When is the right time to quit?

Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, managing director of BuildCon Consultancies Ltd

Saquib used to work at a pizza joint where the manager happened to be very miserly. There was a regular customer on Fridays, a kind old gentleman who would always order the extra triple-cheese pizza. While he was charged for the triple-cheese, the manager would always tell Saquib to be sparing with the cheese because it is expensive in the pizza-selling world.

The manager's stingy and unethical attitude would always bother Saquib until he decided to call it quits on a Friday after serving the old man one last time. He loaded the pizza with the right amount of cheese to make it deliciously cheesy so that on taking the first bite, the old man exclaimed with joy that he had the best pizza ever. Smiling back at the old man with gratification, Saquib hung his apron and handed in his resignation.

A few weeks ago in Perth, I coincidentally met my former boss, also a mentor and a formal professional coach. While having lunch with our respective spouses in a beautiful ambience, at some stage, we found ourselves talking about my recent career changes.

I reminisced how in my last job, I offered to quit on two occasions because of my deteriorating relationship with the newly appointed boss, who was new to the corporate world. But on both occasions, I did not quit because my senior colleagues, who also worked closely with the boss, restrained me, saying I was giving too much importance to the differences, reminding me how my high performance was all that should matter. But the differences only kept brewing until the stress level reached unbearably.

After several failed attempts to reach out for counselling, the boss finally conceded to sit with me. However, it was one of my worst counselling sessions. He did everything possible to demotivate me. Looking at my demotivating face, my colleagues convinced me I was overthinking.

At this point of my narration, as the after-lunch coffee arrived, my mentor-cum-coach interceded, saying how I should have quit right after that fateful session with the boss and not listened to anyone advising otherwise. Looking back, I fully agree and regret the mistake of not having done so. The learning from my story is that sometimes it is best to trust your instincts rather than following the advice of others you trust because you may have sensed vibes that they have not.

Signs to quit your job maybe many, such as feeling unmotivated, burnt-out, having a major difference of opinion with the boss, feeling disrespected, unappreciated, micro-managed, or chronically stressed or depressed. If these signs persist, it indicates that your job is not meeting your needs or expectations and that you may benefit more from looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.

Some other common reasons to quit your job are better opportunities in another company or country, lack of growth opportunities, having achieved the maximum in the given role, higher education, change in career path etc.

Quitting a job is a personal and potentially difficult decision. Hence, it is important to take your time and think through all the options in hand before taking the final plunge. The best practice is to resign professionally and leave on good terms with your employer and co-workers. The timing is undoubtedly very crucial as hastening or delaying can have repercussions that you may live to regret for long. 

Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius said: "Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it."


The author is founder and managing director of BuildCon Consultancies Ltd 


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