You don’t know how to quit a job you hate so you stay. We’ve all done it. We stew in our frustration. We dread the ride to the office and rejoice all the way home. In fact, 2019 data from The Conference Board’s annual Labor Day Survey found that just 54 percent of Americans are happy with their jobs—that means 46 percent of those surveyed are not content in their current role. If that’s you, it’s time to change the conversation.
In a recent live Q&A with Power to Fly, I shared about the power of choice. We have the power to leave the job we hate or make it one we like, if not love. In answering dozens of questions, there were a few common common topics that came up that I want to share here as well.
If you hate your job, listen up, because there’s a lot you can do to change the conversation. Stop saying, “I can’t do this…” and start saying, “I have the power to…” because you have the power to quit the job you hate or create one you love—let me show you how.
More Reading: Happiness is a Choice and I Chose it Over Money
Create a Job You Love: You Have a Voice—Use It
If you don’t love your job, consider whether or not you’ve spoken up about it. Have you told your boss that you’re unhappy? Have you asked for a change in your role and responsibilities? More often than not, your boss wants to help you. Leaders want to lead employees who are happy, productive and doing their best work. If that’s not you, now’s the chance to ask for what you want and make a change.
If you like the company and know what you want, go to your boss with a plan for what would make you happier or more productive. How can you better leverage your skills? How can you expand your knowledge while benefitting the business?
If you never ask, the answer is always no—so don’t stay quiet. The worst case scenario is that you land back where you are now and then, all you have to do is start job searching to find something new. And yes, there is enough time in the day to apply for jobs.
Quit the Job You Hate: There are 24 Hours in a Day—Start Applying
I know you’re exhausted at the end of the day, especially if you’re in a job that takes a toll on you both mentally and emotionally. The good news is, there’s 24 hours in a day.
Commit to job searching and applying for one hour, three days each week—just three hours each week is enough time to get yourself out there and send in applications without taking up a lot of the time you need to decompress and relax. Plus, you can do it from your couch, with a glass of wine in hand and your favorite show on T.V. Make it easy and it will be.
One question asked from the Power to Fly listeners was, how do two parents, who both hate their jobs, but are afraid to lose benefits and insurance, make a change? My response: You can both be job searching and looking for new jobs at the same time.
If you already have insurance, you’re likely covered until the end of the month of your departure, and then most companies offer Cobra to cover you until the next plan kicks in. While Cobra is expensive, part of the preparation process might involve saving so you can cover those extra expenses while you make the transition.
If needed, parents can also alternate evenings of job searching to make sure the kids are taken care of, dinner is made and everything is running as smoothly as possible. In the end, you need to be a team and make a plan.
That plan: save money to be able to pay for the extra benefits, choose nights when mom will job search and when dad will job search, cover each other for interviews, and move into new jobs where you’re happier and more fulfilled.
Create a Job You Love: You Can Learn Something—Take Advantage
In most cases, there are many opportunities outside your immediate role to learn and grow. Staying in a job you hate, assuming there’s no foul play or harassment happening, may be worth it if there’s an opportunity bolster your resume, learn from a mentor, or dabble in different positions with shadowing. In every position I’ve ever had—and I had 6 jobs in 7 years—I learned something that I now use to run my business. I could name at least one skill learned from every single job, and I stayed at each one for just 1.5 years or less.
This is where you need to use your voice again. Ask your boss about opportunities for mentorship, shadowing, or taking on new projects that allow you to stretch your skillset and prepare for another position. If there’s nothing available, and you’ve run dry on growth in your current position, now’s the time to move into job search mode.
Quit the Job You Hate: Come Back to You—Tap Into the Answers
This answer came up most often in our conversations. The power of tuning into yourself by journaling and getting quiet can’t be underestimated. So many people talked about not knowing what they wanted to do and the answer I continually gave was: if you slow down, you’ll find that answer.
So often we go-go-go, with a running to-do list that never seems to be completed, but with all that clutter in our mind, we don’t have enough space for the answers to float to the surface.
You don’t have to meditate every day, or become a professional yogi, to tap into your own answers. All you have to do is make time for stillness in your day, with or without a journal. Journaling comes naturally to me as a way to tune into my own answers and I like using a mindmap style when I’m trying to figure something out.
For example, I’ll put a topic in the middle circle, like “What do I like to do?” and then each branch off the middle circle with answers that question. When you give yourself time to think like this, and write your thoughts on paper, you’re able to come up with answers that may have otherwise been lost in the chaos of your mind.
If you don’t like journaling, find five minutes in your day to sit quietly, letting thoughts come and go. Do it while you drink your coffee, before bed, or even in the car before heading into work. Wherever you can get a quiet five minutes, take it. You may be surprised with what comes up. When something starts popping up again during your day, or the next time you quiet down, listen—that’s your intuition trying to tell you something.
How to Quit a Job You Hate?
Now’s the time to change the conversation. You have the power to leverage your learning opportunities, ask for what you want, or commit to applying to jobs and leaving. You are never stuck. You are likely not in a situation that you can’t get out of. Use these tips to change the conversation once and for all and get out of the job you hate or create one you love.
A version of this first appeared on my LinkedIn Pulse: Get Out of a Job You Hate or Create One You Love