I quit my unhappy job too late


I got an awesome email from a reader of the blog, who found the courage to quit a well-paying job and move on to something else. Here’s his story:

I was very unhappy in my last job, and though I knew your work, I still quit too late. I feel like I should have quit half a year ago.

So, why did I stay too long in the old job?

There were two reasons: One was money. Not the amount they pay, but rather the security that it gave me. I had no savings but was in debt. Which scared me about changing my job. If the new job wouldn’t have been good, I would have had a problem. This is now different, when I finally applied I had enough savings to live for some months without a job.

The second reason was the memory of the good times in this company. It really started out nice. Most people there are really likeable. The problems started when a coworker quit and I got his position. This position is really shitty, because of bad management and a lot of organizational problems. Of course, I knew part of this beforehand and I made it a condition that these things change. My boss agreed to this, because otherwise I would have refused to take the position. But in nearly a year, next to nothing changed. Of course, a lot of things changed. But not the really important stuff. For a long time I thought they will change, I worked for them to change. I just wished to be as happy as in the beginning.

Over time, I developed most of your warning signs. (Physical symptoms, procrastination, I stopped to care, …) The unhappiness made me even more unhappy.

When I’m happy, I’m motivated and do my work well. When I started to grow unhappy, I saw that my work isn’t as half as good as it could be. And I even need more time to do it, because I didn’t want to do it in the first place. Knowing I do not nearly as good as I could increased the unhappiness and decreased motivation further. So it grew worse over time, with no way out. I even tried to get rid of this work, to get new assignments. But nobody else at the company had the necessary knowledge, so my boss wouldn’t let me change it, despite knowing that I am not happy with it.

At my new workplace, the manager talks about motivation and job satisfaction/happiness. (The German word used is Zufriedenheit, which can be translated both ways).

There is also a culture of respect. The managemant demands that people work together for a common goal, which is also very nice. All the people I know so far are nice and welcoming. I only work for two days at my new job, but I’m already confident that this will be a nice place to work.

I wrote this down, in case you want to use it for any future article. If you use it, please substitute my name with a pseudonym.

Kudos on finding the courage to quit an unhappy job and move on to something better!

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8 thoughts on “I quit my unhappy job too late”

  1. Congratulations on changing jobs.
    But I would say it’s never too late.
    Rather: better late than never!

  2. Congrats on the change! When people hear others talk about poor working environments or being unhappy. The natural reaction is one of two things. 1. Everyone is unhappy. 2. Then just quit and stop complaining.

    It’s never as easy as that, but actually having the courage to take that step into the unknown is admirable. On the list of personal priorities; happiness is much higher than ‘high paying job’.

  3. I can very much identify with all you shared here about changing jobs. I think many of us fall into this same trap. Kind of strange how it’s like an unwanted relationship in the way that we stay, even though we know we shouldn’t? So, Kudos to YOU for a great post!

  4. Great insights into why people avoid switching jobs, even when they have been unhappy for a very long time. I can connect to your writing so well! I did that once and stayed in a job where I was underpaid, overworked and generally very unhappy. The reasons were slightly different as I was working for a very good friend, at least that

  5. This post is something I can truly relate. I quit my job in a corporate office to become my own boss through writing. I’m happy with what I’m doing and that’s one way to getting as productive as you can be. Thank you for sharing this post.

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