When to Take Back the Keys to Your Life and Leave Your Job


Knowing When to Leave

It’s been a few weeks now but after a year on my “new” (I still considered it new) job I quit. Based on a conversation I had with my manager after training a year earlier I already had my suspicions. But sometimes you just aren’t sure. The job had a steep learning curve, so I didn’t want to make a rash decision.  I love to learn so why not learn, get comfortable and check the fit when I know what the heck I’m doing. Which is basically what I did.  After learning, getting comfortable with the co-workers, customers, and company policies, it was obvious. The job wasn’t a good fit. The job was about as comfortable as riding my horse with a burr in my saddle. So I decided to take back the keys to my life! Or in horse metaphor, take back the reins and leave the job.

One Don’t Before We Get to the Do’s of Leaving

Unless you work for a narcissist or are being abused, do not quit because of the people. Whether it’s customers, co-workers, boss or people in other companies you collaborate with never ever quit because of people. Why? Because people are just a reflection of ourselves. They are a scathing magnifying glass of every nook and cranny of opportunity for growth that you have personally. The list for personal growth opportunities is endless! Here are just a few:

  • Improve your leadership skills
  • Learn how to set (and keep!) healthy boundaries
  • Get out of your head and the Egoic Fearful thought patterns
  • Learn patience (insert eye roll…nobody wants that lesson but most of us need it)
  • Improve communications skills

People are everywhere!! And so the problem you have with people will follow you wherever you go.  The only way to change the equation and improve relationships with people is to improve yourself and your relationship/communication skills. But I digress. Let’s get to how to truly know when it’s time to leave.

Thank you for the experience but I gotta go

In particular, here are the reasons I’ve found to grab the keys and say “Bye Felicia”.

  • Body: Stop and listen to what your body is telling you. Some examples of our bodies screaming at us to please do something different is: headaches, repeated sickness, low or no energy, weight gain/loss and depression.  I knew when I had to pick up the phone to call my therapist that it was time to go.
  • Values: I’ve made this mistake before.  The mistake of throwing all my eggs into the one value basket. Only to find out that life is not lived by a single value. Like everything there is a balance. When it comes to work I have 3-5 values that are important to me. There is no single value that can make up for the absence of the others. They are all equally important and are must haves.
  • Personality: Is the job a good fit for my personality type.  Every job will have some aspects that don’t fit. But again it comes down to balance.  Frankly, the 80/20 rule is a good metric to use.  Expect to dislike about 20% of your work but truly enjoy 80%. If a job swings too much the other way then it’s not the job for you.
  • Lifestyle: Does the job support your desired lifestyle? And I don’t mean just financially support. If the only lifestyle you have is financial then you likely don’t have much of a life. For example, if family is important to you but the job takes you away every night of the week it’s not a good fit. However, if travel is important to you and the job sends you traveling most night of the week then it’s a good fit for your desired lifestyle.

Talk with a few friends

Notice the people who are happy for your happiness and sad for your sadness. These are your true friends. -Unknown tweet

It was very insightful how many friends cheered, laughed and for all purposes were not surprised by my decision to quit. In fact, one couple (a co-worker and his wife) confessed to having a bet that I wouldn’t make it a year! Well I beat a year by a couple weeks…so they owe me dinner! Those closest to us see what makes us happy and sees what makes us sad. They sense the subtle differences that we miss because they are right under our noses. All that to say, ask those that know you best – what would you think if I told you I’m quitting my job. Chances are they have already seen from the outside that the job is affecting your health, happiness, and a poor fit for your values, personality or lifestyle.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn.

  1. When you think of the negative interactions with the people you work with what opportunities for growth do you have?
  2. Rate the 4 categories above from 1-5. 1 (it’s a good fit) to 5 (it totally doesn’t work). What does your rating tell you about the need to leave your job?
  3. Ask a handful of friends that you respect and trust what they would think if you told them you were quitting your job. Hint: Don’t ask the fearful anxiety ridden friends as they will just scare you into hanging on longer than needed.
  4. If leaving is the answer – What’s your game plan? Begin to build one. Do your research, shine up your resume, hire a coach (like me*) to get you to the other side faster.

*add your contact information in the comments and I’ll send you information on coaching


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