Unhappy at work? Think before you quit

Over recent weeks, I've had a number of clients ask me how they know when it's the right time to quit their job. And it's a very good question.

The truth is, the answer is different for each individual.

In an ideal world, everyone will love their job. They'll all feel a sense of connection to the work that they do. However, in reality, not everyone has the chance to experience this.

Job dissatisfaction can come in many forms. A person can feel like the work they are doing has little or no purpose, they might have a difficult relationship with their boss or colleagues, the lifestyle or cultural fit might not be aligned with their needs, or the commute could be exhausting.

Perhaps there is too much stress or pressure, or perhaps there isn't enough of a challenge. There are any number of reasons why a person might begin to feel disconnected and dissatisfied with their work.

The burning question on many people's lips is when is enough, enough?

In that ideal world I mentioned, any one of those issues might be enough to warrant a foray onto the job boards to test the waters and see what's out there.

However, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether the issue or issues you are dealing with at work are fixable.

Some people have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to isolated negative incidents at work.

I haven't been immune to this, myself! I very nearly jumped ship when I was a recruiter after a difficult week at work. I submitted an application and before I knew it, I was sitting down with a group of executives having the best interview of my life.

I went home that evening and thought really hard about what I wanted to do and realised that the reason why I was so mad about what had happened was because I genuinely cared about the company I worked for and the work that I did and I was never going to make a difference to my colleagues and our clients if I left them. So, I called the following day and withdrew my application with an apology.

The first step to making the decision about leaving a job has to come from an honest conversation with yourself about the real reason why you are unhappy.

Sometimes, talking to someone else who is uninvested in your decision can help you get some clarity with regards to the root of your dissatisfaction. There are a few things that you can consider when grappling with this decision.

For example, is your work-life causing you to bring negativity into your homelife? Are you bringing work stress home and taking it out on your loved ones?

How we feel about our work is always going to carry over into our other relationships. Ensuring that we are monitoring the impact of our job on those we care about as well as ourselves is really important.

If you are too comfortable in your role, you can also find yourself succumbing to complacency, or making mistakes you wouldn't otherwise make, which can impact your performance reviews.

This can ultimately be more damaging to your career and impact your next step, especially if you realise you've fallen into this trap too late.

If you dread going into work every morning, this is another flag. I've experienced this before as well - that awful feeling that begins in the pit of your stomach and makes keeping your breakfast down feel like an Olympic sport.

If you dread going into work every morning, this is another flag. I've experienced this before as well - that awful feeling that begins in the pit of your stomach and makes keeping your breakfast down feel like an Olympic sport.

Toxic work environments can cause this and it certainly was the main reason for my daily struggles. I had a lot of difficulty acknowledging that I couldn't fix the toxicity in that workplace and it took me almost a year to walk away.

Once you have identified what is lying at the heart of your discontent, consider what can be done about it - can you find a solution in your current workplace?

Will the issue follow you into a new workplace? Above all, try to avoid walking away without another role to go to.

As tempting as it is to make a dramatic exit worthy of Hollywood after a particularly bad day, your security and your career are more important. As annoying as that is.