“Should I quit my job?” 7 reasons to leave (+ when to STAY)

The truth is that not every job out there is a good fit for you. Sometimes you need to try ten different jobs to figure out what you really want to do in life. It’s all part of the process. 

But quitting your job is a huge (and sometimes scary) step. And it’s tough to know when to quit a job and when to just keep at it. 

Whether you’re unhappy at your job or don’t feel like you’re maximizing your potential, sometimes it is the best move to quit and find something better. 

Often, top performers change jobs every one to two years to make sure they’re constantly being challenged. Plus, it’s sometimes the only way to really boost your salary. So, if you’re asking “Should I quit my job or stick with it?” keep reading. Below you’ll find some solid reasons for quitting versus staying.

Note: These rules only apply if your personal safety is not endangered at work. If you feel unsafe at work, you have every right to quit before you have your next job lined up. In fact, that may be the smartest decision. 

Should I quit my job? 7 good reasons to quit a job

1. You have a new job in the bag

Starting with the most obvious reason to quit your job, having another job lined up is an excellent reason to quit. 

Good reasons to switch to another role include better pay, more generous benefits, flexible working, a shorter commute, or promotion and career growth opportunities. If any of those apply, then it’s a no-brainer.

Make sure before you quit, make sure you have a confirmed job offer elsewhere. Don’t make the leap based on an off-hand promise from a friend or family member. 

2. You’re fed up with the toxic work environment

A toxic work environment can totally ruin a job for you, and there isn’t always a clear-cut way to solve it. If you’ve been to HR, spoken with your boss, and manager but nothing is getting resolved, it’s probably time to say goodbye and not look back. 

A toxic work environment can take its toll on your wellbeing, mental health, motivation, and even lead to burnout and other long-term health issues. If it’s truly toxic, it’s just not worth sacrificing your health for a job.

3. There’s no room to grow

If career growth and a future of promotions are what you strive for, you need to know there’s room to grow in your role.

In smaller companies, there isn’t always room to grow. That’s why ambitious people tend to quit once they reach their career ceiling. 

Before you hand in your resignation, you may want to set up a meeting with your manager to share your desire to advance in the company. Be bold and ask what you can do in the next six months to improve your chances of a promotion. You’ll get an idea from this conversation whether it’s a realistic aim or not. If not, you can start your search for a new job. 

4. You just hate your job

Do you lie awake at night worrying about work the next day? Do you feel anxious, depressed, lacking in motivation? These are all signs that the job isn’t a good fit for you. 

If you’ve tried everything to make your job feel a bit better such as talking to HR, coworkers, and managers about issues, then it’s time to plan an exit.

At some point, everyone fantasizes about quitting a job they hate. Hold on though. You need a plan of action beforehand. Don’t just throw your resignation letter down and dramatically shout “I QUIT!”

Plan your exit strategically, and find a new job elsewhere first and try to exit on good terms. You don’t want to burn bridges, especially if you need a reference from your current employer.

5. There’s no sense of purpose

After working in a role for a long time, a lot of people feel like their job doesn’t give them a strong sense of purpose. It’s easy to think that way if you’ve been doing the same thing day in, day out for years.

This lack of purpose doesn’t just suck though. It can lead to you feeling demotivated which can impact your work. Your mental health can even take a hit, especially if the job is stressful AND feels a bit pointless.

If you’re looking for a role that gives you a strong sense of purpose, it may be time to move on. Bringing a sense of purpose to your role is a hard thing to fix because it’s not as tangible as other problems. But it’s just as much of a problem.

You may want to search for other jobs in your field, slightly different roles, management positions with more responsibility, or a completely new career. 

When your career lacks a purpose, this is a cue for many to think about a career change. Maybe you’re done with the corporate world and all you’ve ever really wanted to do was teach. Then go for it. Research what you need, put a plan in place, and work on that goal. Don’t sit around in the same seat for years wondering why you’re bothering.

6. You’re looking for a career change

At some point in their career, people often realize that they’re not doing something they want to do long-term. They may even realize they ended up in a completely wrong field. 

Changing careers can be difficult and scary, but if you’re not fulfilled in your current one, you can and should make the switch.

This is even tougher than finding a new job, so you’ll want to plan this carefully. Do some research on what’s needed for your new career including qualifications and experience. Don’t just leave randomly and realize you need a college degree for your new job field. 

7. You’re being underpaid

One of the top reasons people change their job is because of the pay. After all, it’s a huge factor in why we take a role in the first place. A lot of people find that if they stick in the same job for too long that the pay never quite catches up to the going industry rate. 

If you’ve seen new employees in the past few years join on a better salary than you, this is pretty common. And incredibly frustrating. The first step is to ask for a pay rise. For the best chance to win that pay bump, check out the Ultimate Guide to Getting a Raise & Boosting Your Salary.

If you follow all those tips and your boss still doesn’t budge and say yes, you know the next step is to look elsewhere. Sometimes, the only way to earn more money is to job hop every few years. 

when to quit a job decision tree

Use this decision tree to decide when to quit a job

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Good reasons to stick with your job

1. You haven’t tried all the alternatives yet

If you’ve had a bad few weeks and it seems like nothing is getting better, you need to ask if there’s anything you can do to improve things. Sometimes there isn’t, but you at least need to try. 

If it’s a toxic work environment or working conditions are just bad, your first step is to bring that up with management and HR. If it’s the role itself you don’t like, think about asking to switch to another department or look for internal roles that might be a better fit.

Until you’ve explored these alternatives, don’t just throw the towel in. Unless your health is truly in danger, you don’t have to quit immediately. See what you can change and what you can work with. Give it another month to see if things improve. If not, look elsewhere but at least you’ll know you tried. 

2. You don’t have a plan

Quitting a job can be huge. You’re saying goodbye to a salary, employee benefits, potential for growth, and you may be walking away from great colleagues. That’s why you need a solid plan of action. Ideally, this starts with another job offer or a strong business plan if you’re looking to open a company.

Before quitting, you should spend some time researching the job market, improving your skills, and doing what you can to make yourself irresistibly employable. 

Getting a plan together is also a great way to avoid falling into the exact same situation. If you don’t plan, you could end up in another role that’s a bad fit.

3. You can’t afford to quit right now

Finding a new job isn’t always a quick and easy thing to do. You could have a ton of experience, but the job market is competitive. The last thing you want to do is get overconfident, quit your job, and expect to land a new role by the end of the week.

If you’ve got money tucked away to fund a lengthy job search, then great. But consider holding onto your job for a few more weeks while you job hunt. You’ll be in a much better financial position and won’t have to burn through savings. 

4. What you really need is a break

Burnout is a serious thing. If you’re feeling it, you might think the only solution is to quit. But what you really need is a break. 

If you can take some time away from the office, this should help alleviate it. Take a vacation, shut off your emails, and try not to think of work. This time off can help you get the clarity you need. 

5. You’ve had a bad day 

Everyone has those moments, after a bad day, when you’re angry at everyone and all you can think about is quitting. Quitting may not be such a bad thing, but you need to think carefully.

Whatever you do, don’t just quit out of the blue. It’s not like the movies. You don’t have to dramatically whip off your name tag and throw it on the desk in front of your boss. If you’re angry, go home, and take some time to calm down first. 

You need to think clearly before you make a major decision like this. And you can only do that away from work. 

Assess what you could have done differently, what others could have done differently, and see if there’s a way through it. If not, then you can start planning your exit. 

IWT Student explains how she got a raise using Ramit's negotiation tactics


Chelsie got a 26%+ raise just by asking!

What to do if you do need to quit a job 

The best time to look for a job is when you already have one. If you can tough it out for a few more weeks, you can start your search for a better job without worrying about making rent. This also gives you the opportunity to extend your search, and focus on finding your dream job

The last thing you want to do after quitting a job is to desperately take on any job just to replace your income. A plan and a strategy is your best chance of turning this experience into a positive one and leveling up in either salary, work environment, benefits, career progression, or whatever it is you’re looking for. To leave your job on the best terms possible, follow these steps:

  1. Do your research on the job market and start applying
  2. Get a job offer
  3. Pick the best time to resign
  4. Hand in your resignation letter
  5. Give feedback on why you’re leaving
  6. Give enough notice
  7. Have a meeting with HR and/or your boss
  8. Be helpful with your hand-over/finding your replacement

Whether you’re planning to stay at your current job or look for a new one, we have tons of free material on how to negotiate a raise. If you want to maximize your earning potential, just enter your email below to receive my best material on boosting your salary. 

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.