How to Know When to Walk Away From a Job

Leaving a bad job can open the door for new opportunities.

The decision to walk away from your job can be difficult. Your job may provide the income and health insurance that you and your family need. If you quit your job, your employer may give you bad references that affect your ability to get other jobs. You can also be disqualified for state unemployment benefits if you quit your job voluntarily. Some states make exceptions to unemployment eligibility rules when a worker quits because their employer substantially changes job conditions. Generally speaking, if your budget and resources permit, you can make the decision to leave a bad job situation.


Step 1

Track the time you put in on the job each week. If you work so many late nights and weekends that you've lost count, it may be time to think about your work and life balance. Ask yourself what's most important to you if you regularly miss family events, or you get seriously ill and can't take the time off you need to recover. Talk to your boss about alternatives such as a flexible work schedule, or telecommuting privileges that can help you work more efficiently and spend time with your family.

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Step 2

Write a list of the projects that you worked on, or completed on your job during the past year, and their outcomes. Think about the types of projects your boss typically assigns you, and whether you get credit for them. Meet with your boss to talk about your work, if you feel pigeon-holed and unappreciated on your team. Request opportunities to do different types of tasks if you qualify for them.


Step 3

Request a meeting with your supervisor, if a change in management leaves your position on your team undefined. New management can sometimes bring different ideas that minimize, or eliminate your role without letting you know about it. If the new management wants to work with you, then you may be able to negotiate a new position on the same team. Alternatively, you can request a transfer to another department, before you consider leaving your job altogether.

Step 4

Leave your job if reasonable attempts to create a better job situation fail. You can also leave right away if you experience harassment, or know that illegal or unethical activities take place in your workplace. When your workplace becomes hostile, or uncomfortable, it can be in your best interest to leave right away. Report illegal activity to a human resources representative, and document your experiences in case you need them for administrative or legal proceedings in the future.


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