I get this question quite often. Usually, the question is asked in relation to whether quitting, without any other job, makes sense.
I ask these questions in response:
1. Is your job literally (that’s literally, not figuratively) damaging your mental health?
Before you answer, I want to be clear that this is a big hurdle. I don’t mean that you feel a little anxious. I mean you are medicated due to work anxiety. I don’t mean that you have a beer after work to calm you but rather than you feel the need to abuse substances due to your work environment. I don’t mean that you don’t want to go to work on Monday. I mean that you literally (again literally) can’t get out of bed to go to work because you are depressed.
If yes, then we need to figure out how you can pay the bills because you need to quit.
If no, then we move on to our next question.
2. Do you know how you will pay your bills if you quit?
If yes, then, while we are still not done with my questions, at least we know you have a viable option.
If no, then, sorry, we have to figure out a plan to pay your bills before you quit.
3. Will quitting create significant damage to your resume?
If yes, then we need to figure out a plan before your departure.
If no, we probably still need to figure out a plan but at least we have one less thing to worry about.
4. Would you like your boss’s job? Or your boss’s boss’s job?
If yes, then maybe you just need to pay your dues because you might be on the right path. It’s not your career path that’s terrible, it is just your current position on the path.
If no, then that’s a pretty good sign that you are not on a career path that will lead to happiness.
5. Are you developing skills/knowledge/connections that will be valuable to you?
If yes, then maybe you should stay long enough to learn what you need to learn and then move onward.
If no, that’s a very good sign that you are in the wrong job.
While these questions might seem that I would favor quitting, that’s not the case. Most people should gut it out until they come up with a plan.
Work can be awful. But, it is often better than no work at all.