Knowing When to Break Up With Your Job

Knowing When to Break Up With Your Job

How do I know when its the right time to ‘break up’ with my job?

Mimi Darmstadter, U-M preferred executive and career coach for alumni in the D.C  region, says there are many things to consider when you find yourself asking this question.  Here are a few of the most important issues to weigh:

  • Am I excited to go to work everyday?  If the answer is “no,” than it means that something is missing.  I encourage clients to think about the “missing” piece and whether it can be cultivated in their current work and/or extracurricular interests.  If the answer remains “no,” then it might be time to start looking for other opportunities.
  • Am I learning?  Advancement opportunities come and go in the workplace.  There may be limited opportunities now to advance but that can change.  So..another important consideration is whether their is learning/professional development outside of advancement.  Sometimes continued opportunities to develop new skills can sustain a manager at least for the short term until promotion is a possibility. 
  • Am I contributing? Again, sometimes while advancement opportunities are limited, the opportunity to make a difference “on the job” exists.  Some of my clients hold off on leaving a job because their work still strongly aligns with their professional purpose.  If one’s sense of impact is missing, it may be time to go. 
  • How does my outside “work” complement my job?  Sometimes my clients have outside interests that are sufficiently strong and time-consuming that they are comfortable, at least in the short-term, staying where they are.  Professional interest/hobbies outside work can be a source of energy and fulfillment. 

Another thing that is important to remember is that “thinking about leaving” does not mean that you’ve left your job.  Work transitions can take a long time and as soon as you start getting an “itch” to leave, start exploring your options.  “Looking” does not commit you to a departure but allows you to begin the “search.”  

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