by Andrea M. Darcy
Is the question ‘should I quit my job?’ always hovering at the back of your mind?
There are very good reasons to leave a job. These include being harassed or bullied in the workplace, or a job that is so stressful it’s affecting your health. And also a workplace that is directly opposed to your ethics and personal values.
“Should I quit my job?”
But if you have spent your career always wanting something different, have had many job changes, or feel lost as to what job can make you happy? Here are some good questions to ask inspired by coaching and counselling.
1. Is your job really the thing that is upsetting you?
You’d be surprised how many people come to counselling to get help in changing their career, only to discover their career isn’t the real problem. What they are unhappy about and wanting to change is a relationship or their home life. Or, they have a childhood issue or past trauma that leaves them always restless or is making them a difficult employee.
Focussing on career can be a perfect way to distract ourselves from other, deeper issues. Until we deal with those problems properly, there is no ‘perfect job’ out there that can change things.
2. What do you think quitting your job will give you?
Sometimes quitting a job is entirely practical. We simply need more money for our growing family, or a job that gives us more free time. And sometimes we simply outgrow a job we took when we were young and didn’t yet know our personal values.
But if you are are hoping a new job will help you feel more exciting, more interesting, more powerful, more accepted, more ‘normal’, better about yourself, or more respected, then you are seeing an emotion from your job that is not related to your career. There is a very good chance you’ll switch jobs and still feel the same old you as always.
A job, no matter how wonderful, cannot meet emotional needs or fix your issues.
3. Is it really your boss or colleagues that are the problem?
Take a moment to think about your career to date. Do you always have the same problem with bosses and colleagues? Always end up at a job with a domineering boss you are sure is a narcissist? Or work with colleagues who take advantage of you or leave you feeling under-appreciated? Or always feeling bullied in the workplace?
Bad bosses and colleagues do exist. But if see a pattern, then it might be that the problem is coming from the way you interact with people. You might unconsciously be behaving in ways that encourage others to treat you a certain way.
This goes back to childhood, and the ways we learned to gain attention and approval. For example, if you had a critical parent, you might even be encouraging criticism (see our article, ‘Are You Mistakenly Encouraging Criticism From Others’ ).
4. Are you self-sabotaging?
Crazy but true – there are some of us who quit our job because we are about to succeed. You are about to get a promotion, or qualify for a raise, or have enough work hours logged in you can finally get pregnant and take mat leave.
If deep inside you have a core belief you are not worthy of good things, or don’t deserve to be happy? You’ll tell yourself you suddenly just don’t like the job. When really you are just self-sabotaging.
5. Are you quitting because you are bored?
The time does come when we have learned all there is to learn and done all there is to do. If you are to grow both in your career and as a person, you have to make the leap to a more challenging role.
But if you are never asking for further training or a promotion, but instead constantly changing jobs to different companies but always similar roles just because you are bored? It could signal that you are suffering from low self-esteem.
Rather than look at new challenges, you are treading water. The problem with this tactic is that it can lead to low-level depression, which can manifest as feeling…. bored.
6. Are you coming from emotions or logic?
It’s great to be in touch with your emotions. But the downside of being emotionally sensitive is that we can forget to balance out emotions with logic. This means you act impulsively only to later regret your decisions. This is particularly true for those who have borderline personality disorder, which can affect not just personal relationships, but also workplace ones.
A good rule of thumb is that no matter what has happened at work, never quit from a place of big emotion. Walk away, take a time out, or a day or two out, and wait until you are calm.
Realise your desire to quit your job is about something bigger?
Do you have a feeling your desire to quit your job is connected to a bigger issue? This might be:
If so, consider seeking support before you quit. Your company might provide career counselling, but for these sorts of deeper issues counselling or personal coaching is often advisable. This is especially the case if you think your need to always move jobs is linked to childhood patterns. Look at your workplace insurance scheme – you might find that your first several talk therapy sessions are covered.
Harley Therapy connects you with excellent career counselling talk therapists in three central London locations, and now UK-wide via Online therapy.
Andrea M. Darcy is a mental health and wellbeing expert and personal development teacher with training in person-centred counselling and coaching. She is also a popular psychology writer. Follow her on Instagram for useful life tips @am_darcy