You are not a quitter. In fact, you are known for your perseverance, professionalism and loyalty. You work harder than just about anyone else you know.
But you have to admit that you are feeling a bit lost lately, with each day dragging on longer than the one before it.
You are definitely at a decision point in your career. And maybe it feels more like a breaking point. You are not alone: almost everyone I know who has worked for 10 or more years has been in the same situation. And I know it hurts you and those you care about the most.
The thing is, you deserve to be happy at work. Really, you do. And sometimes it's wise to know when to walk away from a bad situation -- toward something better.
But before you make any rash decisions, consider what your ideal work environment might look like. And remember that it's easier to land a new job while you still have one. So, before you do something that you might regret, step back and take an objective look at your situation. And then decide if it truly is time to walk away.
To do this well, you must first have a strategy of what you want your future to hold. Only then can you accurately assess how your reality matches up to the vision that you have. Use the following framework to measure how your job rates across these four key areas:
Of course you want to make some forward progress in your career. But you must first have some destination in mind, or you will continue to drift along aimlessly from job to job. So, if you have not thought about your long-term goals, do that now. Consider: Where do you want to be in the next five to 10 years, and does your current job point you toward that goal?
You will be most deeply satisfied in a role that you can fully apply your existing skills and be stretched to learn new ones each day. If you are feeling less than confident in your job, you may not be in an environment that challenges you to work to your full potential. So ask yourself -- are you making the most of your skill set in your current role, and are you developing new skills?
Your compensation and benefits package is important, of course. But money is not everything; you can have an impressive six-figure salary and still feel unsatisfied. Your job must also provide intrinsic compensation -- the reward that comes from a day's hard work. If you feeling shorted in either area, that can explain your disillusionment. So, are you earning what you are worth, and do you feel fulfilled?
You hate to admit it, but your boss unfortunately has the power to make your life miserable. And a poor relationship with the boss is a key reason that many others start hunting for a new job. Ask yourself whether your boss is the real problem at your workplace, especially if he does not have your best interests in mind. Is your boss an ally or an adversary?
Before you make any big life decisions like a job change, it is critical to objectively assess your current situation. Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to see what is lacking and what is in alignment. Then you can make a rational, fully-informed decision.
If you decide that it's time to move on, continue to use this assessment throughout your job search. This way, you can ensure that any new opportunity that comes along aligns with what you really want to accomplish.
Related: Can You Afford to Quit Your Day Job?
Remember to keep moving toward that ideal -- toward the job that you deserve. And that can be where you are right now or if you need to walk away and find something new.