There are plenty of reasons that it’s time to quit your job. For some of you, it’s because your boss loves sending “urgent” emails that keep you up at all hours of the night. And for others it may be that you’ve realized that you hate your current field and it’s just time for a big change.
Whatever the reason is for you, you probably know that you should go with that urge you have to quit and find a new job. Yet, even knowing that, the thought of leaving still makes you recoil in fear and say, “Eh, maybe next year.”
But as someone who’s stayed in previous jobs for far too long, I’m willing to bet you want me to talk you into the idea of staying put. As comfortable as these thoughts might make you feel in the moment, I’m actually here today to call you out on your excuses.
1. “I Don’t Have Time to Update My Resume”
As difficult as this was for me to admit a few years ago, I said these exact words to a friend of mine who’d grown tired of listening to me complain about work. And the deeper the conversation got, the more I dug my feet in. “I can’t apply for new jobs without an updated resume, and I can’t update my resume because I have swing dance classes on Thursday nights,” I said with a straight face.
Fortunately, my friend was levelheaded enough to tell me that I was full of it. And that was the wake-up call I needed. That day I started blocking off some time on my personal calendar to update that pesky resume and send out those applications. This will probably require you to find time after work (and say no to a few things that sound way more fun), but seeing an event on your calendar can give you the jolt you need to finally get started.
2. “Maybe Things Aren’t as Bad as I Think They Are Right Now”
If you’re dragging your feet about quitting your job, chances are that you’re afraid of leaving behind a good salary. Or you’re tentative because you actually like some of the people you work with. Or you’re in the middle of a huge project that’s been months in the making.
Some combination of things that are making your life comfortable are probably the things holding you back from taking the leap. I was there a few years ago. For a while, the ability to go out for happy hour on a whim “makes up” for a lot of the terrible things that you deal with at work.
But in my experience, as time goes on, even those silver linings stop bringing you joy. And it’s up to you to ask yourself some tough questions about how much you’re willing to sacrifice for that one “good” thing that’s keeping you there.
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3. “I’m Probably Going to End Up Accepting a Similarly Bad Job Anyway”
Here’s where your impostor syndrome kicks into full gear. You’re used to having a boss you don’t click with. You’ve acknowledged that your company doesn’t treat you particularly well. And you’ve concluded that it’s because you’re not good enough for anything better than this. So why bother putting yourself out there, right?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, that’s what I told myself a few years ago. Lots of my friends were getting opportunities at great companies, but I figured it was because they were smarter or more talented.
Fortunately for me, those people also continued to encourage me to apply for jobs that seemed out of my reach. And while I got rejected from plenty of them, I ultimately ended up landing gigs that I love—including this one with The Muse. So be bold and be willing to put yourself out there. I know it sounds scary, but trust me: You’re not doomed to jobs you hate forever.
Quitting’s never easy—even if it’s a job you can’t stand. But as difficult as it is, you might be getting in your own way by staying put. If you really want to move into something different, it’s time to stop making excuses and start taking some action. I can’t promise your search will be easy, but I know that if you don’t do anything to change your situation, it can’t improve. So get out there and just see what happens!
Photo of person unhappy at work courtesy of PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy or follow his blog.More from this Author