How to know if it’s time to quit your job: firstly, determine why you want to leave

It will pay to examine your situation and why you are quitting before pulling the plug. Illustration: Amy Lauren

Share This Post

How do you know when it’s time to quit a job? Starting somewhere new can be great, but it can mean upheaval too. There will be a new boss, new expectations, new colleagues and a new commute to get used to. It will pay to examine your situation and why you are quitting before pulling the plug.

It’s okay to coast

So, you’re so bored at work, you want to quit? Being bored or underchallenged at work may not be the worst thing, depending on your life stage or stage of career. For those with caring responsibilities or other commitments or interests outside of work, having some slack can be a gift.

“There’s nothing bad about getting your work done, being a steady Eddy,” says Linda Breathnach, member of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and founder of

“For example, if you’ve got small kids, if you turn up and do the best you can and it’s a means to an end, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”

Staying in the job may mean parking a desire for a challenge for now. Until you are better positioned in your personal life to start somewhere new, reframe this dull period at work as a gift. The hustle can wait. Use the extra headspace to look after yourself.

Ask ‘why?’

Boredom, overwork, bullying – some workplaces can feel intolerable. It can definitely be the right decision to leave.

Before you quit, however, consider all of your options before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Is there any reason to stay that serves you?

How to decide whether it’s time to quit

“It’s about moving back to a place of empowerment,” she says. If you choose to stay in a job like this, be clear with yourself why you are staying. This can give you a sense of control.

“Even if you are feeling bored, if you are witnessing or experiencing bullying and you are choosing to continue in that environment, ask what is your ‘why’, why are you choosing this. Even if you are choosing it for the money, you are still choosing it.”

However, it’s a balance. If the job is affecting your self-worth, your mental health, your big-picture future, or if your confidence is on the floor, then it’s time to reassess.

Think laterally

Whether it’s the money, or you don’t think you’ll get the same flexibility elsewhere, some people can feel trapped in their job.

“I come across a lot of people who feel trapped and feel they have no choice,” says Breathnach.

Reframing your circumstances can help

“Even if you are staying there because it’s the best job out of all the other jobs in the industry, that’s a choice,” she says.

“So, you are sacrificing another aspect of your wellbeing because of that choice and I think we can remind ourselves of the ‘why’, why we are doing it, the motivation and the choice.”

That doesn’t mean tolerating the “stuckness”. “Sometimes there can be an ‘in between’ there,” says Breathnach. “Maybe you can move to another department, or change roles, or job share, or you could take extended leave, there can be choices there.”

Don’t take it personally

If you have joined a company and an individual or a culture feels toxic, try to avoid getting too embroiled.

“Sometimes it can be just one individual. In time, you will usually find there is something else going on with them. Or there can be something going on behind the scenes in the company,” says Breathnach.

It may well be the right thing to leave but try to get some objectivity about what’s going on before deciding to quit.

“Don’t take things personally. Often, it’s nothing to do with us. I think my guidance would be to tease it out with someone, like a therapist. Look objectively at what your options are, because your thoughts can spiral and if nobody is challenging them, thoughts can become assumptions.”


Related articles


Leading healthcare company continues to hire and grow

“MSD was already creative when pitching ourselves as a great company to work for, and now this crisis has challenged us to be even more innovative”- Maria Cullen, Talent Acquisition lead at MSD Ireland


Discover your perfect job

Looking to take the next step in your career?
Kickstart your search with indepth profiles and 

handy career advice and find your 

perfect match today.


10 Minutes With…

Find jobs in your area

Copyright © 2022. Developed & Designed by Square1.