“Every man must know when it’s time to move on.”

-Unknown

How do you know when it’s time to quit?

More than anything, when I talk to readers, clients and friends about their careers, the biggest challenge they face is figuring out when you know it’s time to leave.

For many, it’s so hard to know when to jump or if you should at all. So much so, they get paralyzed. 

Do you ever wonder if the work you’re doing, the career you have, the way you spend 75% of every day, is worth your time? Ever curious if there’s something else that would fire you up a bit more?

Well I think I have the answer.

Let’s start with a personal story.

Four years ago my wife quit her career in corporate PR to pursue her passion for yoga, fitness and nutrition. She went off and got certified to teach yoga, do personal training and started teaching folks about what to put into their bodies through her classes and blog (for the health nuts out there, you gotta check out here vegetarian/vegan cooking and recipe blog, Food-LifeBalance. I’m her dedicated taste tester and definitely not complaining ;)).

She also recently got a sweet gig helping a fellow Living Legend and fitness fanatic manage a chain of workout studios. Last night we went out to celebrate (Congrats Chelsea!). As we drove she remembered back to her couple years in the PR industry. She vividly recalled that she always knew she never wanted to have her boss’s life. It was nothing against her superiors (who were actually great people), but for whatever reason, she just never wanted to be in those shoes.

Fast forward a couple years, and one massive career shift later, she noticed that from day one teaching at her new fitness studio, she found herself admiring her boss and the role she had – inspired by the responsibility she was given, the way she got to help people and her genuine excitement for what she was doing.

Two years later my wife has just about that same role and it’s appearing to be everything she imagined. She admired the work her boss did & the life she lived, and it inspired her to operate on an entirely new level.

I can’t say the results surprise me (of course I’m a tad biased), but this did get me thinking…

It turns out I have a sure fire way to figure out whether you should stay or go.

Before you read any further, stop for a second. Look around you. Look at the people at your office or the ones on your calendar invites. Think about the person you report to. Do they inspire you? Do you want what they have?

Do you want to be your boss?

If the answer is no, it’s time to get out. Simple as that. If you’re at your desk right now and are peering into your boss’s office in disgust, seriously grab your fish bowl and coffee mug and get the F*/# out! I mean it. Start running and don’t look back.

Ok maybe you don’t have to immediately pull the fire alarm and run out the emergency exit, but at least notice the siren that should be ringing in your head right about now. Respect it.

It’s time to do something about it.

If the people you work for do not inspire you, excite you and make you want to do epic things, you are in the wrong place. If the people who are molding and teaching you, are not people you admire, you are wasting your time.

*note: If you’re an entrepreneur then sub out “boss” for “successful folks in your space” anywhere it comes up. This stuff applies to everyone. 

when to leave your job

The longer you stay, the longer you’ll stay and the steeper the spiral becomes.

I hear from people all the time say “things will get better”, or “I’m going to stick around for the next promotion and then maybe take off”.

I have news for you. If things aren’t better now, the odds are they aren’t going to be better in a month or two. There is no saving up happiness and enjoyment.

Happiness not spent today, does not equal more happiness tomorrow. 

If you think you’ll be less stressed, less conflicted and less disenchanted at a higher level, you’re in for a nasty surprise.

And I can assure you if you’re boss isn’t someone you want to become, things are definitely not going to get any better.

A few years ago Robert Cialdini, the bestselling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, taught me that we as humans are conditioned to stay consistent to prior decisions we’ve made. It’s why we promote the products we buy, even if it turns out we don’t totally love them. It’s also why we stay in jobs that straight up suck. This trait proves incredibly powerful when building something you believe in, but turns deadly when you start to do things that aren’t congruent with who we are.

Our reasons for staying in a soul crushing career often sound something like…

  • “Well I’ve already put in 5 years”
  • “If I left now, all the work I’ve put in for that promotion will be a waste”
  • “I can’t leave my coworkers hanging”
  • “I’m only 9 months away from being Partner”

Sure, those might even sound like decent excuses in your own head. But do you even freakin’ care about that promotion? Is that really what you want? Or is it just what everyone else thinks they want so by default you’ve started to want it too?

And do you think it will be any easier to leave once you become Partner? Let’s get serious. The day you reach that next rung, you are that much less likely to take the leap to do something meaningful that you know you should have done years prior.

There is never a good time to experience massive change. I don’t care what you’re doing.

But if the person giving you the orders at work or the person you’re modeling your business off of, is not someone you want to be, NOW is the only time to do something about it.

Stop climbing the ladder to nowhere.

If you’re in a situation with people you don’t admire, doing things that don’t matter, realize that every ounce of effort you put in from this day forward is a waste. A waste of energy and a waste of potential. Every project you complete and rung you climb is going towards nothing. It’s building something you don’t care about for people you don’t look up to.

Is that any way to spend your next 30+ years? If you do, you’ll likely get to the top and want to do a swan dive right into the concrete on the bottom floor, where you could have just walked away before you got so committed in the first place.

We spend so much time climbing the ladder that we forget to ask ourselves where the top is and why would I even want to be up there. Often times it’s difficult to understand what it would mean to actually be in this high up place you dream about.

The best proxy for this is to observe the person already there - Your boss or your boss’s boss.

Notice all the folks above you who are more “successful” than you. What do they do on their days off and in the evenings? Do they have hobbies and passions or are they too busy trying to get to the next level? How’s their family? Do they even have one? What about their friends? How do they treat the people around them? Are they healthy and fit, energetic and excited?

Most of us, in racing to the top of something, only count the things that are easy to measure. In a word, money. The vision of the money shines so damn bright that we don’t even notice the carnage that those we ‘admire’ created in order to experience it. It’s time to start taking note.

Surround yourself with the people living your dreams. 

Take another look around you. Who inspires you? Who’s job do you constantly wish you had? Who lives the type of life you’ve consistently dreamed of?

Notice the folks you admire. Understand why you admire them. Surround yourself with them. If you’re an employee, find a boss who doubles as a role model. There should be no other type. If you’re an entrepreneur find the mentors and models you truly respect.

It’s time to begin working towards something that’s meaningful.

As always, it starts with the people.

If you can’t get behind the people above you, it’s time to get out.

I’ll ask one more time, do you want to be your boss?

Time to get honest.

Is your answer No? Check this out…

If you know the answer to this question is “No” for you, then it’s time to start doing something about it. I’ve created the Live Off Your Passion Career Course to help  you with that very process. It’s at least worth a look and you can always try it risk-free. Here are all the course details.

It’s time to start working around people who inspire you!

Images courtesy of Angelo González & Scott Hudson


Leave a Reply

91 Responses to “Do You Want to Be Your Boss? (or How to Know When It’s Time to Quit…)”

  1. Executive X says:

    Awesome article, Scott. “Do you want to be your boss?” is a great question to ask yourself when considering leaving Corp. This is a great measure to see if it’s time to hit the road.

    I would add that another option instead of quitting is to stay and make a bigger impact in the Corporate game you are playing. After all, someone has to stay and make a difference.

    • Kurt says:

      I like that, when I don’t tend to like my boss, I still want their job and prove it can be done differently.

      Don’t run away from the stuff that’s wrong, take it head on and make a change. Or leave anyway.

      Whatever makes you happy, but glad to see the 2nd option being pointed out here as well.

      Thanks ExcutiveX

      • Scott says:

        Agreed Kurt. It’s a very important part of the equation!

        • I think, the question that Scott is talking about is “Whether you want to be in your boss’ shoes, not whether you want to be like your boss.” And I think that is the more important question. And so, even if your boss doesn’t inspire you, if being in his shoes is something you can look forward to as a positive challenge, that’s great.

    • Scott says:

      Really well put! Think of how much bigger time your effect on the world would be if instead of just leaving, you found a way to modify the environment for everyone else, in all of the employees’ favor. That would be epic!

      I too agree that the system needs people like you, creating the change, and not just folks hitting the road. The tough thing is that hitting the road is usually the fastest way to improve your own situation (when in a toxic environment). The incentives to stay often aren’t that great!

  2. Jeremy Day says:

    Hi Scott,

    Great article. If I may add, asking the best questions often gets you the best answers. And this is certainly a great question to ask yourself.

    It sure is making me think hard right now!

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  3. “Happiness not spent today, does not equal more happiness tomorrow.”

    This is such a great and wise observation. I know that I did that for a time in a job, I kept telling myself “it’s going to get better”. . and of course it didn’t! I’m not sure who said it first but this reminds me of “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be who you’ve always been” Looking around at the people we surround ourselves with is a great way to evaluate where we are headed. . .

    Great food for thought! Thanks! (And congrats to your wife!)

    • Scott says:

      Environment is huge. Simple as that. Glad you found your way out when you realized things we’re going to change…

      Thanks for sharing in our excitement too Amy. Chelsea deserves it!

  4. BethanyBob says:

    Just one person? Dang.

    The person who has been the most inspirational to me lately is Ash Ambirge (http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/). After losing everything, she launched an eBook from her car, and now she takes names and kicks ass while travelling to romantic locales.

    • Scott says:

      Wow Bethany! I just spent ten minutes on Ash’s site. I freakin love it! Thanks for turning me onto her. A Living Legend indeed!

  5. Jessica says:

    Hi Scott,

    Great article!

    My sister asked me that same question 3yrs ago and it helped me decide to quit my job.

    Unfortunately I fell off the wagon and while on a working holiday am back working in the same job. It was just too easy and the excuse that I get paid more doing this, therefore I will have more time to travel/figure out what I really want to do was easy to believe.

    I am finally coming back around (I have to say in part thanks to your website).

    Keep the inspirational words coming .. they are finally sinking in and I am determined to find my why and start living my legend.

    Thanks,
    Jessica

    • Scott says:

      That’s what I’m talking about Jessica!!! Love hearing that you’re seeing the light. Not always an easy thing to do but so worth it. Come back and tell me what you start building and we’ll have to write you up as a Living Legend!

  6. Mike says:

    Hey Scott, another thought inspiring post and the new brand works well – congrats.

    This post resonates with me. I’m totally behind your sentiment and I can’t agree more with it. Yet I’m still thinking ‘I really wish I could…’. It’s a mix of fear of maintining an income as the main bread winner, plus the practicality of switching to a different well paid job if you want to do something else entirely.

    My chosen route was to set-up an on-line business in parallel to working full time. That started a year ago and it’s taking longer than I had hoped. I find the venture and work both tend to suffer unless I only spend my time working. So I’d love to see a post (or some thoughts from readers) on a set of transitionary options to get where you need to be, when jumping ship isn’t practical.

    For those that are doing it – the very best of luck! Kudos for having the courage!

    Mike

    • Scott says:

      You got it Mike! Just put it down on my future post list. Expect it soon. I think you’re doing just the right thing with building what excites you on the side while you continue to make some dough. The only thing to be careful of is never actually taking the side business to the next level because you’re comfortable in your main gig. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. See how you can create the right incentive to really kick the side project up a notch.

      Thanks for the great post idea!

  7. Steve M says:

    I want to be like Esther Havens. She is a humanitarian photographer who travels the world using her skills and creativeness, and her heart, to tell stories for people who need their stories told.

  8. Zani Dyer says:

    Such an important message, Scott! I recently left my job of 18 years because I knew I could not possibly let it be the last job of my life. Mired in bureaucracy and fearful people. I jumped! I’m exploring now and rebuilding my life. An account of my progress is on: zanidyer.blogspot.com.
    Your e-mails are a great source of information and support. thank you!

    • Scott says:

      Congratulations on escaping Zain! What a huge victory. Hat’s off to noticing and then doing something about it!

      Great to see you documenting it too.

      Come back and check in with the progress!

  9. Jeez Scott, you nearly had me packing my shit and heading for the door…

    Not yet though. It will happen, and sooner rather than later. Bookmarking this for additional inspiration down the road.

    • Scott says:

      Well you just had my wife and me laughing out loud ;). The most important part is you have the intention to leave. If you’re anything like most folks, as soon as that starts to take over your mind, before long you won’t be able hold yourself back.

      Between now and then, I’m here to get you closer to the edge. We’ll be sure that when you jump, you’ll be ready!

  10. Mike says:

    Producer Mark Burnett inspires me..I read his book and I someday hope to produce a reality show. Not just any reality show but a very successful reality show. ;-)

    • Scott says:

      Mark does have a wild story–and great shows! Maybe start with something simple on your own youtube channel and build from there…

  11. Jan Luck says:

    Scott,

    This is great work!! I only wish I had had advice like this 40 years ago when I was working. I worked for 7 years before I had my children. Raising my 2 children was my passion but wonder what I could have done with those 7 years following college.

    Keep up the amazing work you do! You are very inspiring!

    • Scott says:

      Thank you Jan. Means a lot. I wish I would have had this advice out of college as well… Better now than later, eh?

      Good to have you along for the fun!

  12. Wow!! Amazing thought, put in a brilliant way…

    I believe one should always follow where his passion lies…and your post has given me that one push which was required to take that big step I’ve been working on since last few months…

    Your post has added a lot of clarity to my thought and assures me that I am on the right direction…Thanks.

    Looking forward to more such thought provoking reads…

  13. Paige Burkes says:

    I love this idea and it’s exactly why I left a big public accounting job many years ago. I was pushing to make partner faster than anyone ever had. Then I started spending more time with the other partners and realized it was definitely not a life I wanted so I jumped ship after 7 years there. I spent the next 2 years on a “sabbatical” to find what it was that I really wanted to do. It was a couple of the best years of my life.
    Due to finances, I ended up back in corporate America in a variety of jobs. I can’t stand my current boss. I took the initiative to try and change things for most my first year there and it was like beating my head against the wall. Now it’s a paycheck while I develop my own online biz (mostly on company time since I’m totally underpaid so I look at it like I’m taking back the time they’re not paying me for).
    I just got a part time job with an old friend (he started one of the companies I worked for). He’s amazing and totally inspiring. He totally supports my business and other dreams I have. This time it’s something I’m excited about even though it’s a job.
    So I’m learning to follow my own dream while working a job for a totally inspiring person and group of people. The best of both worlds!
    Scott, I absolutely love what you’re doing here. More people really need this message. You rock!

  14. Jen says:

    Angela Russel has been inspiring me for a year by giving up her life in America and fighting the economic and employment systems by going where she can find valuable work. Here’s her blog! Enjoy the inspiration!

  15. Hi Scott,
    I see more and more people quitting their jobs and starting their own businesses.

    I worked for corporate America for 15 years until my life shifted in a way that I had to become an entrepreneur.

    Working for myself is so much better than having a job.

  16. Hugh says:

    Scott, this whole posts resonates with me. My favorite part is not to ignore the siren in our heads, but to respect it. That word respect is so key; something I’ve never thought of before, a very strong word.

    On another note, my wife is also a burgeoning food blogger so I empathize with your taste-testing duties. It’s a good life!

  17. Linda says:

    You are assuming everyone wants to move “higher” in his/her organization. My spouse was on the right job track for him. He actually enjoyed his work. He did not want to move “up” into management. His company recognized his value to the point of creating a technical track so he could move up without moving onto the management track. There’s more than one way to get the job you want.

    • Linda says:

      I probably should have added that this was written in the past tense because he retired after nearly 40 years with that company.

  18. Nafis says:

    Hi,

    Dear Scott,

    Thanks a million times for what you are doing. In fact, there is no word to describe what you are doing. And, you do not know how much you have changed my life. Hence, I am a big fan of your blog even though I have recently joined it. Your blog inspires me every day and I am very thankful for that!

    I would like to ask a question, however, I am not so sure if I can convey it well. I hope I will.

    What I would like to say is that one specific job is neither bad nor good. What we want from it makes it bad or good because there are some other people who are doing the same job with passion and enthusiasm. Those passionate people are very few. For example, there are many politicians in the world, however, one has become like Gandhi changing India very deeply. So, I think maybe my boss is not a good criteria to see if I want to go on with my job. Maybe my boss is doing the job only because of the salary or some other reasons, which I do not know. If my boss had been Gandhi or mother Theresa, I might have found politics or nursing very interesting jobs. So, I think it really depends on who is your boss and how he does his job. Some people get you interested in something that you don’t like and some make you hate what you love doing. May I ask what you think dear Scott? I greatly appreciate your kindness in advance.

    Thanks for everything.

    Have a nice weekend,
    Nafis

  19. Ken Wert says:

    Hey Scott,

    I never thought of imagining having you boss’s life as the measuring stick for whether you ought to consider changing careers. Such a novel idea.

    While Nafis has a point, I think we all likely have a range of jobs or careers that would more comfortably suit us.

    Some people are naturally better at crunching numbers than others, for instance. Others are people who are naturally “people persons.” Work that reflects those internal inclinations are ones that can more naturally and spontaneously create more joy in our lives.

    Hence, the need to change careers for some.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking posts!

  20. Rebecca says:

    Love this post, and I want to emphasize a point you touched on: It may not be a black-and-white situation where either your boss is your role model or they are bitter/miserable/overworked. It may simply be that they are not who *you* want to become.

    My current boss is an amazing woman whom I admire very much. She’s a terrific leader, incredibly smart and kind, passionate, educated, etc. I know her outside of work enough to know that she has a very happy, full, and rich personal life as well.

    If I became like her, I would have many, many blessings in my life. A person could do a lot worse. But she’s not who I want to be. I often think about how– maybe not easy exactly, but how clear and straightforward it would be if I wanted to follow in her footsteps. My career path would be laid out in a precise, direct way and sometimes that feels very tempting, because the path I’m meant for always seems to involve a lot of hacking through underbrush and taking compass readings, you know?

    But if I followed in her footsteps, I would always feel that I had lived someone else’s legend, not my own.

    So yeah, it’s time to go, and it’s kind of sad because it means leaving a lot of good stuff behind. So I linger, trying to muster the faith to believe that it wouldn’t be a huge mistake to leap from a somewhat bland security into wildly exciting uncertainty.

  21. Ben Davidson says:

    I think about quitting my job pretty regularly. I love the work that I do and the people I work with, but it gets very stressful regularly working for a startup. However, for me, I am reminded whenever I think of jumping ship that I am not merely a rung on a ladder.

    My boss was approached by P&G recently to do marketing for them for roughly 4 times his current pay. The reason he turned it down? To work with me and my team. If my boss is willing to make that sacrifice, the stress seems a lot more manageable.

  22. Alice says:

    Great article, Scott:)
    My answer is no, I don’t want to be like my boss.
    Although I have to admit that I do admire her for the passion she puts in her job daily, she really loves what she’s doing and enjoys it.
    Who inspires me the most is Kim Kiyosaki.
    I just commited myself to quit my job in 6 months starting from now and move to another country to begin a new life.
    I really enjoy your articles.
    Keep up with the good work!

  23. Aaron says:

    The person whom I admire at where I work is Annie (I’m leaving out her last name for privacy purposes). The reason I strive to be like Annie is becuase she, like no one else, has a breadth and depth of health insurance knowledge that puts others to shame. And Annie is always kind and compassionate enough to share her wealth of knowledge with those who need it like me. Great post!

  24. Jules says:

    Thank you for all of the inspiring material. After spending too much time peering into my boss’s office in disgust, I finally took the plunge on Friday and put in my 30 day notice at my soul-crushing job! I can’t wait to start my journey of pursuing meaningful income.

  25. Lyi says:

    Thanks for the post. It’s true about ‘The longer you stay, the longer you’ll stay and the steeper the spiral becomes’. Guilt just adds on and can make one feels bad about leaving simply because of reasons like :
    - having invested the time
    - being hopeful for change/things to be better

    and it binds even tighter and harder to leave.
    Can relate to that, and the best way is to just be honest if its making me happy or not being there.

  26. Greg Miller says:

    This article was timely and packed full of info. I remember the day I realized that climbing the ladder was no longer for me. It’s kind of crazy that we so mindlessly think we have to move up and up and up when the reality is that you may just love or really like where you currently are.

    Why do we do this to ourselves? I was recently in a spot where I was totally dissatisfied with the company and responsibilities. SO I GOT OUT. Now I’m doing the same job with WAY LESS responsibility but I’m 10x happier then I was. I think the key statement to this entire article is this line:

    “We spend so much time climbing the ladder that we forget to ask ourselves where the top is and why would I even want to be up there. Often times it’s difficult to understand what it would mean to actually be in this high up place you dream about.”

    Thanks Scott. This is great stuff.

    - Greg

  27. Mike says:

    I’d like the post very provocative and a question I was not expecting. It can be helpful, but the single most important question? Don’t agree.

    I knew when I took my latest job that I didn’t want my then boss’s job but I did see the job as a fantastic opportunity to build some experience I didn’t have with a great company where I love the products and the long term growth potential. Luckily, I have had the personal strength for 10 years not to let money or promotions drive my career decisions. Some days I hate my job and get frustrated and I know it’s time to start looking for my next position but I also have great mentors within the company that I might not have that are helping me grow towards work that I will love even more and help me reach my life’s mission.

    I’d argue even if you want your boss’s job, it might not be the right job for you. Maybe you’re still driven by money and other people’s views of success and not your own happiness? What if you don’t want your boss’s job but you love your current job and just don’t want the added responsibility and stress of your boss’s job. I like the question as it does get one thinking but not necessarily an indicator of happiness.

  28. Kay says:

    Disenchanted… Exactly the word I used to describe my current situation. Well said. I have always used this litmus test to walk away from situations that didn’t fit my interests.

  29. brand says:

    Just proves the old adage. Its an ill wind that blows no good. – Theyve finally come up with the perfect office computer. If it makes a mistake, it blames another computer. Attributed to Milton Berle

  30. Angela says:

    I’m sorry to say, but I have to totally disagree with your logic.
    Whether I want to be my boss has nothing to do with whether I love what I do.
    I may not know my passion, but I do know one thing, I don’t wanna be my boss.
    This has nothing to do with my current job! My boss has a significantly different job than I have, so your logic absolutely doesn’t make sense to me.
    The thing about my job that I love is the making programs part (without coding mind you). My boss does not do that. So I don’t wanna be my boss. Doesn’t mean I have to leave the job I do have.

  31. William Healey says:

    Links only bring you to a Bluehost “file not found” page

  32. Great frigging advice!

    I have heard this before: Ask yourself, “Do I want to have my boss’s job?” If not, you’re not in the right field.

    And I can see that. The jobs I’ve liked the least were the jobs where I could’ve climbed the ladder and would’ve hated it. I’d prefer to be on the bottom, where at least I’m enjoying my position.

  33. lindsey says:

    Hi Scott, I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack when I read your stuff. Is this also a sign that I should leave my career? I definitely want to (obviously, or I wouldn’t be here reading this in the first place) but I don’t know how to take the first step. I guess it’s fear that I am experiencing. Have other people told you that they start crying and experiencing panic when thinking about a career change?

  34. Jim says:

    Probably your most awesome post to date and it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Thanks so much

  35. Julie says:

    “grab your fish bowl and coffee mug and get the F*/# out!” Love it!! My new favorite quote. LOL I know this is an old post but I just had to comment b/c I loved this one and I just got it in the email series. I work at a small co. and I wouldn’t ever end up in the owner or my direct report’s job – but I will say I don’t admire them at all or want to be like them. And I do have moments, more and more these days, where I just want to run screaming for the exits so this totally resonated w/ me! I literally, just today, texted my husband at like 10 AM and said “I’m afraid I’m going to snap and go running out the door one of these days. I can hardly stand it anymore!” It’s like, now that I have the idea in my head that I want out and to work on my own, I can stand being in the office less and less. And until April of this year it NEVER occurred to me to be an entrepreneur. I thought I’d ALWAYS work in an office for someone else. I’m sure my husband thinks I’ve lost my mind, but the old way of working just doesn’t seem viable anymore!

  36. Eric Young says:

    I understand that I’m not inspired by my job, and I need to get out. I also understand that I have a wife, a 6 year old, and an infant who all live 100% off the money I make. If I stop making my current level of income, my family will have some major problems. I bet a lot of other people are in this same position.

    So I think the questions isn’t “Should I quit?”, but rather “How can I make a replacement income on the side, so I can quit?”. I feel that every ounce of energy I waste thinking about how I hate my job could be better spent focusing on what I can do to fix the situation.

    I think what most of the readers of this blog really want is helpful information about how they can work towards a replacement income doing what they love.

    Has anyone reading this purchased Scott’s “Live Off Your Passion Career Course” and found that it was effective in helping them build a replacement income on the side?

  37. Martine says:

    Realizing I didn’t want my boss’s job (or her life), or that of anyone else in my field for that matter, was a huge sign for me that ultimately led me to walk away from a masters and a successful career without knowing what was next. Best decision I ever made.

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  62. Michael says:

    Scott, I had to laugh when I saw the excuse:
    “Well I’ve already put in 5 years”
    for not leaving a job. Suddenly, I had this image of someone in a federal penitentiary being shown the door and saying “I’ve invested five years in this place, should I really leave?”

    I guess that’s an extreme example, but if the job is unfulfilling, aren’t we saying the same thing, just to a lower degree?

    Thanks again for all you do.

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  64. Alexander says:

    I completely agree with all of this. I have absolutely no desire to become anybody senior to me in my line of work. I have absolutely no passion for anything at all in my employment anymore and am absolutely desperate to get out despite the fairly decent salary.

    Only thing is… I have a legal court order to repay an unfathomable mountain of debt at a rate that means I HAVE to keep earning this salary.
    I cannot express how dead my soul has become as a result of this.

  65. Neha Khetarpal Gupta says:

    Thanks for the lovely article Scott.
    Yes, you are right, I don’t think I want my boss’s life.. they sure seem to have a lot of money, but no family life, putting in extremely long hours in office and spending more time in being sycophants and showing off that they are doing a lot of work than doing actual good work to help shape people’s careers…

    In 9 years of my career, I have actually liked only three of my bosses, who have inspired me and have traits of person that I would like to become.. Coincidentally, all three of them resigned and quit those jobs mainly due to environmental reasons (office politics and not being able to run things by their ethical and meaningful ways and because they didn’t want to be like their bosses)..

    I am a CA and after working for almost a decade, I quit my job 5 months back.. I was in a very well paying job with an Investment Bank.. although my work , my team and working for my clients made me happy, but the environment was stifling, so I quit..
    it was really difficult to give up the great money.. and I still keep thinking if I made the right decision.. for so many years it seems that everyone around me had been mentioning me as a great achiever, by the kind of money that I was making at such a young age.. and people called me crazy for quitting my job.. the measurement of everything in life in money terms has so deeply been embedded in our lives, that most of us (including myself) are deeply confused as to what we actually want in life..

    Every year, before I had started working, I had a principle of learning a new thing.. and that made me very happy and feel good about myself…this principle had got lost somewhere citing the reason, “not enough time” and somehow, if I look back, I lost my cheerful personality and Individuality… I had been sad and had somehow started measuring my self-worth only in terms of money that I had been making and the blind race of designations and positions..

    In the five months, that I have quit, I have learnt yoga (shed a few kilos), am healthier, went back to skating after almost 15 years, learnt to drive and have been able to take care of my baby like I had always wanted.. and have also repaid my entire home loan.. all this makes me happy for sure…
    But somehow, there are days, when I keep thinking, if I made the right choice and keep thinking of the assets that I could have built, the position at which I would have been had I continued working… keep comparing all the new business ideas that I get and keep restricting myself as how much they would pay me vis-a vis my earlier job…and also that those are not even remotely related to CA work and I might be spoiling my qualification..this has been the biggest hurdle and has kept me away from doing things.. deep within I do not want to lose my new life, but am yet to be strong enough and decide what I want from my life.. thanks to my very supportive husband I have had the liberty to chose what I want to do.. I hope I take his advice and stop going back to job sites, as I think I do not have the personality to run things by some one else’s way and will be most happy to work without boundaries.. I hope reading your articles and listening to my husband’s advice, will make me clearer as to what I want from life… Thanks very much

  66. Phyllis says:

    Scott, your article inspires one to take note of what is and isn’t working at work. I’ve stayed in jobs too long – partly because I didn’t know how to measure in advance whether a new job would really be better. A “positive interview”, a walk-through of the office, a few handshakes, and a general assessment of the environment usually aren’t enough to reveal how actually working at a job will be. And there isn’t usually a “trial run” at the new job or a willingness to “take you back” at the old one. In companies where I have worked for over 10 years, I found that my bosses usually were promoted every couple years and if one boss was less than wonderful, the next one might be very good so my leaving one company for another could be short-sighted. I usually liked the work I was doing – just not necessarily the boss or a few of the co-workers. I never wanted to be a boss or to be on call 24/7.

    Since there are definitely times when changing jobs is the right move, I wonder if there are “guidelines” to avoid moving from one situation into another unsatisfactory one. Sometimes what most needs to change is one’s attitude.

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