Reader Q&A: When is the right time to leave your job?

when is the right time to leave a job

Have you ever experienced sudden — or constant — changes in your workplace? With change comes uncertainty, the possibility of stress, and other unknowns. It can become difficult to make a plan for yourself. Some changes may also misalign with who you are and what you want, so you may be asking, “When is the right time to leave a job?”

Here’s what Work Bigger Reader, Deborah, is experiencing:

I’m concerned about some changes at my workplace. The business has a new owner which has come with many positives, including a higher salary. I like a lot of the staff, too. My dilemma is that I’m not sure these positives are worth it.

We’re expected to work at a different pace than we were working before, and possible changes to my schedule will mean I can no longer do volunteer work that makes my heart sing. Should I leave the job if it means I can no longer take on the volunteer work I’m passionate about?

Thank you for sharing this, Deborah. I hear your frustration.

Leadership changes can complicate your routine. You might also deal with a new level of uncertainty. I also hear that volunteering is really important to you, and there’s the possibility that these changes will threaten what you love doing outside of work.

When changes like this arise, you can ease your decision-making by taking a step-by-step approach.

Are you dealing with changes in the workplace? Are you thinking about what’s next for you in your career journey? If Deborah’s question speaks to you or you’re wondering if it’s time to leave your job, I want you to read this article.

Here are 3 steps to assess if it’s the right time to leave your job.

Trust your gut.

It may feel daunting to answer a big question like “When is the right time to leave a job?” There’s a lot of baggage or fear that comes with this, such as the paycheck and lifestyle concerns, future opportunities, what this means for your career and more.

Take a moment to check in with your gut-feeling.

First take a couple of deep breaths. Turn down the thoughts in your head and tune into your body.

There’s no correct solution to what feels right for you.

What do you hear? What do you want to do?

Make a pro and con list.

If listening to your body feels too unstructured, make a pros and cons list. Write down the positives of staying at the job. Then write down the negatives.

On this list include everything from tangible pros and cons, such as paycheck changes or the impact on your time, to non-tangibles, such as your stress level and emotional wellbeing.

Seeing both the tangibles and your feelings on paper will make them clearer than they are in your head.

How do you feel when you look at the list? What is the most important thing on your list? Sit with your list for a bit before making a decision.

Explore the possibilities of more change: The YES AND approach.

I hear Deborah’s desire to make time for passions outside of work.

Can you explore a YES AND approach? YES, I can stay at this organization AND find a way to make time for volunteering.

YES AND started in improv comedy as a tool to make improvised scenes flow smoothly. When one person comes up with an idea, their scene partner says YES AND to that idea by agreeing that it’s true and adding more to it. This way, both improvisers are on the same page and keep moving forward. What I love about this concept is that it encourages a possibility mindset by opening you opportunities that maybe you can’t see right away.

What could that look like for you?

For example, YES, I can stay at this job AND I’ll change my volunteer schedule so I can keep doing it? If you can say yes to one thing, how does the volunteer work shift or how does that impact your decision to stay at or leave your job? Spend some time brainstorming here.

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever struggled with the decision to leave a job? How did you make your choice? 

Work Bigger Team

Author Work Bigger Team

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