If you do any job long enough, you’re bound to experience some lows where you’re less interested in your work. If you’re doing the right work, you’ll bounce back after a bit and find renewed vigor for what you do. But what if the bounce doesn’t happen? How can you tell the difference between “I just need a break” and “I need to break this off for good”?
Here are 4 questions to help you know if you should quit your job or take a break:
1. How do you feel after taking a small break?
While it’s probably not realistic for you to spontaneously take a month off from work (though I have had clients negotiate this!), it may be possible for you to dial back your responsibilities on a temporary basis.
If you work for yourself, consider going into maintenance mode and just doing the things you have to do to keep the ship afloat.
If you work for someone else, see if there’s a way for you to step back for a bit. Can you work half the day from home? Can you get more support? At the very least, start enforcing boundaries that you’ve let slide. If you’re checking your work email after dinner, maybe you know what I’m talking about.
In your personal life, create more space and quiet. Don’t take on any new commitments. Have quiet evenings at home. Sleep in on the weekends. Do what you can to rest, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
After you’ve given yourself a small break and ramped up your self-care, how do you feel about your work?
2. How long have you been feeling like this?
While it’s completely normal to want a change in your routine, feeling that for an extended period of time can be a sign that it’s time to move on.
Have you been wanting a change for 3 months? 6? A year? It may be time for you to do something else.
3. Are there any circumstances under which you think you’d feel better about your current work?
What would it take for you to feel joyful and excited about your job again? It could be that there are some simple tweaks you could make to get you reengaged with your job. Or maybe you think about it and nothing comes to mind. If there are literally no scenarios in which you’d want to do your current work…time to go.
4. How would you feel if you were fired?
If the thought of losing your job has you feeling relieved or excited, it’s time to start planning for something new.
Sometimes in this situation, people don’t take action towards a different future and subtly sabotage their work to the point that they end up getting fired. Don’t do that. If you want something new, start planning for a change.