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When It's Time To Leave Your Job

Professionally, I have stories to tell... Many of which would get me into a lot of trouble. But for the sake of my LinkedIn profile and professional reputation, I will try and remain polite.

I had been so unhappy about my professional circumstances, where I was and where I seemed not to be going. I cried almost daily before going to work and almost every day when I got home. I was, for lack of a better word, unhappy.

One day I made the decision to literally pick up my bags and leave. I became ‘one of those people’. You know, the one who doesn’t even hand in their resignation, but instead leaves a job right there and then and decides never to go back. I wouldn’t tell anyone else to do this, but I thought I would give a few good reasons to leave your own job, if ever you felt it was no longer the right fit. If possible, formally resign and so you don’t leave on bad terms.

1. You just don’t fit in

I remember telling my bosses and higher management this when I was transferred to a different department of the company. They took it as though I meant to say that I was not popular enough. In fact, this is not what I meant at all. What I meant was that I did not feel like I fit into the company culture in my new environment. It was difficult to immerse myself in this department and the ‘head down, eat at your desk and be anxious all day’ vibe just did not do it for me. Of course each workplace requires a bit of adjustment from us all, but if leaving the premises rather than entering it gives you more joy because of the general culture, then it’s time to job hunt.

2. No room for growth

After getting used to the daily operations of all my previous jobs, I would then do an analysis of where my growth could go. It became a serious problem if I realised that the only room I had to grow was horizontally instead of vertically. It is great to learn all you can and grow within your position, you should. But if you don’t want to stay where you are and only have a pay increase according to inflation and not because of a promotion or the fact that you are working so hard, then you either need to move departments or move altogether.

Remember, as much as the company is there to make its employees happy (some of them) you are meant to fulfil a certain job spec and that’s it. Your future aspirations may not be at the top of their list, unless it is to be the best at your job. The one they obviously hired you for. Which brings me to…

3. Sabotage

Sounds so dramatic, right? Well, this does happen. It’s happened to me. The people who go out of their way to take credit for your ideas and work done. The people who lie about you to make themselves look better or get themselves out of trouble. Alternatively, have nothing to do but bad mouth you because, there are people who seem to have that sort of time to do it. Either way, this can get so bad that it stunts your growth within a company because your superiors have painted an untrue picture of who you are (not are) according to what has been said.

I tried to fix this sort of situation, but unless you have understanding managers or bosses, you risk looking like you could be making up excuses.

4. Unreasonable expectations

My favourite topic. At every workplace, you have a job description that you need to stick to. You need to make sure you hit Key Performance Areas and try to go above and beyond. Then, you have companies that try to take advantage of that, most do. Sometimes it’s not malicious at all. Other times, some managers and even bosses hand out more work intended for themselves or someone else on you. There are so many reasons for this, and again I have experienced this. It is usually work that doesn’t even feature in your job description at all.

Before you consider leaving your job, the best thing to do is kindly decline. Try saying,

“Sorry [insert name here] but I can’t do this”

“I am so busy with what I have to do right now”

“I don’t have extra time for this”- be careful of this one. I had a boss who said that if you used this line, that meant you didn’t make tasks a priority.

So, I have had late nights trying to do work that I didn’t have to do. All because the word NO was not in my vocabulary at the time. It is okay to stand up for yourself. It should be. The problem is if declining said task is held against you, or you are threatened or forced to perform the duty. Then you feel no choice but to act on a situation you didn't want to.

By the way, I’m still learning to stand up for myself and it can be tough, especially when…

5. You work in a fear-based environment

That feeling you get when you must speak to one of your bosses and you get so anxious about doing it that you would rather drink from the bladder of a hippo than say anything? I know that feeling. I have had that feeling and I have spoken to colleagues that have had that feeling.

I had a boss that had some pretty off-putting habits that were so constant, I’m under the belief that even if she tried to change them, she would disappoint herself. She had the kind of face that couldn’t hide emotion. I am an expressive person myself, but her face let it be known that entering her office (despite her open-door policy) was such an irritation for her. Then there was her voice. She spoke with a sense of anger and aggression that just didn’t seem to make sense in context to the situation.

Lastly, her threats. She was, indeed, that kind of boss. She loved to always follow an instruction with “and if this doesn’t get done, there will be written warnings”- cue face and tone. She loved power. What she didn’t realise is that as quickly as people started fearing her, they also disrespected her. She didn’t care but this was a common feeling amongst everyone. Fear in the workplace can make people productive, but also causes them to hate even commuting to work every single day.

6. Your mental health is taking a dip

When I left this one job, I had already been to in-patient treatment, and part of this reason was from the job I had. A job should be challenging and equally rewarding. I saw no reward. And if you feel like your mental health is spiraling down because of your job, look at the reasons. Is it your boss, colleagues, what you do, how you do it or all of the above?

Your mental health comes first. As bad as I am at taking my advice, this is so true. It took me too long and honestly it was mostly because I didn’t want to go back to a psychiatric facility again but also because I didn’t find another job. I didn’t want to continue working in the hospitality industry anymore. Most of my jobs were mentally taxing and I didn’t see the rewards psychology or financially.

The point is your mental health is an important factor in the job that you do- no matter what it is you do. You need to be at your top, when things get low at work. If you can’t function at work, you can’t achieve what you need to.

There are more things, but these are things that have impacted me at work so much and made me feel terrible enough to look for work, except another job suddenly or leave a job even more suddenly. A job should make you feel like it is just a part of your day (even more in a positive way) rather than not wanting in as part of your day. It should not just feel like the source of income but a source of happiness because you are there all day. I don’t care that people say it is a mindset… Sometimes it is not always mind over matter, unless you have a mind like mine and you mind your way out!

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