How do you know when to bite the bullet and keep showing up for work and how do you it's time to throw in the towel and move on to something else?
It's a tough question to answer, because we're all different and each situation will often require a different solution. I agonised over my decision to quit my job to work full time on The Better Life Project for a very long time before finally doing it. I was afraid of what people would think of me. I was afraid of making a mistake. But mostly I was afraid of never trying, regretting. I didn't want to ever look back on my life and wonder what if...
Here are 5 reasons that led me to where I am today and if you listen carefully, they might be the signs you have been waiting for!
1. You're unhappy most of the time in work
I wasn't happy in work and it was more than a case of the Monday blues. I couldn't see a future and when I could, it was no longer appealing to me. I struggled trying to identify anything that I enjoyed about my day and it was clear to me that my values were no longer aligned with a 9-5 office job - I was craving freedom, creativity and autonomy.
2. Your work environment is toxic
Every work place has them - negative, mean, nagging and super competitive co-workers who make your life a living hell! A job isn't just about the function of your role and the tasks you must perform every day. It is shaped by the people in it; boss, colleagues, leaders, customers and clients. I believe that it is super important to be surrounded by positive people who share either similar interests or values as your own.
3. You have unfulfilled ambitions.
For me, this was the final push and the reason why I threw in the towel. My passion in life changed and I no longer felt excited and animated about my 9-5 job. For almost a year The BLP was a side project - an unfulfilled ambition. The pain of staying in my job became greater than the pain of leaving so I bit the bullet and moved on.
4. Your strengths and skills are not being utilised
A lot of the time, people don't understand that the skills that you possess are not the same as skills that you enjoy. In other words, you may be "great" at managing a cashbook but in reality, you may actually hate doing it. What we're good at is not the same as what we love doing. If you are not able to practice what you enjoy and if your strengths are not being utilised it can feel frustrating and disheartening.
5. You have thought about it long and hard
Quitting your job is a big deal and I believe the decision should never be made on a whim. When I decided to quit it was almost 18 months before I had my last day (including a 3 month notice period). In those 18 months I nurtured The BLP as a meaningful side project and I created a plan that I called my exit strategy. I understood my personal risk register and that meant I knew I would benefit from taking small and deliberate steps whilst giving myself time to up skill, nurture my network and save.
Working in a job that no longer makes you happy is a challenge and it pushed me to the edge in more ways than one. I hit rock bottom! However, these challenging times are trying to teach you something and no one else can learn that lesson for you.
Please don't fall into the trap where you think you are entitled to an easy ride and a job that makes you feel like you never have to work a day in your life. It's called work for a reason! Yes, you deserve to feel happy and fulfilled by your job but it's OK to not have these magical feelings all of the time.
People change jobs, careers and set up companies all of the time and you can do it too. The fear of failure, rejection and judgement has stopped too many dreams from becoming a reality... don't let it stop yours too.
Sarah is a life coach and motivational speaker. As the co-founder of The Better Life Project, a movement dedicated to helping you live happy, healthy, positive and confident lives and with oodles of infectious energy she is super passionate about helping to inspire feel, life and be better. She’s the “go to” life coach for anyone feeling stuck in a rut, lacking in confidence or struggling with low self-esteem or body image. Sarah offers life coaching and mentoring services and works with clients in person in Dublin, Ireland and over Skype around the world.