There are some days when a day at work can feel like a prison sentence with an extra dose of torture thrown in. Your boss is cranky, some of your colleagues are acting like jerks and you have no idea how you will ever finish the growing pile of work that’s accumulating on your desk. The temptation to walk out for good and quit a job you hate can be overwhelming. Indeed it has led to many spur-of-the-moment resignations by people all over the world.

But is it wise to just quit? As ideal as it might seem in the heat of the moment, it might be useful to consider these five reasons before you throw in the towel.

1. Quitting your job without having anything else lined up can put you into panic mode.

This is hardly a helpful state to be in if you’re starting your own business or looking for another job. Potential clients and new employers alike will smell desperation a mile away and chances are, they will be put off by it. Wait until your side business is earning enough to pay your rent and bills, or until you have a new job offer, and you’ll be in a much better place to ditch your current job.

2. You might be quitting for the wrong reasons.

I remember being tempted to quit a great job because I couldn’t stand a colleague I worked with. After a huge argument I sat at my desk and wrote my letter of resignation. Luckily I waited to calm down before I handed it in. I soon realised that it would be a huge mistake to resign. I loved my job, I was learning lots and had I quit I would have missed out on some great experience-building. When I realised this I made an effort to improve the relationship with my colleague and chose projects that meant I had very little to do with her (just to be on the safe side).

Before you hand in that letter, ask yourself: Is it the whole job or just a particular aspect of it that’s making you unhappy? Can it be changed? Who can help you change it?

3. You could miss out on some great learning opportunities.

Being a little more strategic about your departure can set you up for a great next move.

The minute you realise you want to leave your job, spend some time thinking about what you’d like to do next. What kind of skills and experience does your planned next step require? Can you start building this experience at your current job? Are there any courses that your current employer offers that could prove beneficial for your future? Is there a particular company you’d like to work with? Can you start creating some connections now?

Work on building the skills and connections you’ll need for the future and those few extra months you spend in your job will be very worthwhile.

4.  Some of the toughest challenges will become the highlights of your career.

If you’re thinking of quitting your job because it feels too hard … STOP. Often when we’re in the middle of something that takes us out of our comfort zone, it can feel very uncomfortable. While our natural reaction is to escape, it may not always be the wisest one. The first time I ran a training course for a group of people I nearly fainted with fear. It left me thinking that this job was not for me, that it was too hard. I stuck it out because I knew it was what I wanted to do. Twelve years later, I now train trainers and run workshops all over the world. Had I given up at that first hurdle my life would look very different to what it does now.

Think about these questions to decide whether this challenge is worth sticking around for. Are you more capable of dealing with this than you were a week ago? Can you get more training and support to help you cope better? Are you learning useful skills? If the answer to any of these is YES, then you might benefit from staying around a little longer.

5. Your current job can develop a key element of success.

Science shows that one of the best predictors of success in life is your level of resilience. That is, how capable you are of rising above the tough challenges that life throws at you. Resilience also tends to work like a muscle, in that it gets stronger the more we use it.

Can you use this job to learn how to deal with adversity? Will the experience make you stronger in the end? If so, how can you use the experience to build your resilience muscle?

While there are many valid reasons to stick to your job right now there may be just as many reasons for why you should quit. If your job is making you ill, creating high anxiety or if you are in a situation that is toxic or abusive, if your instinct is telling you to leave, then sit down at your desk and write that letter today.

Featured photo credit: Sybren A. Stuvel via creativecommons.org

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