To find someone who has been in the same job for decades is uncommon, especially in this time and age where millennials are opting to remain in one job for a short time before hopping to the next one. I have experienced all kinds of employment, from internships and freelancing to part-time and full-time jobs. Some of those jobs were great, but they did not align with my long-term career aspirations. Other jobs were so menial that people were quick to criticise my decision for including them in my resume. The jobs that I loved are the ones that usually put many in a stunned state, and if I were to explain to them why, their jaws would drop to the floor. Nevertheless, I have gained plenty of insights from moving from one job to another in various industries.
Life is not all about having a job–life is so much more than that. There are numerous variables that influence our job satisfaction, such as workplace culture, the job design and the company’s human-oriented policies. Similarly, there are numerous elements that will contribute to if and when you decide to call it quits.
Typically, I would remain in a position for three months before deciding whether to continue with my current job or move on to a more promising job opportunity. Three months is more than enough time to acclimatise with the workplace environment, be familiar with the company’s policies and the company overall. That is my rule of thumb.
Below are two warning signs that you should be looking for if you ever contemplate quitting your job:
1. You have been spending most of your days picturing the perfect job.
I used to work for a small software company when I was studying abroad several years ago. It was a good thing that I did not spend much time there. The firm was relatively small, and the number of interns was almost identical to the number of full-time employees. The firm was expanding rapidly and was acquiring clients quicker than it could handle. Consequently, the full-time employees had to work long hours. For us interns, well, we were viewed as cheap labour, and thus, we were treated as such. Despite the work being mundane and not fulfilling my career needs, it was bearable. Do not get me wrong–neither did I hate nor love the role then.
“So many amazing opportunities arise when a chapter of our life ends. When we resign from a job that we weren’t happy in, or even get fired, it’s actually a blessing because a better experience is waiting to happen. It’s all about perspective.”Miya Yamanouchi
The root of the issue was that I found it extremely difficult to find a compelling reason to respect the company’s founder because he was continuously giving sour treatments to all his employees, regardless of their titles and tenure. For example, at one point, during a company meeting, he did not acknowledge my existence, which killed the mood when you consider that the company had no more than fifteen employees in total.
I was counting down to the day I leave the company for good. I was fed up with the habit of looking at the clock and hoping that in a blink of an eye, nine in the morning turns to six in the evening. I even had a countdown app on my phone to know how much time remained until sayonara time.
At that point, it occurred to me that if I was spending loads of time thinking of being somewhere else, I should probably just go there now and not later.
2. Your mental and physical health is on the verge of collapsing.
While I was a waiter, one of my colleagues only worked on Tuesdays and Fridays. During the week, her day job involved designing advertising materials for clients of a digital advertising agency that probably rewarded her with more money than her part-time job. One day, she informed me that she handed over her resignation letter because her sanity was fading away, and she realised that her body cannot take the strain of working daily, including weekends. To me, her decision to quit her day job was undoubtedly reasonable.
There is a mental and physical price that you must pay in every job. For example, a clerical job will not be great for your spine and your neck. Too much screen time will wear your eyes out and increase your likelihood of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Physically-intensive jobs mean your body is prone to injuries, especially if you are not an active person who regularly goes to the gym.
“You cannot heal in the same environment that got you sick.”
However, just living for the sake of living can affect our bodies. Excessive interaction with our mobile devices can influence our attention span and psychological health. My back once paid a hefty price for a job that glued me to my chair for long hours every day from Monday to Friday. I suffered leg cramps multiple times when I was working in the logistics industry as a warehouse associate because I was moving up and down the stairs while carrying bulky and heavy items.
My physical and mental health are my most precious gifts in life. When I am not thinking straight or experience severe mood fluctuations, there is no better time to quit than now. For me, no job is worth my mental and physical health. So, if your mind is trying to barge into your house to tell you something, you need to pause for a while and listen to what it wants to say to you. Afterwards, decide if you want to continue with your current job.
Final 2¢: Staying does not mean things will get better.
It is worth noting that time does not equal success. I believe it is crucial to understand that if the job is not something that you particularly enjoy very much and hurts your physical as well as mental well-being, then it is important to determine when you need to throw in the towel.
Quitting can be difficult and bring lots of pain. However, in certain scenarios, deciding to stay put will further worsen your situation. Quitting is scary, but you have to give up something to get to the next level. It truly depends on which kind of hard you want to live in: the difficulty of knowing that you must start the job search again and live on your savings until you find a new job or the difficulty of keeping your spirits in a gruelling job environment.