Feeling like you want to quit your job every day is not as rare as you may think. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. The Great Resignation has brought to light the problems of today’s workplaces and the mental health challenges faced by employees.
This article will go over the reasons you feel like quitting your job every day, what to do about it, as well as strategies to deal with stress and burnout in the workplace.
Check out this quiz, which can help you identify the type of burnout you are struggling with.
Why do I always want to quit my job?
Employees tend to want to quit usually because of some combination of being stuck or disempowered. They may also not know what they want to do or want to change careers.
Being overworked and burnt-out.
Modern workplaces are designed to get the most out of their employees. If the employee lacks prioritization or boundary-setting skills, that means that they can get overwhelmed easily. According to a survey conducted by Gallup, 76% of employees experience burnout on the job at least sometimes.
Sometimes the workplace has one or more tangible problems. Sometimes, employees have either mental wellness challenges or skill gaps that are likely to make a job unsatisfactory.
Difficulty asking to do less.
If you regularly go the extra mile but are not acknowledged, then it's possible that you are being taken advantage of at work. However, there could be other factors at play.
Do other employees go the extra mile? What happens when they do? Does management acknowledge their efforts?
Not being excited about your job.
If you feel unexcited about your job, then it may be time to consider whether it is an issue with your work environment or whether your skills and interests are not aligned with the job. Oftentimes, if a person really wants to quit, then there are multiple factors at play.
Difficulty with not being recognized.
If you regularly go the extra mile but are not acknowledged, then that may make you feel like you want to quit.
Consider the following: Do other employees go the extra mile? What happens when they do? Does management acknowledge their efforts?
Difficulty in the manager relationship.
The question of quitting is often driven by frustration with the leadership at a company. Nearly 75% of people quit their jobs because of their bosses.
Difficulty in relationships with coworkers
A study by Qiu and Pescheck found that employees who engage in interpersonal counterproductive workplace behaviors impede the group’s progress towards its shared goals, decreasing overall productivity. Passive aggressive and toxic coworkers can definitely contribute to a work environment that makes you want to quit.
What to do if you feel like quitting your job?
Assess the Situation
The first thing to do is to try to figure out why you feel like quitting. The following questions may help:
- How is your relationship with your manager?
- How is your rapport with your colleagues?
- How interested are you in your work?
- Do your values align with the mission of the company?
- Do you feel valued at work?
- How engaged are you?
- Are you overworked or underworked?
- Are you being compensated appropriately for your skills and industry?
Job success requires the ability to successfully engage with coworkers, customers, and management to complete tasks and provide value. In this sense, it is very similar to going to classes. If you are struggling with the task of actually doing the basics of the job, then that is the first priority. As long as that issue persists, you are unlikely to do differently at another job.
Evaluate External Workplace Issues
There are some issues where quitting may be immediately warranted if the situation cannot be addressed extremely quickly. Examples include sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, racist abuse, etc. In these cases there are no “skills” to be built to address them; rather, they need to stop or the focus should change as to how you can safely transition to a better environment.
Work on Performance Issues
Common performance issues include:
- Poor relationship with direct supervisor (the most common issue)
- Poor relationships with coworkers
- Disliking the work itself (boredom, lack of challenge, etc).
- Lack of career progress (respect, promotion, pay, responsibility, etc).
Oftentimes, when people consider quitting a job, they are not asking how to address a problem but rather asking if the right solution is to leave the problematic situation.
Fix Style Mismatches
Let’s walk through the most common issue, problems with a direct supervisor. This is where communication and collaboration skills come in. When an employee struggles with a direct supervisor and other job skill gaps are not the cause, then usually the two are misunderstanding each other or there is a personality or style mismatch between the boss and employee.
With misunderstanding, the only resolution is improved communication skills. It is normally important for the employee to approach the supervisor at a non-crisis time when communication is more likely to succeed. The employee can then express a desire to be successful, to do the job, to help the manager and company succeed, and ask either to understand what is bothering the manager or express what would help the employee succeed.
It may be that the employee and the manager simply have different styles. Understanding your style and then potentially recognizing or asking about your manager’s preferred style can alleviate problems. For example, some managers like to be kept informed. Some employees experience this as their manager being interested and engaged. Others experience it as micromanagement and a lack of trust.
If you try to engage a manager in positive communication and/or invest competent effort in collaboration with the manager to achieve group goals, but continue to have intolerable friction with the manager, at this point it may be time to quit. While this will involve quitting, it is not reactionary. It is a decision to seek a better workplace and manager as much as a decision to leave the current one.
Can I quit my job due to stress?
Generally, if you want to quit your job because of stress, then it may be worth determining whether the cause of stress is internal or external.
Impostor Syndrome, fear of failure, dislike of the process or effort to do the thing being asked can all result in stress. The stress can also come from a toxic work environment or from situations at in a person’s personal life that have nothing to do with work at all. Thus, one should explore the underlying feelings and emotions before attempting to determine whether one should quit.
One option that may be appropriate is to ask to reassign a few tasks or get help with them. Once emotions have been addressed, it is possible that the task truly is not the best fit for your skills, education, and passions. In this case, attempting to modify or move the task is an appropriate strategy.
A request to do this has the best chance to succeed if it is accompanied by a willingness to do the parts of the task that you can, a plan of where to shift the work, and ideally a colleague willing to pick it up. It may be possible to negotiate a work swap with a colleague, taking work from them that fits you in exchange for the work that does not. Getting good at forming collaborative partnerships with coworkers is a valuable skill in any case.
How do you know when you’re ready to leave your job?
It is important to recognize the underlying situations that are driving consideration of quitting and then evaluate if those factors may be addressed. There is generally accepted broad advice in switching jobs such as “Never run from something, run towards something.” It is better to switch jobs because something superior has been actively identified, not primarily to escape something negative. Without a clearly better next alternative, there is a good chance that the next circumstance will be the same or worse.
If you quit, you may face social, emotional, and economic pressure to quickly find a new job and that rapid alternative may not be better.
Another potential area of improvement is skill gaps. You may be going to the job and attempting to work, but have critical gaps in major skills that are resulting in poor performance. As a result, you may feel like you are not having an impact at work, want to quit,
In other words, you may want to quit a job because your boss criticizes you, you are not rewarded, etc. but the root cause may be that unacknowledged skill gaps are driving these problems. You may want to consider evaluating the feedback for valid areas of necessary improvement.