I'm an expert at quitting my job. I have left two amazing positions within the last year. I've put myself under scrutiny to learn everything possible from those experiences, so I can find a position I'm passionate about in the future.
The biggest lesson I've learned is that there is a stark difference between quitting your job and giving up. If you're considering a departure from your current position, you're probably looking for some kind of validation about why you should quit.
This might be it, but it also might help you realize why you should stay at your job.
You Have an Exit Strategy Vs. You Have an Emotional Reaction
Quitting your job is something that requires thought and careful planning. You don't walk out on the spot (except in very exceptional circumstances), and you have some idea of what you're doing or where you're going after it's all over.
Typically, quitting your job in today's workforce means you already have a new job lined up. Preferably an offer letter because "maybe" is never good enough.
Giving up is emotional. You "can't take it" anymore; you're frustrated with your position, or you've created a big and emotional mountain that can't be overcome.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't quit your job eventually, but it does mean you're not ready to leave if your decision is dominated by strong emotions.
Take a vacation, list the pros and cons and make a plan.
It's Difficult Vs. Easy
Quitting is hard. You've become attached to your job, your coworkers, clients, product, etc. It's hard to leave something to which you've given a large portion of your life.
Even if you hate your boss, you're so stressed you're sick, or you're bored to tears, you've committed yourself to your job, which means leaving will never be simple.
You're breaking up with a part of your life, so even if it seems easy, you know deep down that some part of you is struggling with the decision or its consequences.
If it's easy, maybe you aren't thinking it through. Maybe the struggle isn't with your job; it's you. It's easy to give up instead of admitting that you aren't giving 100 percent.
You Know What You Want Vs. Uncertainty
When you quit, you know why. You know where you're going, or at the very least, where you are not going. Something clicks -- whether it's a brand new job at an amazing company or the realization that you were in the wrong field from the start.
You don't have to know it all, but you do have to know something concrete and constructive, even if what you know is what you don't want from your job.
Giving up is marred with uncertainty. You don't know what's coming next, and chances are you don't care. You think anything will be better than your current situation, and you're positive everything will be.
It doesn't count to say, "I don't want a boss who is a jerk," unfortunately, because that's a sad fact of business. Bosses can be jerks, and work can be boring.
Knowing The Perfect Job Doesn't Exist Vs. Naive Optimism
Moral of the story? The perfect job doesn't exist. We find a place we like to work, or a job we like to do, and we make it count.
Great jobs are out there, and so are great workplaces and great coworkers. More often than not, unfortunately, these do not occur at the same office. A majority of young workers have yet to realize this fact, and it is one that can severely hinder professional growth.
Work is nothing like the movies, with the exception of a few lucky devils, and our jobs are what we make of them. Sometimes that means sacrificing weekends and late nights to your job or choosing a comfortable schedule and workplace over a mentally stimulating position.
Be optimistic, but embrace realism. Sometimes, the best job you'll ever have is the one that lets you hang out with your friends every night and see your family at Christmas -- even if it means you spend your day hunched behind a computer without any human interaction.
Once you find that thing you want most, let that be your guide in your current and future positions. It won't disappoint you.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It