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6 Totally Acceptable Reasons to Quit Your Job

By Kat Boogaard

Quitting is hard. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Let’s just get real for a moment—quitting your job is scary. There’s really no getting around that fact. And, as if that nausea-inspiring conversation with your boss, that dreaded exit interview, the awkward goodbye party, and the mountains of related paperwork weren’t enough to have you hyperventilating, you’re also almost always left with a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Even if you hand in your resignation the right way.

Do you know that feeling I’m talking about? That nagging sensation that makes you feel like a no-good, flaky, undependable job hopper that’s letting your team down? It’s definitely not a pleasant emotion.

But, it’s totally natural. Whether you’ve been there for twenty years or 6 months, finding a new job is a big decision, and it will almost always inspire some feelings of guilt—regardless of how much you might hate that dreadful gig of yours. There’s still a small part of you that will undoubtedly feel remorseful about walking away.

However, this is important for you to remember: You are completely entitled to leave your job—and, there are plenty of justifiable reasons for doing just that. Everyone has done it. So, whenever that gnawing guilt monster threatens to keep you from packing up your cubicle, remember these six reasons to quit and then gather your courage. Because, yes, these are totally acceptable.

1. You Have a Better Opportunity on the Table

It’s your career. Do what’s best for you.

You’ve heard that old, “Sometimes the only way up is out” sentiment, right? Well, there’s a reason it’s a tired cliché: Because it’s the truth.

Maybe you work in a small office where the person in the next role above you likely won’t leave for the next 20 years. Perhaps your company is a family business where the only people who get promoted have the same last name as the founder. Whatever the reasoning, you know you won’t be climbing the ladder fast where you are now.

So, when a better opportunity comes along and presents itself? It’s totally acceptable—and maybe even slightly encouraged—that you take it. Nobody can blame you for wanting to advance your own career. And, if you just aren’t getting those opportunities with your current company, sometimes you really do need to see your way out in order to keep moving up.

2. You Don’t Feel Safe

Your safety should be the most important thing—to you and your employer.

If the past year or so has taught us anything, it is the importance of feeling safe in the places you go. Whether your office seems like a hazardous environment, a place that doesn’t take the proper safety precautions, or a role that takes a toll on your mental health. 

If you aren’t in an environment where you feel unsafe, you won’t be able to do your best work. What happens at work, and how you feel there, has far-reaching effects that impact your wellbeing outside the office. It is always a last resort to quit without notice, but if you think you are in danger, it may be the only choice.

There are many companies out there with great benefits who take mental health seriously. Think about the conditions that are causing you to look elsewhere and make sure to find out how those issues are handled at new potential jobs. More and more, working remotely has become an option as well. There are even cities that will pay you to move there to do your remote work.

3. You’re Continuing Your Education

Going to school is a job in and of itself.

Perhaps that degree you never actually completed has been hanging out in the back of your mind lately. Or, maybe you’ve discovered some new interests that you’d like to learn more about. The point remains the same: You want to grab your backpack, hit the books, and go back to school.

First things first, congratulations! That’s an exciting decision, and furthering your education is almost never a bad move.

But—let’s face it—it’s going to involve a lot of time, commitment, and elbow grease on your part. And, if you think you can’t quite manage all of that while still working in your current position? Then, by all means, hit the road and find a part time job or something that will be a better fit for your new schedule.

Yes, leaving your job behind might be a little scary (particularly if you like where you work). But, think of that leap as an investment in your future.

4. You’re Treated Poorly

You spend a large part of your life at work. You should be appreciated.

There’s just no nice way to phrase it—you hate your terrible, horrible, dead-end job. Getting up each and every weekday morning seems like a superhuman feat of strength. And, when you do manage to get yourself out from under the covers? You trudge into the office every day with an overwhelming sense of dread while feeling like your legs are made of concrete.

Why? Well, when your boss isn’t too busy taking credit for all of your great ideas, she’s passing along all sorts of grunt work—including picking up her dry cleaning. Your co-workers all whisper and gossip behind your back. And, whenever you’ve tried to confront anyone about these issues? You just get called a drama queen, or maybe even retaliated against.

Listen, there’s really no such thing as a perfect job where every single moment will be flawless. But, that doesn’t mean you deserve a gig that makes you positively miserable. You don’t need a dream job, but you do need a job where you’re treated fairly. If you’re not getting that where you are? Then you’re completely justified in packing up in search of greener pastures.

5. You Want to Try Something New

There’s nothing wrong with making a change.

Very few career paths are completely linear. And just because you chose a college major when you were 19, doesn’t mean you have to stick to that decision until you retire. More often than not, you’ll find something new that you’d like to try or a totally different career path you’re interested in exploring.

First, it’s important to remember that making a career shift doesn’t mean you’re a distracted commitment-phobe. It just means you’ve gathered new information and experiences that have enlightened you about something new.

Whether that means you want to change industries altogether or just try your hand at a new career, that’s definitely something you’re allowed to do.

6. You Aren’t Being Challenged

If you want to advance, you need to learn new skills. 

Most of the time, being comfortable in your job is a good thing. It means you have a solid handle on your daily responsibilities and are able to deal with problems without breaking into a cold sweat. However, there’s such a thing as being too comfortable.

Everybody wants to feel fulfilled, inspired, and somewhat challenged by their work. And, sometimes that’s just not a possibility after you’ve been there for too long.

If you like where you work but don’t feel challenged anymore, try talking to a manager or someone in a different department to see if there are any opportunities to take on something new. But if you’re tired of the same old thing day in and day out or you’ve continuously been passed over for promotions and challenging new projects, sometimes you need to shake things up in order to feel a little alive at work again.

If that means leaving your current gig for something a little more inspiring? Then so be it.

I know—leaving a job will always be pretty nerve-wracking. And, that nagging feeling that you’re jumping ship for no good reason can be tough to deal with.

However, there are plenty of valid reasons for leaving a job. If you find yourself in one of these six situations? Well, don’t let that pesky guilt monster talk you into staying—because, believe me, you’re totally justified in leaving.

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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