Questions to Ask Before Quitting Your Job

October 05, 2023

Why am I feeling this way?

There are various reasons driving Americans to exit their jobs. Some have realized that life is too short to remain in unfulfilling roles, with the pandemic underscoring this perspective. Others have embraced the work-life balance facilitated by remote work and are reluctant to revert to pre-pandemic norms. Many are grappling with burnout, with a survey from Indeed indicating that 52% of respondents reported burnout in 2021, up from 43% before the pandemic. Burnout affects both older and younger workers. Identifying the root cause of your dissatisfaction is crucial, as it may lead to alternative solutions rather than resignation.

 

How long have I been feeling this way?

Burnout rates have surged since the pandemic's onset. If your mental health has deteriorated during this time, it might be related to pandemic-induced stress rather than your job specifically. You might just need a break to recharge. However, if your thoughts of quitting have persisted for over two years, it might be time to take action.

 

Have I explored all of my options?

If work, in general, is a major source of stress, resigning might seem like the only solution. Nevertheless, if your issues are more specific, there may be remedies within your grasp. Explore alternatives within your organization or discuss adjustments to your working conditions, such as modified hours or continued remote work. Before making a decision, especially one that affects your financial stability, make sure you've exhausted all possible options.

 

What do I want to do instead?

Whether you're considering quitting your job or retiring early, take time to envision what you'd like to do next. Hastily pursuing another job without identifying the underlying reason for leaving may exacerbate the situation. For those aiming for early retirement, plan how you'll spend your time without work. Many retirees eventually reenter the workforce for financial or personal fulfillment reasons. Formulating a post-job plan can help you avoid an identity crisis.

 

What would my perfect day look like?

 Imagine your ideal day. If you can't envision a scenario where you are consistently content, your issue may be more complex than simply disliking your job. However, visualizing your ideal future can guide your next steps. Consider what kind of job would make you happy, whether it offers more freedom, remote work, or a shift to a different industry. Journaling or meditation can help clarify your aspirations.

 

How would quitting my job impact my loved ones?

Quitting your job is a personal decision, but if others depend on your income, consider the consequences on their lives. A sudden loss of income could lead to significant lifestyle changes. Ensure everyone affected is on board with the decision or is willing to help mitigate any financial shortfalls.

 

What do I gain by quitting?

Human brains are wired to focus on potential threats, leading to negative thinking. To make an informed decision, consider the positive aspects of quitting. A new job may offer improved work-life balance, while early retirement may grant more family time or allow you to focus on mental health. This perspective shift can help determine if quitting is the best choice for you and your loved ones.

 

What will I lose by quitting?

 

Be realistic about your decision. Identify what you'll lose by quitting, which may include security, stability, salary, and healthcare benefits. List these losses and assess how they affect your stress and anxiety levels. If any loss causes significant distress, reconsider your decision.

 

Are my expectations realistic?

 

Survey data shows that many Americans desire remote work, but not all jobs accommodate it effectively. Ensure your expectations align with reality. If your desired conditions are unavailable, consider adjusting your expectations temporarily.

 

Can I afford to quit my job?

 

Before quitting, calculate how long you can sustain yourself without income if you plan to return to the workforce eventually. If you aim to retire early, ensure you have sufficient savings to maintain your desired lifestyle. Even if immediate retirement isn't financially viable, you can make strategic financial moves in the meantime to work towards your goal.