3 Times You'll Want to Just Quit Your Job (and What to Do Instead)

Change in the office makes almost everyone a little uncomfortable. So when it happens, it’s hard not to want to explore other opportunities—even if you’re content in your current role.

But before you put in your two weeks’ notice, take a deep breath. For a lot of people I know, this nervousness leads them to quit perfectly fine jobs because it seemed like the “right” time. And most, if not all, of those people eventually told me they made a terrible mistake.

To help you avoid a similar fate, here are a few of those situations that have you poking around on job boards—and what you should do instead of updating your resume.

1. Your Favorite People Are Starting to Consider New Opportunities

I totally understand how natural it is to get antsy when your favorite co-workers are interviewing with other companies. There’s an element of FOMO— should you be doing the same?

The answer is many cases is no.

What to Do Instead

I’m not here to tell you not to explore potential opportunities if that’s what you want to do. But in my experience, it’s a pretty bad idea to leave a role you like just because your work spouse is eyeing the exit. Don’t get me wrong—it sucks. But you will get over it!

So, before you run out of the doors without a plan, spend time thinking about your current job; what you like and don’t like about it. As long as that “like” list is substantially longer, you should stay put. (And you should keep that list saved in a place that you can access it whenever you’re missing your BFF.)

2. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed by Things That “Aren’t in Your Job Description”

You wouldn’t be the first person who was frustrated by the idea of chipping in on projects that you’re technically not responsible for completing. After all, you have your own to-do list and you’re having trouble getting through it because of all the extra work being thrown on your plate.

In fact, the easy solution might be to throw your hands in the air and say, “I’ve never liked this place anyway so I’m out!”

What to Do Instead

There are lots of reasons that could explain why you’re the one being chosen for these tasks. And that’s exactly why you should explore them for your own sake.

Maybe your boss wants to put you on a track for a promotion. Or your team just doesn’t understand what your workload without this extra work looks like on a daily basis. You could also be a member of an understaffed team full of people who are going above and beyond. Once you figure out the reason, you’ll have a better understanding of why you’re doing it.

So, pause that search and talk to your manger about it. It’s as simple as saying, “I’ve noticed that you’ve assigned a few new projects to me lately. While I’m excited to do more, I’d also like to ask about priorities when it comes to new and old tasks, as well as see if there’s a reason you’ve chosen me for these assignments”

(And if that doesn’t sound great to you, read this article on how to say you’re overworked without sounding whiny.)

3. You’re Assigned to a New Manager

I’ve had a lot of managers over my short-ish career. And I haven’t always liked them. So, in those previous jobs, it was easy to leave meetings with my boss and think that I would take just about anything else if it meant not dealing with his crap ever again. Raise your hand if you can relate. I’d tell you all that I’d buy you and ice cream cone, but I can’t afford that many ice cream cones.

What to Do Instead

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change your current boss. But you can make life easier on yourself by figuring out how he or she communicates best. You might have to do some extra work, but if you can identify how your manager likes things done and why, you’ll be able to move forward with a little less anxiety.

Plus, if you find that your efforts don’t make him or her any more tolerable, you’ll know that it’s time to start exploring new jobs more aggressively.

If you’re questioning whether or not you should be looking around at new opportunities, don’t worry—it’s totally normal to wonder what’s out there. But there are also times when it feels like you have to leave your current job, when in reality things are just a little uncomfortable right now.

Take that deep breath, ask yourself some tough questions, and chances are that you’ll realize that you still like your job.

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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