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by Kristina Rudic | March 23, 2017


Feeling overwhelmed, unsatisfied, or just plain annoyed by your job isn't rare—it happens to everyone. But there's a difference between knowing when to leave a job and when to try to change the problems you're facing at work. We've rounded up five things to consider before deciding to leave your workplace, to make sure you avoid making the wrong move by pulling the plug.

1. Overworked

Whether your job is exhausting you to the brink of insanity or boring you to death, the way to approach this problem (without quitting) is to assess time management. Instead of blaming a boss, workload, or the company in general, take a moment to write down how you spend your workday hours. Then, make a plan.

If the problem is that work has started to wear you out, approach management and be honest about what the problem is, but make sure to come into the conversation with a plan. Propose changes that are reasonable and actionable, and ask to redistribute workloads among the team. For example, if projects are too close together, ask for help in creating a timeline you can manage. Taking initiative will show that you care about your role in the company, which will not only change your workload problem, but will position you better for future projects. Once management sees that you are honest and take initiative, growth within the company will become easier and more achievable.

2. Not Challenged

If the opposite is true and you are bored or not challenged by your job, take a day or two to think about what it is you are good at and how you can apply those skills to your current role. If you have a background in marketing but find yourself in a completely different role, find ways you can apply those skills to your current responsibilities. By looking at your work in a new light, you can bring skills that the role might not have required but could benefit from. In addition, pay attention to what is happening within the company and take note of projects or roles that open up. Then, talk to your boss or manager and express your desire to take on more work in certain areas. Come up with a good argument as to why you could do a given project or role better than anyone else. By taking initiative, you can change how and what you do, which will not only change your job, but also your happiness.

3. Negative Mindset

Do you find yourself complaining to friends about work on a daily basis or dreading to see your coworkers every morning when you wake up? This could be because you are focusing on the negative aspects of your job. If your coworkers are dissatisfied as well, it could be tainting your own perception of work. By constantly thinking of what is wrong with your job, you are internalizing the issues you find with your job and building them up even more by focusing on them. Instead, think of what is good about your work, perhaps including the friends you have at work, the skills you are learning, or how this experience will be an asset to you in future jobs.

A quick and easy way to take a break from negative emotions is to take an actual break, like a vacation. Whether a couple of days or weeks, spending time away from work might clear your head and help you approach work with a different mindset. Whenever you are really displeased with a job, a vacation is in order before making any sudden moves. Nothing clears the head like time away from the problems at hand. And one more thing: Never quit a job out of anger. Ever.

4. Pay is an Issue

Barely scraping by from the paycheck you are receiving? It's time for a serious talk with your supervisor. Sit down together, introduce why you deserve a raise, and bring up examples of how you have taken initiative on projects and worked above and beyond in certain areas. No one cares to hear about your personal finances, especially not a boss. Take this opportunity to highlight what you bring to the company and how you've evolved in your role.

Likewise, leaving a job for a bigger paycheck should never be the only reason you are leaving a company. Instead, think of all the benefits each job has to offer by adding up monetary value, experience gained, social ties, and growth potential. These together might make one position more desirable than another even if it is not paid as well. In nearly all cases, if one job stacks above another when all aspects are considered, then it is worth pursuing.

5. No Next Move

As a general rule of thumb, never leave a job without having a plan in place. This does not include "I will look for jobs" or "I'm in the process of interviewing somewhere else." Leaving one job without another actual job in place is not only a risky move financially, but it's also terrible for your résumé.  No one wants to be a job hopper, and recruiters definitely don't want to deal with them. On a résumé, gaps in between jobs are glaring and will prompt recruiters to ask why you left one job without having another lined up.

To avoid this, plan ahead. If you are truly ready to leave your role, think about where you want to go next, how you will get there, and what steps you must take to ensure this plan will come to fruition. Talk to everyone who might be able to help you succeed in making this a reality, and then tread carefully. Until you are sure you can afford the move financially (and mentally), wait to quit. Also, avoid quitting in the middle of projects or while the company is going through major changes. If you must leave during a time of chaos, speak to your boss a week or two in advance to allow them to prepare. By leaving on good terms, you not only ensure the company will be able to handle the departure, but you also show respect for your colleagues.