Your mental health has taken a knock and your bank account isn’t any better because of your work environment. But maybe there are other things that can salvage the situation — here’s how you can weigh up your options to determine when, how and why you should quit your job.
Pop culture makes quitting your job sound easy. We’ve all seen the overworked, underappreciated and barely paid hero of a movie or Twitter thread bravely announce to the world that they’re done and have stormed out the door as the big score keeper in the sky gives them a gold star for self-care goals. Sadly, one of the ways in which real life sucks is that it very rarely goes that way. Quitting your job is very rarely an easy thing to do and when you add a global pandemic to the mix, quitting can feel especially harder. As someone who recently quit a perfectly stable job here is some advice on how, when and why to quit your job:
There are as many reasons to quit your job as there are Swati people named Dlamini. Your boss could be an incompetent dolt, your company may not give very much more than a rat’s sphincter about your health during this pandemic, or you may just need a new challenge. Whatever the reason, keeping your needs at the forefront of your decision-making is key. There is a good chance that if you are considering quitting, your workplace has been treating your mental health as a bit of a punching bag. It sounds a lot like an Instagram caption but if you are unhappy, especially deeply unhappy, you should probably seriously consider quitting if you haven’t already.
In a 2017 Vice article on quitting your job, Heidi Hanna, executive director of the American Institute of Stress, said: “Most people identify work as their number one source of stress.” In turn, stress has been known to have a whole bunch of negative physiological and psychological effects on the body such as depression, headaches, insomnia, shoddy bedroom workmanship, cardiovascular issues and so much more. Trying to get these fixed usually leads us to the doctor or psychologist, which in turn costs more of the money that you are probably not earning enough of.
Money is a good reason to stay or go but it should never be your be all and end all because you’ll just end up reinvesting all that hard-earned money dealing with the effects of the stress your decision has caused. Instead look to what the healthiest decision you can make is when all your needs are factored in.
So, you’re clear on what the best decision for your mental, physical and financial health is. You open your emails and prepare to write the kind of resignation letter Kelis on her song Caught Out There would be proud of. Before you do, take a quick pause. How much planning have you done? Do you know what your notice period is? What will happen with your RA or pension fund? Medical aid?
The questions become a little more complex when you factor in what your next step is. If you are lucky enough to be quitting to go to another job, then well done but with the way the job market is looking it may take years to find another job. So, if you don’t have another gig lined up then you better have saved before quitting. You will probably need about three months’ worth of expenses — or more if we’re honest — saved up if you are leaving without a job waiting in the wings.
Here’s the fun part. We’ve done all the planning, dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. Now all that is left is to cuss out everyone in the office as you walk in to the sound of Adele singing, “That’s it, I quit, I’m moving on”. Before you tell people off and ride off into the sunset, bear in mind that burning bridges to light the way sounds great as a tweet but doesn’t always work well as a mantra to conduct your life by. You never know when you may need that bridge again and even if you never do, try not to personalise it. Your boss’s job was always to take advantage of you and get away with squeezing the most out of you for the least amount of money.
Furthermore, oftentimes middle managers are people old enough to come from an era where good motivational techniques involved German Shepherds and heart attacks being the only good reason to miss work, they’re the people who still steadfastly hold on to the idea that being in an office equals productivity. In essence, they only did what they knew how to and were encouraged to do. Imagine getting mad at your cat for not being able to bark.
That said, feel free to throw in a couple of subtle comments into that resignation letter. Lord knows you’ve earned it.