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10 Thoughts On Quitting Your Job (Do It Now!)


Image Source: Dmitry Demidovich via Shutterstock

I don't understand the concept of "quiet quitting."

For those not in the know, quiet quitting is a new phenomenon where a worker reduces the amount of effort necessary to perform a job. Think of quiet quitting as someone doing the bare minimum of a job's requirements and nothing more. To quietly quit a job means putting in your scheduled hours at work and not working any more time than required.

I've never "phoned it in" with any job I've held. My goal when working is to make the best of a job, good or bad, by working through any challenges I encounter. Recently, however, I took a job with more than its fair share of problems. Those problems were so overwhelming that I quit my job "loudly."

You might wonder what job I had that made me want to quit so "loudly".

I'll get to that in a moment.

I hope to tell you about what I saw and how I felt that let me know it's time to move on from my last job. The symptoms of when you should quit a job aren't always apparent at first. As more of the hints I explain below become clear, take them seriously - your physical and mental health could depend on it!

    1. You dread going to work

    The place where I worked was a 15 drive from my home. Usually, when I drive, I like having quiet. No podcasts, no music from Spotify, no fart noises.

    OK, maybe not that last one, but I added that to see if you're paying attention!

    Having quiet time in the car made me think. Sadly, those thoughts led to anxiety and anger about my workday ahead. I thought, what sort of gobshite will I have to put up with today? Every day and night at work, I would put out "fires," whether the flames came from "hot" or angry customers as well as employees whose complaints never ended.

    The heat from all those complaints burned away my fulfillment with the job. Thus, I dreaded going to work, wondering whether the subsequent fire I put out would slowly melt away my mental health.

    2. You don't enjoy the work you're doing

    When the work you do is something you'd do for free, that's a pretty good sign that the work you're doing is enjoyable enough to continue. Most of us, however, are in jobs just to "get paid" despite the nature of our work. There is simply no amount of pay that can compensate for the stress we feel from doing things at work we hate.

    I was not too fond of the inability to focus on one task at a time. As a member of management, you have multiple tasks to work on every hour. Those tasks could range from dealing with angry customers over the phone to training employees to do their jobs. There was never a period where I could focus on doing just one thing at a time.

    Now, I could have prioritized my tasks better to play devil's advocate for a second. Sadly, I didn't do this because I didn't make the time to do so. By not putting more effort into prioritizing my duties, I felt like I was spinning out of control in my role as a member of management. Thus, I slowly began to hate my job because of how I performed my job.

    3. You don't get the training you need to perform your job well

    I'm one of those people who learn by doing. I'm not one for rote memorization from a book. The more I can learn something by doing, the better I'll get at the skill.

    We all like to think that training is a priority for every employer. No firm wants to see its employees fail at their jobs, or they'll be out of business! Where I worked, employees were responsible for completing their job training.

    At the front end of a retail store, everyone is busy getting customers out the door. When the front of the store is short-staffed to the point where people are doing two jobs for the salary of one, getting time to train for your primary career can be challenging. I didn't get the formal training necessary to be effective in my role of managing associates on the front-end team.

    The training I got in my job was "trial by fire," meaning I learned by making one mistake after another. The mistakes I made were due in part to not getting trained on how to do the different parts of my job effectively. The more mistakes I made as a team lead led me to hate the role even more.

    Now, again, to play devil's advocate for a second, some of you may be thinking, hey, why didn't you make the time to train yourself as a team lead? I did ask my managers for time to get formally trained in my role. They told me I could have the time for learning so long as I took care of the issues on the front end.

    Naturally, those issues on the front end were never-ending. I couldn't get away long or fast enough to start my formal training. Thus, the lack of proper training to do my job effectively led me to believe I was heading for failure. The sense of impending doom caused me to want to quit my job.

    4. You are surrounded by toxic co-workers

    I wish every workplace could be like the TV show Cheers, "...where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came." Sadly, most workplaces are like The Office, full of weirdoes spreading baseless rumors and complaining more often than they work until they're forced to by their manager.

    Where I worked, the vibe I got from co-workers was always negative. Suppose people weren't complaining about how incompetent our store manager was. In that case, they'd be complaining about how little they got paid—or having too much work with not enough help to do it—as a general rule. They constantly griped about something or someone, including me. More often than not, some of their complaints about me were justified.

    When you're the subject of those complainers, they can take a toll on your psyche. My mental health got to the point where I couldn't just "tune it out." The only way I could get out from under the mountain of disgruntled employees was to leave my job and find a "happier place" to recover my sanity.

    5. You think about work when you're not there

    I would, at times, suffer from anxiety at work. There would be several things I needed to do at work that I couldn't accomplish in my scheduled work time. Then, I'd leave work, thinking about what I didn't get done.

    Once I got home, my mind wouldn't shut off the issues from work. I would immediately get on my laptop and start taking notes or lists of things to do the next day at work. The work thoughts took up more and more of my day/night time, and I got distracted from other important things like eating healthy or exercising.

    When I found my work anxieties overlapping with my time away from work, I knew something was amiss. I had to find a way of giving more time to the critical parts of my life ahead of work that came to occupy my thoughts almost every waking hour. My mind was telling me it was quitting time.


    OK, let me stop my story and tell you about this job I quit.

    To give you some context, I recently left a Fortune 500 retailer where I worked for over a year. During that time, my job performance was good enough for the store's management to want to promote me. I worked my way up the career ladder from associate to lead assistant and ultimately to front-end team lead.

    When I took the team lead position, I thought I could do better in the job than other associates who previously held the role.

    Boy, was I wrong!

    When you discover that others have quit or walked out on a role you're applying for, that should signal that you're in for a rude awakening. In my case, the front-end team lead role had three people leave within a year. The reasons they left varied, but they left the job in most cases quietly and suddenly.

    Little did I realize I would be the fourth to leave the role soon. There were other reasons I had for quitting my job. Let me list the rest of them below:

    6. Your job feels overwhelming

    When I was the team lead, many problems seemed to appear simultaneously. Issuing refunds, calling customers for purchased items left behind, and on and on. At times, I felt like I was going in ten different directions!

    The thing is, that's the nature of the job.

    Every day at work, I felt like I couldn't catch up on essential things I needed to do, like training. That's because my to-do list of tasks to complete kept growing and growing. You have calls to answer, emails to reply to, team members to help, and so on.

    I could have delegated some of the less critical tasks to others on my team. Delegation is complicated, however, when you can't or won't make the time to train others on what they need to do and how. Thus, I felt like I had to do everything myself and operated from a sense that I was working from behind.

    The feeling that you never think you'll get ahead makes staying in a job difficult. I felt like every task I took on felt stressful and inconvenient. These were signs that I was overworked and ready for a change.

    7. You hate telling your friends and family about your job

    My dad has this clairvoyant sense of how I'm feeling most days. He'll initiate a conversation with me lickety-split if I feel pretty chatty. Otherwise, he'll leave me alone while I quietly deflect having a conversation I'm not in the mood to have.

    More often than not, that's how I felt talking about my job with him.

    "How's work going?" he asked

    Please don't ask, I'd say.

    Naturally, he'd let the question go and wouldn't follow up any further.

    You see, I hated talking about my problems at work with my dad. Not because I hated talking to my dad - I always enjoy talking with my dad about most things like sports and the like. I didn't feel like dragging down our conversations with how much I hated my job.

    When you feel bothered by talking about how much you hate your job to others, that's a sign that you might be ready to call it quits and look for another line of work.

    8. Your time spent between work and life is unbalanced

    Often after I would work late, I felt drained. Like someone stole what little life I had in me and buried it somewhere among the saguaros in Sabino Canyon. Working long, late hours at night left me feeling tired, physically and mentally.

    When I got home from work, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. Everything seemed like a chore to be dealt with. Cooking, doing laundry, and even walking to my local grocery store. Nothing seemed appealing to me except crawling into bed after I finished making my work list of things to do the next day.

    When you find yourself working a lot, and you feel emotionally drained after work, that can negatively affect your health and well-being. Since I couldn't find the confidence to set boundaries with my manager on when I should leave work, another straw broke the camel's back to wanting to quit my job.

    Don't let your job define what you do outside of work; let work be and leave it for another day.

    9. You can no longer do your job effectively

    I was failing at work. I knew because my manager was telling me our metrics for the front-end team were dropping from week to week. The news disheartened me because I couldn't give associates the direction necessary to complete their required duties effectively.

    As my team's performance declined, I was to blame for their lack of success. My team's poor performance reflected, rightly or wrongly, my inability to teach them how to perform their jobs more capably. In short, I was not an effective team leader.

    When you're ineffective in your job, rather than waiting to be fired, you should seriously consider leaving now and worry about getting another position later.

    10. You realize what you're doing doesn't matter

    My role as the team lead for the front was chief "duct taper." Being a "duct taper" means I was responsible for treating the symptoms of problems when they occurred and not their causes. No matter what happened, I could never get my head around what would cause the issues on the front end and ended up fixing the same problems repeatedly.

    Trying to solve the causes of problems on the front end almost felt pointless. I was putting band-aids on issues until the end of my shift when someone else could deal with the remaining issues I couldn't get around to handling. I felt like I was pretending to solve problems when I wasn't.

    When your job gets to a level of pointlessness - where you feel like nothing you do matters - that's a sign, you should head for the exits and look for another gig.


    During a lousy work day, I decided that the best time to quit was now. After my shift ended, I went home and wrote up a resignation letter. The words came out quickly when I typed the document up on my laptop. After I finished writing the letter, I printed it, then snuck back to work the same night to drop the letter off. I left my smock and badge with my note and quietly left the store without telling anyone I had quit.

    The texts from co-workers came fast and furious after I quit my job the following day.

    Is it true?, they asked.

    Yes, I replied.

    But why, they wondered, when you were doing so well?

    I explained that I was miserable in my job. I didn't want to stay in a position where I was continually unhappy. Knowing how life is short, I did not want to live my life wallowing in a puddle of frustration and misery.

    In a sense, by quitting, I chose myself for a change (thanks, @JamesAltucher).

    Now, you might be wondering whether this story has a happy ending.

    Well, guess what - there is!

    After being out of work for a month, I got a new position with a company that pays more than what I made at my last gig. Plus, my new job is less stressful than my last one. I am fortunate to have found a job quickly based on my skill set and experience.

    In the end, I realize that quitting, whether quietly or loudly, is good for the psyche when you're miserable with what you're doing. You will be far better off healthwise in a role where your work feels purposeful and fulfilling. Quitting a job you hate is nothing to be ashamed of.

    Thanks for reading!

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