may be tempted to distract yourself by using your work computer to begin your new business venture or do your new job search.

This is a toughie.  But, as unhappy as you may be, you don’t want to potentially put yourself in an awkward situation.  It may be important at this point to make sure you’re not using your current work computer or other resources to start a new business or search for your next job on company time.

Remember, as unhappy as you may be, this place is still paying your salary, and you may need your current employer as a reference and/or as an entree into your next job. It’s important not to burn any bridges – you never know if you’ll need the benefit of good relationships to help you in the future. But if it’s becoming a struggle to stay focused and get your day-to-day job duties done, just be sure you’re staying on top of the critical tasks and think about whether or not this is still the place for you.

Action step:  Commit time at home evening to doing your research.  Let your family know that for the next month or so, you’ll be indisposed.   Use this time to get clarity on your next step, to update your resumé and apply for positions if that’s the direction you are going in.

3. What is your true risk tolerance?

It’s so easy to say you’re going to quit your job, start a business or travel the globe – actually following through with it is quite a different story.  One of our biggest inhibitors is our desire for comfort and security.  Even if you are not consciously aware of these needs, most of us crave both in order to live happy lives.

If you decide to leave, there’s a pretty good chance that both of these will be in short supply for awhile.

How willing are you to sacrifice your paycheck for the unknown?  How committed are you to spending your money and savings on living expenses to help you grow your business or support you while you’re waiting for a new job offer?

Be honest with yourself here.  If your true risk tolerance isn’t as high as you think it is, the stress of quitting could be pretty intense.

Action Step: Take inventory of your monthly expenses as well as of your assets and savings.  Do you have enough to keep you afloat for the next 6-12 months?  If not, what can you do now to create that nest egg so that you can feel assured that all your needs will be met?

4. Is your decision fueled by emotion or necessity?

Why are you wanting to leave?  Knowing the answer to this question is crucial.  If you are leaving for the wrong reasons, you may find yourself quitting, only to end up in a similar job (like me) a couple of months later because you had never considered this question.

Is your work environment hostile?

Is this job bringing you closer to the goals you’d set for yourself?

Is there more to your unhappiness here than meets the eye?

Do your best not to react impulsively.  Don’t just quit because you had a blow out with your boss or because you couldn’t get the days off you wanted.  If you are reacting on short fuse emotions, you may end up regretting it later.

That being said, if your dissatisfaction has been longer-term and seems to have slowly come a head then it’s probably time to plan and craft your exit strategy.

Action Step: Take the time to get clear.  If your decision is fueled solely by emotion (as in my case), perhaps seeking out a trusted friend or counselor might be a helpful way to go.  It’s important to get to the bottom of your dissatisfaction – and to address the real cause rather than the symptoms of your distress.

5. Do you have a support system in place?

This might be the most important consideration of all.  Having a robust support system in place is vital to transitioning smoothly to the next phase of your life.  Regardless of whether your have a desire to travel, to open up a new business, or simply finding a new position, it is ESSENTIAL that you surround yourself with a supportive community.  You want to seek out others who have been successful in doing what you are striving for, others who might be going through the same situation, as well as others who will help you sort it all out and create a plan of action.

This allows you to not only have mentors and people who understand your situation, but also a trusted wayshower to help you design your next phase in a safe environment.

Action Step:   It’s time to cast out your nets and reel your support system in.   Call on your friends – let them know what’s going on with you and enlist their support.    Seek out mentors – find 3-5 blogs written by others and become a part of their community.  The more active you are with comments and emails, the more you’ll get out of it.   Hire a coach – If you want a professional, like me, who gets this concept on your team – I’d be glad to help.

You can find all the details here.

Take these action steps today – life is too short to be stuck doing what you don’t love.

I am proud to have helped many people through this tough transition.  I would really love YOU to find your right livelihood.

So, if you want to explore your strengths and launch into a whole new way of living, don’t delay.

Get your coaching groove on, now!

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have a trick for going through this transition?  What is your top tip for dealing with an unfulfilling job situation?

Leave a comment below and let us know.  Be as specific as possible in your comment as your wisdom and experience helps us all.

Thank you, as always, for tuning in.

P.S. If you want more on the subject of Right Livelihood, check out this page.  And about Transitioning with Intention, check out this page.

4 Responses to “Take this job and shove it! 5 Must-Ask Questions to ask BEFORE You Quit Your Job”

  1. Annie M says:

    I’ve been stuck with my position at work because it’s easy for me to lean on the nice pay and ease of being there for awhile. I’m free to come and go as I please, but I’ve become the epitome of #1 listed above.

    I’m no longer interested in my day-to-day tasks or the overall objectives of my job description.

    It’s time for me to focus on planning a transition. While I seek a professional in my area to help with this, at work I focus on the benefits I have and the people I enjoy working with to help me stay productive. And I take little breaks often, so I don’t too get tired, distracted or antsy.

    • Joëlle says:

      Congratulations for recognizing you’re at that place. Yes, seek out a certified professional to help you with the bridge you need to move to your next destination. That person does not, necessarily have to be local. I work with many clients long distance – in this day and age, geography no longer seems to factor in. Best of luck xoxo Joëlle

  2. I love this! This last job I quit, I was only getting 10 hrs/wk @ minimal wage, I was practically working just to pay for transportation. My last job, I got fired for not enough sales, but I wasn’t happy… I was only getting 18 hrs/wk…

  3. Edmee says:

    In my work I find a lot of people not happy with their work. When you ask them what is it you don’t like most answer: my boss, it’s boring no more challenges
    When I ask how do you “dump” your work emotions and frustrations they answer: complain and swallow it up
    Then I ask who do you talk about your work issues, the answers are usually with a colleague or complain at home, but talking it through… no that i don’t do.
    That is why I like your last must ask question. Do you have a support system?
    I can assure you that (specially women) most people think they have to do it alone. When you have a support system (family, buddy, partner or friend) that supports you for who you are and need, things tend to look differently and the top of the mountains are not that high!
    My recommendation spend quality time building and supporting you your support system.

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