If you're feeling dissatisfied with your job, there are about a million reasons as to why you might wish to quit. Maybe you're not getting paid enough, or you don't like your co-workers. Maybe you want to switch industries -- or maybe you just don't like the coffee or you've stubbed your toe one too many times on the copier.
Obviously some reasons are more valid than others and job satisfaction can be as fickle as your mood. But what if you are chronically unhappy with your work? How do you know when it's time to quit?
Leave it to the people at Resume.io to be two steps ahead. They've created a useful flowchart that will guide you through the emotional complexities and twists and turns of deciding whether or not to leave your job. They've included many possible reasons for wanting to leave (toe-stubbing, not included).
For the rest of this article, I'm going to focus on one particular problem and what you might do about it: A toxic work environment.
Let's start at the beginning...
Should you quit your job?
Okay, before I jump straight to a yes or no answer, let's dive into the complexities -- because it is complicated. Deciding to leave your job is usually a big decision, emotionally and financially. So let's first consider...what is it about your job that you don't like?
This matters quite a bit. If it's something easily fixable (just move the copier so you won't keep stubbing your toe...), that's one thing. But if it is something more ingrained in the company, we have bigger fish to fry. For example:
- Is it the people? Let's say it's the people who work there. First off -- is it the people, as in, everyone? Or is it someone in particular? If it's somebody in particular like your manager or a colleague, try: getting an outside perspective from a trusted co-worker, raising the issues with your manager, or scheduling a meeting with HR.
- Is it the company culture? It may be that you don't feel like you fit into the company's culture and the solution here is not nearly so simple as speaking with someone about it. After all, company culture takes years to build is usually deeply ingrained in the organization; not fitting into that can be a very alienating place!
Get to know your coworkers
If you haven't already, make an effort to get to know more of your colleagues. Easier said than done, right? Try talking pop culture, office life, or what you know you have in common. If all else fails, ask your boss for advice...if you feel comfortable, that is.
Unfortunately, all too many of you reading this may not have an established, trusting relationship with your boss or co-workers. In fact, this very well may be the real issue.
Is there a lack of trust?
If there is an overall absence of trust in your workplace, you may very well be dealing with a toxic work environment. A recent study defines a toxic work environment as one with "ostracism, workplace incivility, workplace harassment, and/or workplace bullying." The study shows significant negative effects from this sort of environment, including decreased productivity and job burnout.
But do I need to leave?
Now, if you've determined you're working in a toxic environment -- you can still stay. You might try keeping your head down -- staying focused on your own tasks, ignoring the office drama, and making sure to document any incidents so you'll have evidence in the case of a dispute. But if you do all this and you still want to quit your job, ask yourself one final question...
Do I have a way to maintain my income if I quit?
If the answer is yes, it may be time to quit.
Before you go running to HR, do remember: the original flowchart I've based this off of is depicted in general terms. I can't know the specifics or extenuating circumstances of your situation; there is no hard and fast rule to quitting or not quitting.
But I do know one thing: if you're chronically unhappy in an environment that is toxic for you and you can make it work financially to leave, leaving may very well be the best thing for you.
Life is too short to be miserable.