If you’re unhappy at work, I’m sure that the thought “Man, I really should quit!” crosses your mind occasionally.
So why don’t you?
Even if you long desperately to quit, to get away from your horrible workplace, annoying co-workers or abusive managers, you may hesitate to actually do anything about it, because right on the heels of that impulse come a lot of other thoughts that hold you back from quitting.
Each of these excuses may sound to you like the voice of sanity, offering perfectly good reasons why it is in fact better to stay and endure that bad job just a little longer, but look a little closer, and they don’t really hold up. What they do instead is keep you trapped in a job that is slowly but surely wearing you down.
Here are 10 of the most common bad excuses for staying in a bad job.
#1 “Things might get better”
That jerk manager might be promoted out of there. That annoying co-worker could quit.That mound of overwork could suddenly disappear.
On the other hand, things might also get worse. Or they might not change at all. If you’ve already done your best to improve your job situations and nothing’s happened, just waiting around for things to improve by themselves make little sense.
#2 “My boss is such a jerk but if I quit now, he wins.”
Who cares. This is not about winning or losing, this is your life. Move on, already.
#3 “I’m not a quitter.”
Well guess what these somewhat successful people have in common: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Tiger Woods, Reese Witherspoon, John McEnroe and John Steinbeck?
The old saying that “Winners never quit and quitters never win” is just plain wrong and leaving a bad job is just common sense.
#4 “I’ll never get another job”
Well not if you stay in your current job while it slowly grinds you down, you won’t! Move on now while you still have some self-confidence, motivation and energy left.
#5 “If I quit I’ll lose my salary, status, company car, the recognition of my peers, etc.”
Yes, quitting a job carries a price and that makes it scary. We all know this intimately.
But few of us ask this question: What is the price of staying in a job that makes you unhappy?
That price can be very high. It can ruin your work life but also your marriage, your family life, your health, your self-esteem and your sanity. Not all at once, but a little bit every day.
#6 “Everywhere else is just as bad”
That’s just nonsense. There are plenty of great workplaces in every industry.
#7 “I’ve invested so much in this job already”
You may have sacrificed a lot of time, energy and dignity already in attempts to make things better. This will make it more difficult for you to call it quits.
I’m reminded of how Nigerian email scammers sucker in people. At first it’s a small investment, but then the amounts grow and grow. At each step the victim is reluctant to stop because that would mean losing all the money he’s spent so far.
Quit anyway. Staying on is just throwing good time after bad.
#8 “I’ll lose my health insurance.”
I have a lot of sympathy for this argument. Where I live (Denmark), everybody gets free health care regardless of their employment situation so I can’t imagine the leverage this must give employers.
One answer: Start looking for another job with similar health benefits.
Also: Ask yourself what good job related health insurance is if your job is actually making your sick – which bad jobs can absolutely do.
#9 “My job pays very well”
I have zero sympathy for this argument. I don’t care how well your job pays; if it makes you unhappy it’s not worth it.
Quite the contrary, if you make a lot of money now, use that financial security to quit and find a job that’ll make you happy.
#10 “Quitting will look bad on my CV”
Whereas staying for years in a job that grinds you down and goes nowhere will look excellent.
Many of us would be much happier at work if we quit bad jobs sooner. I’ve talked to many people who have finally managed to quit a bad job and only wished they’d done it sooner. I have yet to meet a single person who quit a crappy job only to wish they’d stayed on longer.
You may have perfectly good reasons to stay in your crappy job – all I’m saying is that it pays to examine those reasons very closely to make sure that they hold up.
‘Cause it may just be the fear talking.
What do you think? Have you ever been stuck in a lousy workplace? What kept you from leaving? What finally made you quit? Please write a comment, I’d love to hear your take.