Money Talks, So Should You

Your five-point checklist for quitting a job

How do you know it's time to quit? Here are some reality checks.

Kathryn Tuggle
by Kathryn Tuggle, Contributor (@KathrynLizbeth)

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you're thinking of leaving your job, you're not alone. A bad boss or a troublesome client can make even the most patient employee want to pack up their desk and head home forever.

Half of all employees in the finance industry feel ambivalent about or are trying to leave their positions in the next year, according to business consultancy CEB, and a majority of employees — 70 percent — are disengaged from the workplace, according to a recent Gallup poll.

READ: 6 ways working from home makes you a happier person

Although some workplace issues improve after you've had time to step back and cool down, some can be negative enough to warrant handing in your resignation. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to know whether to stick it out and hope for change or start looking for something new. We checked in with experts who give us a breakdown on the top five signs it's time to quit your job and move on to greener pastures.

Your boss is emotionally abusive.

If everyone agrees your boss is unpleasant, you may just need to wait it out until he or she is forced to leave, says Mark Faust, CEO of Echelon Management International, a growth advisory firm. But if your boss is abusive, that's something that should never be tolerated.

"People who are naturally mean tend not to transform, whether it roots in the boss being bipolar or just a person of low character," Faust says. "If no opportunities exist to be moved away from the abusive boss, or if he or she is the owner of the company, bolt!"

Employees should be careful not to interpret a one-time fight with a boss as emotional abuse, says Stephen A. Lowisz, chief executive of recruitment and research firm Qualigence International.

"If you have a blowup with your boss for the first time, it's not really time to leave. But if this is a situation that is continuous, it may be time to run."

You haven't been given an opportunity to advance.

If your company consistently refuses to paint any career path for you and you're not happy, it's time to seek an environment that shows you what your career path should look like, Faust says.

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If a raise or an opportunity to advance was promised and not delivered, your supervisor should be ready and able to answer why. If those answers never come, you need to start looking.

"You're seeing a pattern that is likely to continue repeating. While resumés look best when there are two or more years between changes, it doesn't hurt to look for opportunities that might provide a strong lead forward," Faust says.

Relationships with your supervisors — or the company — have changed.

For years you may have had a fabulous working and personal relationship with your boss, but if you've begun to sense a shift in the organization's culture and the boss' leadership, it could be a red flag, says Jayne Mattson, senior vice president of Keystone Associates.

"You may be asked to take on more responsibility and do more with fewer resources," Mattson says. "If the relationship is deteriorating, you'll feel like you are losing your support system."

When you were hired, you may have known the organization and role was a good fit that met your work and life values, Mattson says. With the changes in the organization you may notice you are no longer feeling satisfied with your work.

"Ask yourself: If you were to interview at the company today, would you want to work there?" she says.

If the answer is no, it may be time to start looking for a new position.

READ: Don't let your first salary sell you short

You are no longer passionate about your assignments.

"Do you wake up in the morning energized and look forward to your day, or do you dread it?" Mattson asks. "If getting out of bed each morning is becoming a challenge, then you need to listen to your instincts. We spend a majority of our lives working, so don't ignore the signs that it's time to move on."

Keep in mind that work can become routine in any environment, says Jeremy Smith, senior associate with recruiting firm AEC Consulting Group in Atlanta. It's important not to confuse a personal rut with a deeper problem at work.

"What should be motivating is the company's vision and the work being developed for the future," Smith says. "If the company's core mission and strategic plans are not appealing or are in conflict with your personal values, leaving is probably the best option."

You haven't learned anything new in more than six months.

"Doing the same job day after day without learning new skills is a sign you are headed to burnout," Lowisz says. "If you have approached your boss and expressed your desire to take on greater challenges, learn new roles and contribute more to the organization only to be stonewalled with excuses like 'We don't cross-train here' or 'Thanks for the interest, we'll see' for more than six months, it might be time to look at options."

Lowisz stresses that the best option to explore is often a change in supervisor. If there are other managers at the company you admire, working with them may be better for your career than changing jobs. If that's not an option, it's OK to walk away.

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You have somewhere to go.

No matter how desperate you may be for a new opportunity, experts agree you should never leave a job unless you have another lined up.

"Don't quit your job without another in hand," says Frank Dadah, principal account manager and general manager of the accounting and finance contracts division at WinterWyman.

"It's very tempting to quit when you hate your job, but given the still uncertain job market, that way of thinking could lead to unemployment. If you decide to stay with your employer while looking for another opportunity, don't let your work product slip even a little. It's hard to motivate yourself day in and day out with the thought of a new job dancing in your head, but do whatever you have to do to make sure you are as productive as ever."

Even if you're certain you're ready to change jobs, make one final checklist of pros and cons before walking away from a steady paycheck, Lowisz says.

"Choosing to leave a position should never be made in haste or out of situational anger. I have seen many employees get ticked off and resign their position, only to end up in a worse employment situation. Some of these professionals have even returned to their previous employer after realizing the grass was in fact not greener on the other side."

 

Kathryn Elizabeth Tuggle is a seasoned New York-based personal finance editor and writer who adores saving, investing and thrift store shopping. After getting her start writing about small businesses for the Inc. 500 at Inc. Magazine, Kathryn learned her way around the NYSE and NASDAQ while working at the The Financial Times. In 2007, Kathryn joined the Fox Business Network before its inception and was instrumental in launching the company's small business and personal finance sites. Obsessed with all things spending, saving and social media, you can find Kathryn tweeting her latest adventures with Dimespring at @KathrynLizbeth.