By Dave Liu
How do you know when it’s time to leave a job?
Many people stay in jobs long past their expiration date. They do this for a variety of reasons, including fear of change, fear of the unknown, and loyalty to an employer. But this can come at major personal cost.
Staying in a job that you no longer enjoy can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. If you’re feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, or burnt out at work, it may be time to move on.
It can be difficult to know when it’s time to leave a job. After all, there are many factors to consider, and it’s not always easy to make a decision. However, there are some general quitting criteria you can use to help you make the decision:
1. You’re no longer learning and growing.
2. You’re not being challenged.
3. You’re not being recognized or rewarded for your work.
4. You’re not given the opportunity to lead or take on new projects.
5. You’re not happy with the company’s direction.
6. You’re not a good fit for the company culture.
7. You don’t see a future for yourself at the company.
8. You are getting underpaid.
9. You are being passed over for the promotions you deserve.
10. People you trust the most in the world (i.e., mom) tell you to quit.
Consider all of these criteria in the context of your overall career goals and determine if your current job is helping you to achieve them. If not, it may be time to exit stage left.
If you find it hard to leave, take solace in the fact that you are not alone. According to the State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report by Gallup in August 2022, job unhappiness is at an all-time high with 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work. Almost one-fifth report being downright miserable.
In the U.S., a majority report being stressed at work on a daily basis and almost one-fifth report being angry.
If it were so easy to leave, you think a majority of Americans would still be working in their lousy jobs?
What’s the best way to leave a job on good terms?
The best way to leave a job on good terms is to ensure that the company won’t have any reason to hold a grudge against you. Whether you are leaving voluntarily or involuntarily, it’s always helpful to be proactive and show you’re invested in leaving your company in a better position than when you arrived.
With this in mind, if you’re planning to leave a job, the best way to do so is by letting your employer know as far in advance as possible. It’s important to give them time to replace you and don’t leave them in a lurch.
Another good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your soon-to-be ex-manager were to write a letter of recommendation for you, what would it say? Would they commend you on work well done and the great loss they suffered when you left? Or would it be the more spiteful “no comment?” Hopefully, it’s the former.
Finally, remember that the world is a really small place. Every single ex-colleague, ex-boss, and ex-subordinate is just a single click away. The best way to leave a job is to do so with grace and dignity. The worst way to leave a job is by burning bridges and leaving enemies in your wake.
How do I choose my path forward? How do I decide what I want to do in life?
There are many ways one can answer this question. Some find their purpose in religion or spirituality. But for many of us, the path involves work. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to find meaning in life, or that we should resign ourselves to living purposeless lives, but my goal is to help you find it in your career.
To start, I have previously shared the Ikigai framework as a great way to find your answer. If you recall, it is the convergence of four areas of life: what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. The very center, where each area overlaps, is your ikigai or reason for being and where you will find ultimate fulfillment. Whether you’re a janitor, cartoonist or influencer, if you find your ikigai, you’ll find pleasure and value in what you do.
To find your ikigai it’s not realistic to ask others because it is uniquely personal for all of us. There are values that we cherish more than others, talents only we possess, and opportunities not available to all.
I believe it can only be found by oneself and one of the most important aspects of living a fulfilling life is discovering one’s purpose. Many people work for decades without knowing what sets their heart on fire and makes them feel alive. The good news is, it’s never too late to discover your ikigai or find a new purpose in life because you are never too old to change your destiny.
I believe that your early career, or 20s for most, is the time to experiment. Iterate through trial and error and don’t be afraid to take risks. As you approach mid-career, or 30s and 40s for most, this is the time to narrow your field of experimentation and begin the process of becoming more skilled and adept in your profession. Hopefully, you will be scaling the corporate ladder and achieving both financial and spiritual fulfillment.
The key to finding your true calling requires a deeply personal reflection on what brings you joy, what value it provides to other people, and if it aligns with your values. It also requires that you are willing to admit when your current situation isn’t working and change course accordingly – even if you’ve been on the same path for some time. Don’t ever be afraid to try something new.
About the Author
Dave is a seasoned executive and entrepreneur who founded several companies in entertainment, investments, and technology, and worked on Wall Street for almost 25 years.
He rose from an entry-level position of Analyst at the investment bank Jefferies to Group Head of Internet and Digital Media and was one of the youngest Managing Directors in firm history. As one of the only managing directors of color in the firm, he successfully broke through the Bamboo Ceiling. He not only worked hard but also played the corporate game.
Dave also serves on the board of directors of Asian American Media Inc, the parent company of AsAmNews. He is also one of our largest donors.
If you want some great career tips and insights check out Dave’s book, The Way of the Wall Street Warrior, at TheWallStreetWarrior.com.
You can follow Dave at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].