To Stay or Go: 3 Reasons Why Quitting Your Job May Be a Bad Idea

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Thinking about quitting your job? Here are a few things you should consider before throwing in the towel.

There are times in your career where you will have to answer the tough question, should I stay where I am or should I go?

Corporations are living entities that grow with time, and as a part of the corporate environment, growth can bring both positive and negative changes for you.

When you’re feeling euphoric over a promotion or a similarly favorable event, the urge to leave is virtually non-existent.

However, when times get tough or you’re feeling unsatisfied with your job, you may be tempted to, as best-selling author and speaker Bernard Marr puts it, “make rushed decisions to quit without considering all the reasons you might want to stay.”

While the ultimate decision will boil down to personal considerations only you can fully answer, there are some concrete decision-making processes you can go through to determine whether the grass really is greener on the other side of the exit interview.

Related Article: Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Why It's Better to Start a Business While Still Employed

1. Assess Your Short-Term Versus Long-Term Perspective

One great way to test the validity of your desire to quit is to ask yourself, am I being pulled toward something greater, or pushed out of somewhere bad? This litmus test is important for determining the real short-term versus long-term perspective you’re applying to your reasoning for departing. Leaving because you can’t stand where you’re at may be more of an emotional and temporary response to a condition, than a healthy, constructive response. As author Daniel Gulati says in an article interview with the Harvard Business Review, “People should quit to secure a positive role, not on an emotional whim to avoid a negative situation. If you truly hate what you’re doing, you should absolutely leave but not before you identify something that you have a good chance of loving in the future.” On the other hand, if chronic unhappiness is your daily perspective then it’s important to figure out what’s really going on with your displeasure at work.

The Harvard Business Review points out a few short and long-term assessment tools that may be able to help:

  • You keep saying you’re going to quit, but don’t -- what is the real reason for your hesitation about going?
  • If the thought of having your boss’s job is totally undesirable to you -- it may be that there’s no room for growth, and may be time to move on
  • You’re consistently underperforming -- lack of motivation and disengagement often are at the root of underperformance, perhaps you need a new challenge in, or out, of your current office environment

2. It’s Easier to Get a Job, When You Have a Job

Alison Green, author of "How To Get A Job: Secrets of A Hiring Manager," confirms in an interview the old cliché, saying, "Employers tend to prefer to hire people who are already employed." If you’re thinking about going, consider this: you’ll need to explain why you quit. Sometimes it’s simpler to start your hunt for a greater opportunity while still employed, which places the emphasis on why you’re looking for more challenge or greater development versus having a discussion about being fed-up with where you are and deciding to quit. If you’re worried about how to approach searching for a job while you’re still employed, you can find a helpful list of Dos and Don’ts from YourOfficeCoach.com Marie McIntyre, PhD, who reinforces, “looking for a job when you already have one can make you feel like an undercover agent… however, it's usually easier to find a job while you're still employed.”

Related Article: Stop Wondering: 7 Signs You’re Ready for Full-Time Entrepreneurship

3. Willingness to Go Offers Leverage

Corporate turnover is a problem. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, HR leaders rank corporate retention and turnover as one of their top three issues.  If you think that your job dissatisfaction is stemming from issues that may be temporary or short-term in nature, you may want to consider discussing improvements where you’re at before you decide to find another job. A willingness to go offers you the leverage to negotiate. As Bernard Marr says in an article for LinkedIn, “when you’re actually willing to walk away, it puts you in a very strong position to negotiate. But if you storm out in anger, you’ve lost all your bargaining power.” You may want to consider improvements you can negotiate for where you are before making up your mind to go, or at least be willing to stay until you find the type of work environment that will be healthy and rewarding for you long-term.

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