Many people endure less-than-stellar jobs for fear that leaving would ruin their career. When should you stick it out, and when is it time to move on? Here are four popular misconceptions to avoid.

Many people endure less-than-stellar jobs for fear that leaving would ruin their career.

When should you stick it out, and when is it time to move on? Of course, there is no full-proof formula for knowing exactly when to leave, but here are four popular misconceptions that are worth avoiding:

1. You owe the company X # of years

Many recommend employees spend at least two years at a company, or, for those later in their careers, three to five years. For a first job I’ve often heard there’s a one year minimum, but, after my first job wasn’t quite what I expected, I knew it was time to move on after nine months. Does that make me irresponsible or self-aware?

According to career expert Emily Bennington, there are exceptions to the rules regarding how long to stay in a job. “I usually recommend at least a year, but sometimes you just know when an opportunity isn’t right,” she said in a recent Facebook post. Bennington suggests asking yourself three questions:

  • Is this position contributing to my long-term goals?
  • Am I growing professionally?
  • Am I free to do my best work?

“If the answers are no, no, no, then you need to search for something else,” she emphasizes.

2. The professional grass is always greener across town

When you’re miserable, it’s easy to assume you’d be happier and more productive somewhere — anywhere! — else. Every job has pros and cons, and it’s important to evaluate your career goals rather than accept the first offer you receive.

Know your strengths when searching for the right position, says blogger Penelope Trunk. Make a list of priorities and deal breakers. Reflect on why you dislike your current job and what you would enjoy doing instead.

However, be careful about being too picky, Trunk says in a post on BNET. Be willing to make some sacrifices and set realistic expectations. For instance, you might agree to a longer commute or a pay cut to do something genuinely engaging.

Despite doubling my commute when I accepted my first writing job, I so enjoyed my time in the office that it was well worth it. There is no perfect job, so be realistic in your evaluations. Stick to your absolute needs and be willing to compromise on the rest.

3. Don’t quit your job until you’ve got another in place

Though many people will discourage you from taking time off, because it will send the wrong message to future employers, don’t believe them. That’s what resumes, cover letters and interviews are for. Use those opportunities to shed light on why you made the decisions to extradite yourself from a harmful situation and how you had the courage to boldly move on even without a parachute.

But that doesn’t mean you should waste your time. Use your career break to freelance, volunteer or further your education, and highlight these successes to potential employers.

According to a post on Briefcase to Backpack, a break can actually help your career—especially if you use your time off to acquire new skills, recharge your batteries, gain perspective, volunteer or travel. Looking for some tips on how to land an awesome job after a career break? Check out a post by Alexis Grant.

4. Rules are there for a reason

Don’t follow the so-called rules just because you think you should. Follow your own drum’s beat.

Your passions are a great place to start. When you are enthusiastic about a position, you’re much more likely to stand out in the crowd during the interview process–a necessity during tough economic times.

Interviewing for my current position, I was just one year out of college with a background in public affairs. Others were more qualified, but I landed the job, because I highlighted my passion for writing and told my future boss I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.

Haven’t found your passion yet? Don’t worry. Just keep searching, says Zen Habits. Experiment, try new things and ask questions.

The most important takeaway is this: if you are unhappy at your current position, don’t necessarily listen to all the people telling you to wait it out. Make a commitment to take action. Whether that means searching for a job immediately, taking a break or simply staying positive, it is your decision to make. Own it.

Alyssa Martino is a writer and editor based just outside the nation’s capital. She loves digging for stories that connect people, place and possibility. Click your way over to her website to learn more.


  1. Ashley Hoffman

    I’ve never “hated” a job I’ve had, but I have jumped more frequently than the rules would probably want me to. First job 10 months, second job 1.5 years, third job 2.5 years, and now on my fourth! I say screw the rules too…be open to opportunities and new, exciting challenges as they arise – regardless of timing.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Ashley: I don’t typically say “screw the rules,” just for the sake of screwing the rules. But I do say so when they aren’t beneficial to you and your personal growth 🙂 Good for you!

  2. Wesley King

    For me it’s about always acquiring and developing skills. If your current work environment isn’t offering that type of “playground,” find somewhere that will!

  3. Revolutionary Rebecca

    Thanks Alyssa! I love this post.

    I agree that it’s okay to quite without a parachute. Heck, I’ve done it 3 times myself!

    And, yes, BREAKS CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR RESUME! Although, I still haven’t convinced my parents that. In my first break, I wrote a book (although, it didn’t get published) and in my second, I founded a tech company that failed. Even though BOTH of my breaks have not been traditional successes, they are great topics in interviews, as it shows a tremendous amount of self-motivation and I can talk about all the wonderful things I learned!

    Thanks for empowering others to keep searching for something that feels good.

    • Alyssa Martino

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for the comment. I love your stories about the book and tech company…definitely great interview topics! Great to hear you weigh in.

  4. ResuMAYDAY

    The headline should be retitled, “How Long Should You Really Stick with a Job You Hate…The Ultimate JobHoppers Manual”. Gimme a break! This article is nothing more than egocentric crap and completely pushes the responsibility of job happiness on the employer, rather than the employee. Two extremely important – no, CRUCIAL issues have been entirely overlooked.

    First of all, due diligence and research on the front-end of your search will help you avoid bad career moves. That has nothing to do with ‘passion’. I’m talking about conducting informational interviews and other research that will tell you whether or not a company’s employees are happy or not, and what type of progression can be expected. Sure, you might be passionate about a specific industry or type of work, but what if the owner is a jerk and everyone in the writing department spends their time off looking for a new job? Thanks to a bazillion social networking sites, this information is fairly easy to uncover. If you don’t take any steps to identify this information on the front-end of your search, you’re on your way to becoming a bona fide jobhopper.

    The second consideration that was completely overlooked by the author is that in this job market, it’s much easier to make internal changes to your job than quit and look for a new one. If you’re unhappy with elements of your position, see if any of those can be given to another person, in exchange for functions of their position that is better suited to you. What about cross-training for another department? What about picking up a few new responsibilities that are better suited to your strengths? So you enjoy writing. Does the company have a newsletter or a FB page? If not, why not volunteer to take on that task? Bringing in more things that you enjoy is a great way to overshadow the things you don’t so much enjoy. Over time, you may find that your boss allows you to evolve your position into something that is 100% better suited to you – in effect, finding a new job without having to quit your old one. There are dozens of other things an employee can do to improve their situation without having to quit and start from scratch.

    For those of you who don’t think it’s a problem to quit a job every year or two while you search for a better fit – just how long do you think you can do that and still expect employers to invest in you? When an interviewer asks, “why have you had so many jobs in such a short amount of time” how can you seriously look that person in the eye and convince them that while no other job fit the bill, this is the one you want for the long haul? Employers can see right through that. Seriously. Conduct better research on the front end, and then try to improve a bad situation with internal changes. There’s your article.

    • Anonymous

      Hi ResuMAYDAY: Thanks for weighing in here. I agree the two points you bring up are very important. Researching will be crucial to finding a job you will enjoy and feel fulfilled at. I think going in with a reasonable expectation of what you will be doing, who you will be working with, and how you will be contributing to the company overall is necessary to success. You’re right — it’s not just about evaluating your own career needs, it’s about learning about the company you’re applying/interviewing to, and even your boss/coworkers etc. Information interviews about hits the nail on the head. Though, I’m not sure you can fully learn the ropes in a short meeting… but still helpful.

      On your second point, exchanging functions, too, is a great option — if you’re in a larger company with that option. I do encourage those who are unhappy to explore this in its fullest. Especially by thinking out of the box and about outputs– as you say, newsletters, facebook, etc. Where could you be happier within the company? But sometimes you do have to acknowlegde that it’s the company, not the position you’re in. I think these occasions are probably more frequent…

      Finally, I don’t believe you should leave EVERY job after a year or shorter. The point of this post is that desperate times call for desperate measures. I do agree that if your resume is stack full of shorter job stays, it could harm you: I am by no means saying this is right for everyone. But if you’re in deep waters and feeling pretty miserable, if the answer to Emily Bennington’s 3 questions is “No,” then it may be time to take some sort of action….what that is is definitely a personal choice.

      Again, thanks for the input and getting in touch! Very insightful.

      • ResuMAYDAY

        I didn’t get the impression you were saying this about every job – most people have one or two jobs in their history that could be left off the resume. However, it should be recognized as a real problem if it happens 2, 3 or more times in a row. It’s not acceptable to employers and it is a HUGE indication that the jobseeker is making poor choices. As an employer, I look at those things. I worked with a client who bounced from multiple sales jobs over a fifteen year period. After doing some self analysis, he realized that he fell into sales when he was younger and stuck with it because people in his network liked him and always helped him find a job quickly. He was in his 40’s when he realized he hadn’t really accomplished anything. Had he put the work in on the front-end to analyze why he was so quick to quit, he would have taken his career in a different direction. He would have been happier, more confident and more productive in a right-fitted career and it would have left the door open with his previous employers for the RIGHT person to be chosen. I don’t think employees will have the luxury of ‘finding themselves’ by bouncing around anymore in this new employment market and new economy.

        • Anonymous

          I appreciate this perspective. And I do recognize the problem of doing this multiple times in a row. It’s great to hear your opinion as an emplolyer too — and especially the anecdote about your client in sales. Very telling…I definitely encourage people to research, as you mentioned, to find the right fit, and also talk with career counselors, take career aptitude tests, reflect and ponder what they should be doing, experiment and try new things, in order to find this early on in their career.

          Finding yourself by bouncing around may be a luxury, but I do still think it’s one Gen X and Yers will continue to pursue…

        • Arpit Gupta

          Dear ResuMAYDAY,

          Thanks for sharing this example of your client. I am in the same situation and this example has really given me strength to move ahead with my decisions.

          Although sometimes I think my decision is impulsive. It has been 8 months only.

          But then I was never a person who would socialize much. and i always had a keen eye on technicalities and detailing, i think some technical job will be good for me.

          Please share your view if you feel so. Thanks!

  5. Hipstercrite

    great post, but can you give me advice on how to find a NEW job when i quit my old job in this economy…?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Hipstercrite — there are a lot of great resources for job hunting using social networking (including Facebook, Twitter, and Network Roulette) right here at Brazen. I’d do a search on the Brazen Life blog for something like “job search,” and if that doesn’t help you, feel free to comment back with specific questions you have or posts you’d like to see about the job search!

  6. Dreamwurkstudios

    Top to bottom, all great comments, even those in dissension, (ResuMAYDAY, etc.). The article has some quality points, but like most things posted on the internet, critical thinking/evaluations are a must.

  7. Diana Antholis

    Job hopping sometimes has to do with the industry you are in. When I worked in advertising, you were expected to change companies often. It showed you had more diverse experience and it often came with a promotion and pay raise. I worked in 3 different agencies in 3.5 years. (Granted one was because I moved across the country, but I probably would have switched again anyway if I stayed in NYC.) Even in those agencies, after one or two years, you were rotated onto a new account to get different experience.
    As you said, it’s best to know what is the right decision for you and your career.
    BUT I can commiserate with people who absolutely had to quit with nothing lined up because sometimes work can be a detrimental environment to your health. If that is the case, sometimes it is better to leave.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, Diana. It is all relative. Some industries have different expectations than others. But in the end, it’s about you and your career growth. Glad you can also commiserate about quitting based on personal detriments. That is a really great question to consider: when does staying become not worth it if it is impacting your mental health?

  8. Richard S. Pearson

    The major point missed here is have you “given your all” to the job. It is easy to blame everyone else for your miserable job but what have you done to better communicate with co-workers and your boss to make it a better environment. Or ask for more responsibility or an internal company transfer. Or are you just running away and shirking responsibility for your own actions. By the way, the average job search time is currently 39 weeks (almost 10 months) — if you really hate your job and you’ve given it your best shot, start looking but do so with a paycheck in hand. Time off is wonderful – duh! – if you are one of the fortunate few to have saved for a rainy day and can get by while looking.

    There is no hard rule today about time you must spend in a job. Baby boomers average 3-5 jobs in their careers, Gen X 12-15, and so far Gen Y 25 (though oldest Gen yers just hitting 30 so data is not complete). Check out my book 5 Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track – featuring networking, mentors, and using social media to find jobs.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Richard: Thanks for these valuable statistics. The real question to me is, if you are in a job where you find you just physically and mentally CAN’T give it your all, why exactly is that and how can you change it? It may not require leaving… but I’m just thinking aloud here and playing devil’s advocate in response to your comment. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a job just isn’t for you. I will definitely check out your book for more insights! Thanks again.

  9. Sam

    Something else that really was not discussed directly was the loyalty factor. ResuMAYDAY did touch on this concept, but it appears to be out of sync. Some companies and industries favor perceived loyalty, say 3 to 5 years or more in a position. However, those same companies have no issues laying off recent hires and expensive long-term employees. Gen Xers and Ys got wise to this and many are backlashing on the idea of “You’re not loyal to me why should I be loyal to you?” They also hold little to no remorse for quickly jumping ship for any reason on the basis they expect more themselves. A more exciting work environment with challenging projects.

    Remember we created this new culture. It’s in response to corporate culure. Obviously that’s a broad brush stroke and will not apply across the board, but it is something I’ve been observing and reading more about.

    ResuMAYDAY I disagree with you on the idea that the employer does not have responsibility towards employee work happiness. It should be a balance between both the employer and employee. I do agree on the concept of due diligence.

    • ResuMAYDAY

      Hi Sam, I didn’t say the employer has NO responsibility; but I didn’t like the way this article was skewed. I’m an employer myself – 10 years and going strong. The first person I ever hired 8 years ago is still with me and I credit a few things for my employee’s loyalty and longevity: 1) I don’t micromanage. At all. I don’t jump in to a problem until I need to do so. My employees have earned autonomy and I’m a better manager to them when I’m in business development mode, where I truly shine. I’m not at my best when I’m peering over shoulders. 2) Our company is more transparent than most when it comes to what my employees know about contracts and $$. 3) I only hire people who are better than me in some way, and then I give them enough wingspan to use their skills in a way they enjoy 4) I’m a bitch of an interviewer. If you pass by me, you’ve earned bragging rights and room to stretch your legs. 5) I fire quickly. It’s easier and less expensive to replace a checked-out employee than to try and drag them back into the fold. I drop them like a handful of hot nickels.
      Again, the first person I ever hired is still here and most of my employees are long-term. Of the few that have left, the majority have left for wonderful, career advancement reasons and have received glowing recommendations letters. Every once in a while external influences get in the way leading to the hot nickel drop, but because I treat me employees well and fair, those instances are few and far between. You’re right that it has to be a balance but in truth, I was only a commenter, not the author. Had I been the author, this would have been an entirely different article.

      • Marty Lake

        And you ragged on the OP Alyssa for egocentric crap? “4) I’m a bitch of an interviewer. If you pass by me, you’ve earned bragging rights and room to stretch your legs.”

        Really? You’re that good?

        Then in 5) you get hardcore. Honey Badger don’t care. Honey Badger don’t give a schitt. It just takes what it wants. Nothing can stop a Honey Badger when its hungry.

        Your OP wasn’t bad if you could sift through the huffing and puffing. One mulligan or two in a career happens. Successive mulligans, I agree, is a flag.

        I work for a company that is part of an $8B sector for an even larger company. I’ve been here almost 10 years in 2 different roles. I’ve had 6 presidents. That’s right – new “leadership” at the helm every 20 months. Maybe some people are just trying to emulate what they see at the top. 🙂

        I think I know your type because I have a friend who liked to talk fast and tough. He too had his own business and hired and fired and all that good stuff. He offered me a job and I told him no because I thought he was a douche in that element of his life. Lo and behold, he had a major life altering event and nearly lost it all, including his life. Needless to say he is much less judgmental and gone is the bravado and arrogance. He still does well with his company, but looks at his life, his people and his style much differently. A much higher power almost dropped him like a hot nickel. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I really like this point, Sam! Loyalty is a very interesting concept w/in the job search. Some employers may require it and search for it in a future employee — but it’s true with Gen X and Yers disreagrding it, maybe a company, say, a startup?, wouldn’t care so much. Definitely something to ponder… and I think it goes both ways — employers do have a responsibility, and maybe even a loyalty, to the employee as well. That’s one of the best ways to make an employee feel needed and fulfilled and…keep them at your organization for longer than six months! Huh?

    • Marty Lake

      Sam, I completely agree with the “we created it” sentiment. We watched people who were mowed down in the name of profits. I personally knew one guy who had worked for my former company for 19 years and hadn’t missed a day of work. He walks in on a Thursday morning, cannot login to his computer, is met by HR and walked out like a damm criminal. Just last year, an extremely nice, well respected 40-year employee had the same thing happen at my current job, after he volunteered to take early retirement to save someone else’s job.

      Personally, I’ve been with my company for almost 10 years. When I started, I was in the 75th percentile for salary. Now, I’m in the 15th. I was identified as a high potential. I solved major problems. I’ve had an excellent record. But the system here forces you to jump positions if you want to get promoted. My boss has even told me it would be easier for me to quit and for him to post the job at the next level, have me reapply and be rehired than it would for him to simply get me to the next level. I’m not looking for a ginormous increase, a car, personal helicopter and catered meals. I just want to be treated fairly and with respect and I’ll keep churning out great work.

  10. Jess Kalinowsky

    Personally, once I make a decision I do not like being in a particular job, I start looking, as it is always easier to find a job if you are employed for some reason! BUT if it is a case of “HATE” which is a very strong word, especially about a job, get out as soon as possible. Years ago people stayed at jobs they did not like for the proverbial “gold watch”. That has not been the case for at least 30 years! If one does not like their job, find a new one. Just like if you are not happy in a relationship, find a new one! Life is too short to be miserable for some reason that makes no sense in the great scheme of life. I was a paleontologist, because that is what my Dad wanted me to be. Just simply was not interesting TO ME. So I lasted a very short time, just about 18 months! I went to work for an airline in Sales and Marketing and have not looked back! I’ve been to 133 countries around the world. Do what YOU want to do, not what someone else expects you to do with your career. I hear all the time, like Wall St. execs get tired of the rat race and move to “Timbuktu” and become an artist, or own a B&B, or something that makes them a great deal less money, but they are HAPPY!!!!

  11. Chitech226

    And how long should stay in a city where no one will hire you?

  12. Anonymous

    Yes, Jess. I’m of the same mindset. You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness just for your career….!

  13. Greg Miliates

    A horrible job/boss is GOOD for you. Because you can use those negative emotions to propel you toward something better. Keep thinking about your crazy boss and lousy job each day, and you can motivate yourself to take actions every day that move you to a better situation.

    I know, I’ve done it.

    I made the transition from frustrated employee–with a micromanaging boss–to satisfied business owner. I started a consulting business part-time, and built it into a full-time endeavor which is the sole income for my family of 4. I make several times what I used to make at my day job, and have much more flexibility. I’ve posted about this topic on my blog (, and also discuss practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business on the cheap, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum.

    Whether you decide to start your own consulting business as I and lots of others have done, you can use a bad job to propel you toward a better place.

    • Anonymous

      Great point, Greg. Use the negative to propel your search…. or going out on your own and starting a company–something you may have wanted to do for a while! A motivator…also maybe a bright side of a crappy job. Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. Shreya

    I think there are 4 pillars to evaluating any job & you have to assess how each opportunity measures up.

    1. skill building
    2. exit opportunities
    3. lifestyle considerations
    4. money

    At this point in my life, I’m lucky enough to be able to weigh the first 2 criteria most heavily.

    • Anonymous

      Good points, Shreya. In order to take a career break, you definitely need to plan ahead in terms of the last two. Doesn’t mean it’s not still worth it for some… but it’s not always possible to just hop on a plan and travel for the year.

  15. Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

    If you don’t like your job, go ahead and quit…but be sure to recommend me for the job first.

    I never bought this argument. I’ve been in the workplace for 13 years now, and if that time has taught me anything, it’s this. A job you hate is still better than not having a job.

    While I have liked most of my job experiences, in that time I have had bosses from hell and jobs that just bored me out of my mind. Even one assignment through a temp agency that had me doing the one thing I despise doing over all else…talking on the telephone to complete strangers.

    But, aside from the time that I moved across country, I have never quit a job. Why? Because even the worst job still pays the bills and gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.

    • Anonymous

      Some people get physically sick from job stress. I had a personal training client whose heart rate actually changed due to job stress. He was in his early thirties. He finally quit the job and his heart was back to normal within a couple of weeks. In a scenario like that, it is NOT better to stick it out.

      • Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

        How is his heart going to be when he’s still out of work a year later, burned through his savings and looking at the end of his unemployment benefits?

        • Socallmefrank

          Wow, you sound bitter Edward. If you know your worth to a potential employer and you’re being treated like crap by your current one (most people reading this forum probably know this all too well), or feel like you’re dying on the vine in a job that isn’t advancing you professionally, why stay if there are better opportunities available? The 21st century business model for many corporations is to treat their workers as disposable commodities anyway; when company loyalty to you is only a dollar thin I wouldn’t feel guilty about keeping my options open.

    • ResuMAYDAY

      Edward, I love the simplicity of your statements. Yes, there will be those that argue that one must be inspired to grow and go on some mystical career journey of self-awareness and discovery. Those people are most likely living in mom and dad’s basement. You, on the other hand, like things. Things such as eating and having heat in the winter. What I also like about you is that up by your name and picture, I clearly get the sense that you have plenty of interests in your life outside of your job that gives you a certain level of satisfaction. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try to obtain satisfaction and opportunity in your career, but at least you are mature enough to realize that your credit card company doesn’t give a damn whether or not you are spiritually fulfilled between the hours of 8-5.

  16. Lesley Mitler

    I think it is important to understand why so many people are quickly dissatisfied with the jobs they are in. Maybe, they were so anxious to get hired that they forgot to ask some key questions that might have revealed that this was the wrong fit. I encourage my clients to ask more probing questions once they have an offer in hand. Ask about “A Day in the Life” – what is a typical day/week like. Ask to speak with other employees who are at or around your level of experience and see how they describe their jobs. Do they seem happy or are they just showing up? In other words, make sure you understand the job you are accepting and exactly what you will be doing if you join the company.

  17. Jug

    I’m sorry, telling people to change jobs without having found another one is just irresponsible this day and age. It’s always easier to find a job when you have one. You can stick it out for a few weeks.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the comment, Jug, but I still disagree. Sticking it out for a few weeks is relative to who you’re talking to… and might be easier said than done for certain individuals. As Bsaunders said above, some people get physically sick from a toxic job. That’s, to me, when staying just isn’t worth it…I don’t think leaving is irresponsible and I don’t think telling people to do so is either–especially in “this day and age,” when young professionals are moving careers very quickly and having the ambition and audacity to take matters into their own hands when need be.

      The bottom line is, it depends on the situation. I’m not saying a career break is for everyone, just something to consider. Everyone must find their own path.

  18. Leona Chan

    I have an aunt who worked 40 years at the same company. At the tail of her career, she took on a new job. The projects, people and hours stressed her out and took a major toll on her health — she suffered from high cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. She retired a year ago and her health is slowly improving, but to this day, her health is still not the same.

    If your job has such a major affect on your physical and mental health, leave — it’s only going to get worse. And preferably with 3-6 months of savings if you don’t have a back-up plan.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Leona, for sharing your Aunt’s story. The preferably with 3-6 months of savings comment really struck me. I’ve seen lots of posts about how to save for a career break or year off, but what about planning for the unexpected? When the situation or your health forces you to take time off…would be great to explore the options for that type of unforeseen reality as well.

      • Leona Chan

        In the past few years, I think our nation has realized that anything can happen with our jobs — and it’s important to develop “side hustles,” update your resume and maintain a strong network, even if you currently have a job.

        If you must leave, see if you can cash our your vacation days as a financial cushion. If you don’t have any savings, make money off your side hustles. Think about skills that you might have which others will find valuable: lifeguarding, teaching classes, bartending, pet/baby sitting, web design, consulting, etc. And start networking!

        • Anonymous

          GREAT point about “side hustles.” Love that terminology too!

  19. QuitAlready

    There is absolutely no reason to stay with a job you hate. I’ve read through most of the comments with a scowl on my face because it seems as though most dissenters haven’t actually been in this situation and are throwing their two cents in anyway. The post says nothing about job-hopping…it discusses myths and perceived “rules” when it comes to leaving a position. I hated my job, so I quit. Without another position lined up. In 2010! My age, how long I’d been at the company, how many jobs I had before then, how much I had in savings, the difficulty of the job search afterwards – none of these were as important as my sanity. I would go back and make the same decision EVERY TIME. I don’t care what you have or haven’t done internally at the company to help the situation; if you dread your alarm clock going off in the morning, this is a serious red flag, and you should heed it.

    • Richard S. Pearson

      I agree with you that “hating” your job is extremely unhealthy physically and mentally – several recent studies have even proven that job stress can be worse than smoking from a health standpoint. I’ve despised a (spineless) boss I’ve worked for before, but I was progressing/learning a great deal in the company so networked within the organization and found an opening in another department and got out from underneath the dirtbag boss. All I was suggesting is that first look in the mirror and make sure you are part of the solution not the problem. But if it’s even close to a hostile work environment get the hell out fast for the sake of your sanity. But it’s also wise to always have a “stash” of savings for a rainy day, if you leave a job or they lay you off, so you don’t have to live in your parents basement or worse. Average job search time (published by the Dept. of Labor) in now 39 weeks – that’s almost 10 months and the worst since they have been keeping track since 1948… just something to think about before you leap. Another point, which is in my book 5 Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track, is to be proactive. At the first signs of (hating) your job – bad boss, hostile unhealthy environment – start making plans to get out immediately, Get your resume on the street and start networking and let the “lousy” company help fund your search to replace their sorry job!!!!

    • Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

      Want to hear about job status affecting your health? Last year after I had been laid off, I could only sleep about 6 hours a night (my natural rhythm is closer to 9) despite waking more than 2 hours later than I regularly do. I experienced bouts of depression, frequent headaches, and gained 15 pounds in 8 months. I dreaded getting up in the morning (no alarm-no point) because I had no good reason to get up in the morning. I withdrew from friends, argued with my wife, and went a week or more at a time without shaving.

      • colemanimal

        I find your comment very interesting. I was laid off in October 2009 for a year. During that time i slept better than ever before, had less body aches and pains, lost 40 lbs, earned a pilots license, picked up a recreational sport, did a little freelance work, enjoyed my kids more and developed a healthy relationship with a new girlfriend. Similar situation, but polar opposite results! when i have to get up at the same time, go to the same place, see the same people and solve the same problems i get into the kind of funk you describe with being laid off. I found that when I was laid off my time was what i made it and when i work steady i sell my time to the highest bidder. I guess it takes all kinds.

      • NeverLand

        Sounds like my life with my job. When I was laid off from my last position I was able to do things I loved, like volunteering and really getting know myself. I’ve been at this job 7 months and I’ve gained 10 lbs, I dread getting up every day, my headaches and other ailments have increased 20 fold (so much so that I’m on a tremendous amount of medication and spend all of my free time in hospitals or doctors’ offices. I haven’t seen my best friend for 2 months, and I barely have time to make myself presentable before I leave the house. I’m starting to fear that I might become addicted to the pills that get me through the day. I’ve never had so much stress in my life, but when will another opportunity to work come along? You never know. So we continue on. Take the time off to find something you love. You can’t know when you’ll find the time again.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, QuitAlready. I agree that you should never feel “stuck” at a job you’re miserable with. That was my main point, so I’m glad that came through for you…

    • Mary


  20. Alicia Blain

    Hi Alyssa. It seems like your article has generated a lot of good discussion which is usually the sign of good article so thanks for sparking such a lively discussion.

    The problem right now in most companies is that many bosses are still trying to pull Gen Yers into their outdated 20th Century leadership style instead of pushing themselves to understand the new realities. Believe me, I was one of those leaders and although it was difficult for me to let go of my comfort zone, I managed to do so and had great success in retaining Gen Yers and keeping them engaged. But it isn’t easy to let go of the status quo, so to speak.

    The other problem is that Gen Yers need to understand that most corporations have not caught up to their way of living and working. Most leaders don’t have that 21st Century microchip. They are still just observing and reacting to the changes around them. This means that Gen Yers are walking into a workplace that is very different from what they expect it to be.

    Over this past year, I interviewed Gen Yers who had been working from 1 to 5 years and they shared with me the 5 top things that shocked them the most about the workplace & made them disenchanted. I felt compelled to share their story and wrote an ebook: New @ Work: An Insider’s Survival Guide for a Crazy Workplace. Now I work with college grads to help them develop probing questions they can ask during interviews to determine if the company is a good fit for them. Being unhappy and shocked on the job is often avoidable if you have the inside scoop. If you can’t avoid it, at least Gen Yers can walk into it with their eyes wide open so they don’t derail their career .Instead they can focus on becoming high potentials in the company – a coveted position in most organizations.

    • Marty Lake

      This was really well said Alicia. Like any relationship, it takes two to tango. Employees and employers both have a responsibility.

      Most people do not leave crappy jobs. They leave crappy managers – many of which were reared and chosen in the outdated 20th Century model.

      • Tom Southern

        Marty! You’ve hit the nail on the head. Crappy managers are costing companies Millions in employee turn-over.

        Bring management into the C21st. Like everything else, it’s about relationships and marketing.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Alicia. Your ebook sounds fantastic – will check it out!

  21. Nick @ IT Jobs

    Very true. I think that if you are having the feeling of dread every morning that you have to go into work then it is time to leave. But you should only stay as long as it takes to get another job

  22. Anonymous

    I believe your blog is excellent.. i really like the way you organized your work..
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  23. hydraulic winch

    Most people don’t have too much saving, while have a lot of bills need to pay, don’t know how can they quit the job?

    • Anonymous

      Hi hydraulic winch,
      I’m definitely not advocating for someone w/o the resources to do so to leave their job on a whim. But if you have the capabilities to plan ahead and save a bit, it could be a possibility? Plus, it’s also possible to “work your way around the world.” I think the main idea here was if you’re feeling stuck, think outside of the box! But of course, do not put your home and livelihood at jeopardy if you need that steady income to stay afloat. Then, I’d suggest exploring other options/jobs, if you’re miserable.

      Hope this was helpful!

  24. Clifford Jude

    I got to know about the best site for online jobs but then again it was just a scam.Better go for a real job because it is safer and does not waste your energy and time!

  25. Thien Nga

    Pleaseee HElP!!!
    HELPPP!! i am in a terrible situation. I am a Production supervisor for a repair station for airliner. I own 50% of the process in the repair line.. last week, my boss got laid off and the new boss restructured the whole process… He puts me in charge of the 100% process now, but i am not loving it, i dont know all the answers… i can not be at 5, 6,7 places at once… i cant eat, sleep, cant enjoy my life.. i used to be the most productive, lovedddd my previous position… but now.. i cant get out of it… what should i do… i feel like i am having a heart attack thinking about going to work… Helllp pleaseeeee

    • Anonymous

      Hi Thien,

      Without knowing the details of the circumstances, I am hesitant to provide any advice in this situation, but could you maybe talk to your new boss about the changes and tactfully voice your concern? Good luck to you!

  26. Guest

    Should I quit even if its my first Job?

  27. Charlie Holton

    i have recently tried a new job as a trainee chef which i thought was good but after 6 weeks all i have done mostly is pot wash with maybe a little bit of prep work
    i used to not mind it so much at the start being on pot wash but the constant long hours and always being on pot wash im sick of it and would love to move on as soon as i have found an alternative

  28. Ace

    Right, I don’t really know where to start with this. I am an ambitious person with an entrepreneurial spirit and have always been driven to make a lot of money – but, recently I have realised that it was not really money that I was after, but the lifestyle I could live if I had that much money. Please don’t get me wrong – I am not money crazy, but I do realise that money is definitely a means to a better life.

    I am at an Analyst role currently in a dealing room, but there isn’t enough work that challenges me mentally. I have asked for more responsibilities, but to no avail. In addition, the role is really dry and is basically reporting.
    However, I feel that if I “stick” around in the dealing room, it might lead to more opportunities in the future which could then enable me to work at a hedge fund or even start my own fund.
    But, as I said, the role is very dry and the team is very hierarchical. They do things a certain way and I don’t feel the culture is a right fit.

    Now, there is another opportunity within a similar area, but “outside” the dealing room – it deals with the management of the operations that happen behind the dealing room. This role covers a lot of aspects that I excel in – marketing, relationship management etc and pays a lot higher as well. However, I feel if I do move “out” of the dealing room, I might be giving up a chance to eventually start my hedge fund.

    But, I am really excited about the new role though. I am not really sure that moving “out” of the dealing room would mean that I can’t start a hedge fund at all. Also, I am not sure if a hedge fund is what I would really want – with the regulations/compliance and lack of work/life balance. Instead, following my entrepreneurial dream would be another option.

    Basically, I am confused and not sure how I should be approaching this. Would be keen to get some other perspective on this.

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