Every Sunday night, I would get in bed and revise my resignation letter in my head.
I had no job prospects, I wasn’t even seriously job hunting. But, it was how I coped with hating my job. Thinking about exactly what I would say and exactly how my boss would look when I told him I quit was my way of counting sheep, dealing with Sunday Scaries and falling asleep.
Every morning, I got up (after pressing snooze a bunch of times) and went to work in a toxic work environment.
Of course, it didn’t start off that way. It was my dream job, after all. A job I was extremely grateful for, at an envy-worthy company.
But, even that didn’t prevent it from becoming toxic.
I had an unsupportive boss who complimented me on my value but constantly gave me the run around when it came time for promotions and raises. I watched co-workers speed walk to the restroom in tears because they, too, were so unhappy. I shed my own set of tears in the corner restroom stall, something I promised myself I’d never do, after hearing for the third time that I had to wait another six months for a promotion and “work a little harder,” despite the results and accomplishments I was already bringing to the table.
Sneaking out of the office at 6:30 p.m., even though you arrived at 7:30 a.m., was a norm at my office and the most effective way to leave without someone bothering you. Eating at your desk every day and working through lunch was standard because everyone was so overwhelmed with their deadlines and workload. Gossip and rumors were lethal, and I watched how water cooler chat derailed a co-worker’s opportunities and negatively affected their performance. The list goes on and on.
I know how it feels to want to quit every day.
So, hear me out when I say: don’t quit.
Unless you absolutely need to and it’s massively influencing your health and personal life, don’t quit just yet.
Ironically, when you’re so focused on how much you hate your job, it’s hard to do anything productive about it.
You vent. You complain. You daydream about a better life. You frantically brush up your resume and apply to jobs to make yourself feel better. You resolve to stop talking about it. And, then you find yourself talking about it. You question how you even ended up here in the first place. Rinse and repeat. It’s an up and down emotional rollercoaster that only subsides when you have a “good” day at work. Then, before you know it, you’re back to feeling comfortably unhappy.
But, when that bad day hits again, you’re back to frantic, stressed and depressed, anxiously (and unproductively) job hunting again.
That’s why I don’t recommend quitting after a really bad day, or a series of bad days. Your unproductive job hunt won’t change just because you quit. You’ll just have more free time to be more unproductive in your job hunt. More time to think about how unhappy you are, more stress because you’re now unemployed with less income, and more urgency to find a new position, without knowing the right way to make it happen.
What to Do Instead:
So, instead of quitting after a really bad day, you need to focus on acceptance.
You need to accept that you hate your job. I know how hard it is to accept that your once dream job has now become your main source of frustration, but you need to accept it. Accept that it’s not getting any better, despite how many “good” days you might randomly have next week or next month.
Next, accept that you need to get a real exit strategy. Recognize that you don’t want to just run from the job you hate, you want to run towards a new job you’ll love. Decide that you don’t want to just move on, you want to move forward.
And finally, accept and believe that your brilliance will follow you wherever you go. You are valuable not because of where you work, but because of who you are and what you bring to the table, and you’ll be even more valued elsewhere.
Once you accept these things, you can spend less time being surprised and overwhelmed when frustrating things happen at work, and more time preparing an effective graceful departure. Once you get a clear approach for landing a new job you’ll love, you’ll also spend less time being sad and unhappy, and more time feeling optimistic and hopeful about what’s possible for you on the other side of this toxic situation.
This is how I went from unhappy and depressed, with one foot in and one foot out at work, to gracefully resigning 7 weeks later because I landed a new exciting position.
Instead of focusing all your energy on quitting, daydreaming, and frantically job hunting after bad days, like I wasted too many months doing, switch your perspective. Accept where you are and get a clear strategy to get to where you want to go, so you can finally quit the right way.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.