When Should You Quit Your Job

🌩️ It's NaNoWriMo, so let's write up a storm 🌩️

This month, I’m gonna do my darndest to participate in NaNoWriMo, a yearly challenge where folks attempt to write (technically, it’s for their novels but eh) every day in November.

I’ve never done this before—I had a boyfriend in high school who was really really into his Livejournal (and when we broke up he blocked me) but I’ve never really thought of myself as a writer. Not really. Even though I was the online editor for Barista Magazine for almost three years, only recently would I call myself a writer.

I’m a firm believer in trying things and seeing what sticks. 29 out of 30 of these articles (if I finish the month, which I might not) might be total trash. But if one is passable, then it’s a good month.

I encourage you to reach out and tell me what you think of these articles. They might be slightly rough and unpolished, for which I can only ask for your grace and kindness, but I still want to know what you think! Reach out at bossbaristapodcast@gmail.com, and let me know if there’s anything you want me to write about!

And if you like this writing, consider donating to my Patreon. A lot of what I write challenges workplace norms, which as I stated above, pretty much make it impossible to incorporate paid work and the writing I do together.

[Ashley’s notes: I hate that I have to say this, but please be mindful that this isn’t reporting. These are just the things milling about in my head. I can write my quick and dirty thoughts on why you deserve a raise or how I am woefully unemployable—but anything that requires actual reporting, like asking questions and doing a bunch of research might be out of the scope of this project. Also, I should be paid for that work—more on that later in the month.]

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If you’re thinking about quitting your job, I’d like to make the argument that you can.

Not that you should—and I want to make that distinction at the top because there are hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t quit a job. You have a health insurance plan that you need, you don’t have another job lined up and will be financially threatened if you leave, or, while your current job sucks, there aren’t many other better jobs out there.

And there’s also the fact that we still treat most service workers like they’re transient and their skills as easily replaceable.

What I want to do is narrow in on the instances where you were unsure if quitting was the right move. Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau. Or maybe you’re you’ve become complacent, clocking in and clocking out without truly engaging. Do you go to work in the morning dreading seeing your boss and co-workers?

In these instances, I want to cultivate an idea and mindset that it is ok for you to walk away.

It’s easy to be hopeful about a job, especially at the beginning. New jobs are exciting! and promising! and we build a picture in our heads about how a new job might be different than the last. But we’ve all had that moment when we’re just fucking tired of it. You go from feeling energized and challenged to burnt out and bored.

That’s not a good place to be. I don’t say that for your company or your employer—because fuck them they’ll be fine—I’m saying this for you.

Because feeling negative and down on your work sucks.

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There are a bajillion reasons why you might stay at a job, besides protecting your personal safety and well-being. You might feel indebted to your employers, or you might be hopeful that they’ll see in you what you see in yourself. Every time you’re passed over for a promotion or salary increase, you might still hold on to hope that you’re next in line, and your time is coming soon.

But this mindset is harmful because it causes you to question your value, which is not ok. If your employer doesn’t honor your worth you need to go.

I’m not saying everyone needs to give their two weeks’ notice, but thinking about quitting forces you to consider both your worth and your goals. Are you willing to wait until another promotion comes up? Do you think your superiors see in you what you see in yourself? How critically have your thought about your future, and will this job serve your future goals?

If the answer is no, it’s ok to walk away.

You can quit a job respectfully and with kindness—and it’s ok to be upfront about the reasons you’re leaving. And, if your employer is smart at all, if anything, you can likely come back.

If you’re considering leaving a job, think about the things you want and how you want to express them to your boss. Sometimes, the simple act of articulating your needs can get you where you want even within the company.

I was inspired to write this piece because of an episode of The Cut, a podcast that looks at issues surrounding women. They talked about how, in the right circumstance, quitting (or having a conversation about leaving a job) could be a career boost, and I recalled my own experiences in leadership—and what I did when someone quit.

I had an employee once put their two weeks in, and when I asked them why, they said it was because they didn’t make enough money.

This was a failure on my part as a boss. I should have been keeping track of wage increases and checking in periodically. However, that moment of grace they gave me to express their needs meant that I could get them the money they wanted.

Quitting a job isn’t about saying “fuck you” to an employer (although sometimes it is), but it’s about putting yourself first—and if this conversation about quitting does anything, I hope it inspires you to think about the current moment you’re in, what you want out of work, and how your work serves that purpose.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to know that’s why I quit my last job. My job was no longer serving my goals. I wasn’t learning, I was constantly frustrated, and the job didn’t provide me with the opportunities I had hoped for. For months, I waited for things to get better—and it took me way too long to realize the answer was to quit.

You deserve to be happy and challenged at work, and on a path to fulfilling your goals.


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