When should I quit my job?

Sometimes it's an easy choice to quit your job. Your boss has been draining the life out you for years. You've fantasized about storming into her office and calling her a few choice names and shoving her yogurt parfait  ... no, no even better ... you quietly pack up your desk and leave at lunch.  

Just leave and never look back! How great would that be right now?

Most of the time, however, it's way more complicated and less satisfying to actually quit your job.

There's details like keys, badges to turn in and that pesky exit interview to smile through. And like it or not, you still need these people for possible references. It's a small world out there. 

Still, there are definite signs that you and your job are on the way to Splitsville. 

It's time to break it off when ... 

It's causing stupid stress

I remember waking up, and more often than I would like to admit, thinking God, please let me get through this day.

I had infant twins, a kindergartener, a husband who reluctantly quit his job to stay home with the kids, and a job that I had to keep because the five of us would not fit in a cardboard box.

There was no teleworking at this job. There was, however, a law of punctuality. All shortcomings on the cubicle farm would be forgiven if you could show up on time, every time.

Um, did I mention I have three kids? Oh and a 10-year-old car, at the time. 

This environment created stress. Stupid stress. I hardly ever worry about being on time because I am usually punctual. But when it's a requirement of employment, Employment, by the way, that four other people depended on. Being on time was stressful.

Learn to manage your workplace stress


I had stomach aches, headaches, and anxiety to prove it. About 44 percent of working adults say that their current job affects their overall health, but only 28 percent say it's a good thing. 

If your exhaustion and other physical symptoms dissipate as soon as you leave your job, then your job giving you stupid stress. When I switched to a job that didn't watch the clock so much, my symptoms vanished.

Imagine that.

Sunday is No Fun Day  

The Sunday blahs are the big, mean older brother to stupid stress. It ruins all of your fun. If you ever have that pit-of-your-stomach feeling of dread that starts about 2 p.m. on Sunday and intensifies as the hours tick down to Monday ... then yeah. 

It's one thing to do some meal prep or other chores to get ready for the week, it's another to feel anxious or upset. Living for the weekend isn't really living.

It's Sucking the Joy Out of the Rest of Your Life

Friends and family have mentioned it. You don't want to admit it. But your job has made you a jerkface. You're irritable. You talk about the job, drama and who did what all of the time.

It's costing you friends.

It's annoying your family.

It's time to consider quitting. If your circumstances hinder your ability to quit right now, Focus on doing something so you can quit. 

Start a side hustle.

Enjoy the time away from work.

Get your finances in order. Consider lifestyle changes that would allow you to live on less for a while. 

That should give you plenty to talk about. 


If you are ready to take the plunge, then good for you. And remember:

The dos and don'ts of quitting

DO write and give a simple resignation letter to your immediate boss and, perhaps, your Human Resources Director, if appropriate. By putting a few key items in writing, it memorializes your intention to leave the company.

It also gives you a chance to pre-play the discussion with your boss. The letter should include the following: your last day on the job, open items that you need to complete prior to leaving, and any work that you will need to pass off to someone else. 

DON'T say anything negative about the company or anyone working for the company. While this is a good policy to employ at all times, it is even more critical when you are leaving.

Disgruntled employees may seek you out during this time to air their negative feelings about the company or people working for the company.

Resist the overwhelming temptation to trash talk. It could bite you in the butt. 

DO give as much advance notice as possible to allow for a smooth transition. Typically, this is two to four weeks.

Use your best judgment to decide how long you will need to give keeping in mind what's best for the company.

Be aware that is also possible that the company will ask you to leave immediately, especially if you're going to work for a competitor.

This is nothing personal and should not be considered an insult. 

DO work hard until you leave. It's perfectly natural to get "short-timer's disease" as you have already mentally moved onto the new position.

Whether discussing movies, books, or relationships; people generally remember the beginning and end more than the middle. 

DON'T take anything that is not yours. Whether it's a stapler, a book that belongs to the company, copy paper, or paper clips; leave them behind. While you're at it, tidy up a bit. 

DO make yourself available for your replacement. If the company hires your replacement before you leave, offer to train them.

Even after you have departed, it's a good idea to leave a phone number where you can be reach with times that it is acceptable to call. 

DON'T abuse e-mail, the telephone, or the internet during your last days. Be sure to keep your communication as professional as you have during your tenure. 

There's no reason that you still can't be friends with your old job when it's over. If you are careful to maintain a good reputation with the company, their suppliers, their customers, and employees; it will pay off considerably.

It may not happen right away, but your paths will cross again.