Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Knowing When it's Time to Quit Your Job

Guest Contributorby John Fleischauer | Posted | Career Management

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Knowing When it's Time to Quit Your Job

Remember that dance in high school when you finally mustered up the confidence to ask that person to dance... and they said no?

Crushing wasn't it?

Fast forward to college or university. You met the person that was definitely the one. You did everything together. Went to coffee shops and classes together, played sports, and watched Friends and CSI (I'm dating myself here).

Then, for many of us... life happens and suddenly it's all over. In my experience, when you play "marriage or bust", the house always wins.

It's a well-known fact that in North America approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. Why? For any number of reasons, really. Outside of infidelity, maybe the passion disappears. Maybe your visions for the future no longer line up. Maybe you failed to grow as partners.

Take the temperature of your professional situation

Your career is no different. If nearly half of us are willing to start a whole new life personally because of any of the reasons listed above, why on earth do so many of us continue to commit our time and energy to jobs that we can't stand? It's very likely that you spend more waking hours at work than you do with your family. Personally, if I am miserable at work, I'm miserable at home; and that's no way to live.

It's time to take the temperature of your professional situation. From my perspective, there are three key areas to look at - passion, vision and growth - when considering whether it's time to quit your job.


When you first saw that job posting or were contacted by that recruiter you probably got pretty excited. Your heart rate jumped as you read the details and you thought to yourself... "YES! This is an amazing opportunity for me!" You went in for the interview and they gave you an offer you couldn't refuse.

Fast forward 12 months. Your first year was amazing! You scored aces on your appraisals; you loved working with your new teammates; you found yourself challenged and had fun at the same time. Now that you are 1, 2, 3+ years in... are you still as passionate about your (no longer new) job as you were when you first started?


Starting a new job is a lot like jumping in the car and taking off on a road trip. Ask anyone that has ever taken a road trip and they will tell you that road trips are rarely about the destination; they're about the journey.

Now that you are a few years into your job, has the journey been what you expected? Have you experienced and seen what you initially set out to? Are you still heading in the right direction or have you let traffic (work load) and detours (excuses) get in the way of achieving and maintaining happiness at work?


Growing with one other person is hard enough. Growing with an entire organization can be even tougher. I'm lucky to work for an organization that fully supports my professional development and, as a result, I'm confident that my proverbial tool box has a lot more wrenches in it than it did 24 months ago.

I encourage you to take a look at your situation. Have you learned new skills outside of how to do your job faster? Have you expanded your skillset and grown as a professional or are you just turning the same old screws with the same old screwdriver?

Find happiness in your work or quit your job

My intent with this post is not to inspire people to quit their jobs en masse. I simply want to challenge you to ask more questions of yourself. We are all more productive when we are happy and, frankly speaking, life is too short not to be happy.

When you get up in the morning, are you excited to go to work? Be honest. If you have no passion for what you do or where you do it, if your vision of the future fails to align with your employer's or if you are basically the same person 1, 2, 3+ years after starting in your existing role, maybe it's time to break up with your job?

Your turn: Are there other signs that it's time to quit your current job? Share them below.

Employee development

Learn about employee development best practices

Read Now
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

Employee development

Learn about employee development best practices

Read Now

Related Articles

Close [x]

Get our Saba Blog Digest email delivered right to your inbox.

Join over 100,000 of your HR peers: