I Hate My Job And Want To Quit: 5 Easy Steps To Quitting
Do you hate your job? Are you constantly complaining to others about your job? Do you often saying things such as “I hate my job and want to quit!” to whoever will listen?
It might be the people you work with, your boss, or just the work itself. All jobs have some parts that make us crazy and drive us to thinking that we would like to quit.
If you find yourself complaining about any of these things, these may be signs you hate your job and are ready for a change. However, actually quitting is much more difficult, and requires a lot of courage!
I Hate My Job And Want To Quit…But How?
So, if you find yourself thinking “I hate my job and want to quit,” how do you find the courage to overcome the fear of quitting?
Quitting takes courage because it isn’t smart to quit your job. Quitting involves deciding to go against everything your brain tells you is right. Your job gives you money, and money gets you stuff that you need.
Without a job, you can’t get the stuff you need, right? From your brain’s perspective, it is telling you ‘hey, dumb-dumb! I’m gonna need some more courage if I’m going to go along with this!”
So where do you get the courage from to quit your job? Let’s dig into 5 easy steps you can take to start building courage.
1. Acknowledge That You Hate Your Job and Want to Quit…But You Are Afraid
Quitting a job isn’t supposed to be easy, or feel easy. Your brain tends to like your job because it helps it make all kinds of happy chemicals. You get praised at work (sometimes), you feel productive at work (sometimes), and you feel stable at work (sometimes).
Our jobs become a comfort zone for us. They give us a sense of stability and security. Without a stable and secure job, you can’t support a family, or take care of yourself, or in some cases, meet your basic needs for survival. The idea of giving up security should be scary.
Jobs also make our lives predictable. They give us something to fill our time with and can give us a sense of purpose, meaning, and identity. As an employee, you perform a service of some sort, and are compensated accordingly. Without your job, who are you?
Before I quit my job, I was a teacher at a very prestigious international boarding school. With this job came status! I could brag to people about the fancy school I worked at that looked like Hogwarts (and I did!). After all, I was educating the elite from all around the world!
I was so cool! How could I give that up! I definitely did not hate my job. Who would I be without my fancy job? (As it turns out, I was a much better person, but that is a story for another day).
Confront the Fear of Quitting
To start, take a moment to just sit and think about how scary it would be to not have a job – if even temporarily. You know you can and will find another job, but just think about how it would feel to not go to work tomorrow, or the day after, and to not see a pay-check for a week, or a month, or a year.
Acknowledging that you are afraid will give you power over your fear. Giving the feeling a name will help you work through a lot of the complex emotions you will feel as you begin to plan your great escape. If you are anything like me and find great meaning in your work, there will be many emotions.
Tackling this fear head on is important. If you don’t, before long you will develop and internalize a limiting belief about yourself and your ability to quit a job you hate. For example, “I can’t just quit my job! I have bills to pay!” is a common limiting belief that would cause you to stay stuck, ignoring the signs you hate your job.
Take a moment to say “I hate my job and want to quit” out loud to yourself. Take note of how it feels to be truly honest with yourself.
To help you process your fear, I recommend imagining what you would do if you had 8 hours of freedom in the middle of the work week (because you may for a while!). The last time you felt that was probably when you were a teenager!
Consider using affirmations for self-doubt to build up your confidence and remind yourself that you are strong, confident, and ready for a change!
The idea of not knowing how you are going to support yourself or your family is scary, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. It is scary because it is different. But different is good! Especially if you find yourself faced with signs you hate your job more often than not.
Different is liberating. And with liberation comes creativity. Use this time to get creative about all the great things you will be able to do once you are free from the job you hate.
2. Make a Plan To Quit The Job You Hate
Now, if you are anything like me, day 1 of no job will be filled with sleep, junk food, a lot of video games. Then, by 1 am, the sense of dread and regret will sink in.
So if you are still thinking “I hate my job so much and want to quit”, you need to know what your first week or month off is going to look like. Maybe you have another job lined up already, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you have an idea of the type of work you would like to pursue next, or maybe you don’t.
This period will look different for everyone, and that is part of the fun! It’s not as easy as just getting up and quitting your job. You need to recognize the signs you hate your job, and then create a timeline and a plan in order to make it work.
Tips If You Plan to Quit Your Job
- Consider spending a day building yourself up by writing a list of skills and strengths you have. Reminding yourself that you are good at what you do and have value to provide will help you find courage when you start to feel lost or uncertain.
- If you’re considering a career change all together, you will need to decide whether or not you have the skills necessary to explore a new career path. Let yourself daydream about how fun it would be to complete a few online courses in order to gain some additional skills.
- Consider updating your resume and LinkedIn profile as you begin looking for new jobs. Seeing your skills on paper will do wonders for your courage.
- Use an online template to draw up a budget and take a good hard look at your savings. This may help you feel more secure during your upcoming transition. Having at least 6 months to a year’s worth of savings will be helpful to cover your expenses during your job search.
- You may want to talk to a councillor to help process the signs you hate your job and some of the complex feelings you have. Be sure to speak with your family to ensure that you aren’t making a hasty decision.
I’m not saying do something silly and just up and quit your job with zero back up plan, a mortgage, and hungry mouths to feed. A plan is important. There is a lot to consider, so don’t try to do it all at once. Establish a timeline, pace yourself, and do what feels natural without panicking.
Try to work in some time to enjoy the time away from work. Before I quit my job, I took a personal day on Halloween to test the waters and see what a day away from my job felt like. I spent the day with my wife and daughter on her first Halloween carving a pumpkin, sticking her in it and taking pictures, getting our costumes ready to trick or treat. These were all simple things that I often missed out on because I was always at my overly demanding job.
Making a plan for your first month will help you set the tone for your new reality. How will you spend the time?
3. Identify Your Values
Take some time to write down a few sentences describing what it is that is making you hate your job so much that you want to quit. Try to stay away from simple statements such as “I hate my job and want to quit.” You know you hate your job and want to quit, but be honest with yourself about why. Is it the hours? The people? The pay? The tasks you are responsible for?
The answer to this question will of course tell you what you hate about your job, but it will also give you important information about what you value. And what you value will be what motivates you to set and achieve a goal of finding other work.
I won’t sugar coat it – motivation is important, and you are going to need it to find more work. It is very easy to fall into a slump and end up lost and feeling stuck in life. With an understanding of what you value, you can easily pull yourself out of a slump and motivate yourself to keep searching for your next job.
Finding Your Ikigai
The ikigai is a Japanese idea that translates roughly to ‘a passion, purpose, and reason for being’. If you are able to find the intersection between what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs, you will have found your ikigai.
People who find their ikigai and apply it in their everyday life have a sense of passion and purpose in everything they do. These are the types of people who love the work they do. Check out our Finding Your Ikigai Worksheet package to get started finding your ikigai today! This could be what you need to get you started on the path to your passion and purpose!
What Do You Value?
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what your values are. You decide these. They will motivate you in a different way then they will motivate me. And when you feel motivated by your values, you will feel the courage rushing in to support you.
When I quit my job, my family values were being compromised. I was away too often. When I was home, I wasn’t present because my mind was always being pulled away to this and that.
My wife was visibly irritated by me and had grown tired of listening to me complain but not take action to get myself out of my situation. I hated my job and wanted to quit without even knowing that I hated it!
She helped me realize what my values were and motivated me to quit and find work that allows me to breathe and separate myself from my job. I am now able to be a better and more present husband and father. I also work a job that allows me to use my life passions while allowing me to prioritize my lifestyle.
Be honest with yourself. If you are quitting because you don’t make enough money, that is a valid reason. If you think you can find a job that pays better, let that guide and motivate you. However it is also important to be realistic. Quitting a job as a lawyer that works 80 hour weeks and expecting to work at a gas station and get paid more is obviously very foolish.
You should also consider whether or not you can make lifestyle adjustments to help you increase the amount of money you are able to save at your current job. Just remember that it is possible to live a carefree and comfortable lifestyle without making a lot of money.
Having a good understanding of your values will help you look for work that builds you up and makes you feel good, rather than tearing you down and draining your positive energy. This will obviously help you, but it will help your loved ones as well!
4. Downsize and Simplify
Unless you have another job lined up, the reality is you are going to be heading into a period of financial uncertainty. As you are probably already aware, the way we earn and spend our money dictates our lifestyle.
Maybe you have learned how to live a carefree lifestyle on less money, or maybe you believe that having a lot of money is important to living the lifestyle you have chosen. Regardless, the key to maintaining your lifestyle is the security and stability that work and a job brings.
Take Time For Self-Reflection
Quitting your job is scary and requires courage because it means you have to come to terms with a change in your lifestyle. You won’t feel financially stable anymore. You won’t be able to spend $200 a month on take-out anymore. These are scary feelings.
But with the uncertainty of unemployment comes a forced period of self-reflection. Without a job that you hate, you are forced to come to terms with what is important in your life. Is the way you are spending your money bringing your soul happiness and joy? Could you get by without the things you are buying? What would your life be like if you had less.
Living a Simpler Lifestyle After You Quit Your Job
Take this time to draw up a new budget for a simpler lifestyle. Separate your wants from your needs. Figure out the things you are spending your money on that you really don’t need. You will soon realize that it is possible to live a carefree lifestyle while earning less. This will help you feel a sense of courage as you feel less afraid about how much things are going to change.
Now, if you are like me, and you have a family, stability and security are not just a good thing – they are essential. You can’t support a family if you don’t have a job, plain and simple.
But, you also can’t support a family if you are constantly thinking “I hate my job and want to quit”. You will also end up miserable, dissatisfied, absentminded, and not present when you are at home. These are all signs you hate your job. This is what happens to us when we hate our jobs. Our work fills a large percentage of our lives. It can give us a sense of purpose, or take away a sense of purpose. If we are drained by our work, we will in turn drain our families.
Here’s an example.
I was paid a lot of money at my teaching job. But the trade off was that I was never home. My wife and I just had our first daughter, and I missed a lot of good stuff.
After a year, it started to wear on me. What good is the money if I am not around to share the time with my family? We all know that we can’t get time back and that we can always earn more money. But to see this truth unfolding in front of my eyes, and to see my daughter already sleeping when I got home – that was a wakeup call.
I hated my job and wanted to quit! Any adjustment I had to go through was going to be worth it – and it was! As it turns out, quitting teaching was the best thing I ever did!
5. Come to Terms…
…with the fact that both you and your job are moving on.
While I was flirting with the idea of quitting my job, I remember sitting around declaring that my work just couldn’t survive without me, and that they needed me there. “I’m awesome, who would even be able to replace me?” I remember saying to myself and those around me (I promise I am less of a jerk now!).
My loving, caring wife reminded me that no matter how great you are, “no one gives two craps if you stay or go. They will replace you and move on.” And yes, that is a direct quote!
It’s nothing personal. Unless you started the company you work for, the company existed before you – and guess what? – they will continue to exist after you! There were many others who came before you who hated their jobs and went through the exact same thing you are going through right now. The fear, the uncertainty, the conflicting emotions.
I had – and arguably still have – a big ego. I know when I am good at something, and I demand to be valued for it! However, once I finally accepted that everyone would move on after I left, leaving became easier.
In the end, no matter how much we hate our jobs, we are attached to them in some way. We might not like having to phone and argue with people, but we like other parts of our work. We will miss the people (well… some of the people), or the chair we sit on during our break, or the free coffee.
These conflicted feelings are all natural. But in the end, with your values acting as your compass, if you still feel that you hate your job enough to quit, you need to come to terms with it and move on. Someone else will take your favourite chair and drink your free coffee.
But you know what? The coffee is better at home, the company is better, and your couch is more comfortable anyway.
The Bottom Line
During my final staff meeting as a teacher, my head of school put the following quote from Steve Jobs up as part of a ‘motivational presentation’:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
I remember taking this quote as a sign. This quote is what pushed me to finally realize that I hated my job and needed to take ownership and make a change.
When I quit my job, I was in my late 20s, had a new baby at home, and was supporting my family on a single income. I knew fear. I knew uncertainty.
But, I also knew in my heart what my values were, and as it turns out, I did not value being able to brag to people about my fancy teaching job that I secretly hated. My values were at home, with my beautiful family that needed their husband and daddy.
And after a few years of being away from my job, I can say with certainty that I have no regrets. I found courage in confronting my fears, making a plan, getting in touch with my values, simplifying my lifestyle, and finally coming to terms with the fact that I was ready to move on from my soul-crushing job.
And you are too. If you keep thinking “I hate my job and want to quit” – consider what it would be like to do it! You will find another one. And if you start to see signs you hate your job there, quit it too! Rinse and repeat until you love what you do.
If you are afraid, that is normal. Acknowledge it and enjoy the sense of courage that comes with being honest with yourself. You know your values, and you know that you will be able to adjust your lifestyle, if even for a brief period of time. Remember that you can do anything you put your mind to. Some life decisions are harder then others, but with a little bit of grit, determination, and perseverance, you can find the courage and make a change.
You will leave. The bills will get paid, new jobs will be found, better relationships will be built. Your partner will get their loved one back, your kids will get their mommy or daddy back.
And you will have a clean slate full of potential to find a better job that is more aligned with your values and gives you a sense of purpose that will enrich your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! Especially the ones who complain the most! This could be the courage and motivation they need to make a major lifestyle change!