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Why You Should You Leave Your “Good” Job, But Probably Won’t

Why You Should Leave Your Good Job But Probably Won't

Last week I shared with subscribers that over the past few months, several clients have left their jobs.

Leaving your job is something a lot of career homeless people fantasize about, even if they don’t know what they would do instead. It seems kind of magical, but also intimidating. Not knowing what would come next can keep you idling in a stalled career for years.

You’d think that people with decent jobs wouldn’t struggle with this so much. But oftentimes, they’re the ones that have the most difficult time deciding if they should stay or go. Things are just good enough that they are hesitant to bail.

Last week a reader asked,

“Did any of [your clients] leave a job that was good (good enough, good pay, good people, one they could tolerate but didn’t LOVE)? How did [they] generate the guts to leave ‘good’??”

So I floated this question to the private Facebook group where my clients hang out. Here was one response from a client who recently left her job to start her own business:

“I left ‘good’ because it didn’t ‘feel’ good anymore. I knew I was going to leave eventually to follow what I had discovered to be my true path. I left earlier [than I could have] because I realized I was putting undue pressure on myself to have a really ‘good’ reason to leave. The job wasn’t serving me anymore although I was serving it.”

“Good” doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes “good” isn’t good enough.

  • Have you ever ended a relationship that was “good,” but not good enough to stay for?
  • Ever passed on a “good” apartment or house because it’s not quite what you had in mind?
  • Have you ever read the reviews for a critically acclaimed movie, but still had no interest in seeing it?

Most of us pass on “good” at some point, at some other areas in our lives. We recognize that just because something is objectively good doesn’t mean that it’s good for us.

Then why is it so hard for us to reject “good” when it comes to our work?

Here’s what I see it come down to for most people:

1. You’re afraid that if you go for something better, you’ll lose the good you have. 2. You don’t believe that something better is possible.

It’s #2 that really breaks my heart, because it’s absolutely a case of your thoughts limiting your potential to contribute and in a way that feels good and be rewarded for work that comes naturally to you.

Most people are so firm in their belief that how things are is how they have to be, that they won’t work towards change. Why would they? They don’t think it’s possible. And that’s why most people will spend their work lives clocking in to build someone else’s dream.

Don’t be most people.

Be one of the ones who see other possibilities. I’m not asking you to prance through life with rose-colored glasses; I’m asking you to be realistic. Know what’s real? Your ability to find purpose-driven work. But only once you believe it is.

Which reality will you pick?

  1. tiffany@tiffanyhan.com

    September 26th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    “Don’t be most people.” Simple, true, and BAM. Love this, Laura.

  2. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    September 26th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks, Tiff!

  3. michelledespain@cox.net

    September 26th, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I finally quit my “good” golden-handcuffed career a few weeks ago. It took years to summon up the courage (and some savings!), but I did it. And I’m not looking back. Because “great” is ahead of me. 🙂

  4. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    September 26th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Congrats, Michelle! It can certainly be a risk and takes some planning, but it can be so worth it. Wishing you the best.

  5. quarterlifelady@gmail.com

    September 26th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    This is great. I am battling #2 right now. I quit one of my jobs and my last day is Saturday. I am facing such doubt and fear right now as it approaches. I think although I know that job wasn’t serving me anymore, I fear the loss of income and worry about supplementing it. When in the world will I get to the point where I’m making what I used to? Do I truly believe that this leap of faith I’m taking will be better for me?
    I want to trust that I’m making the right decision, but I’m going to be honest, this is very scary. But like you said, I don’t want to be most people. I want to be me…unique…and doing all I can to serve the world in the way I was created to. So. I guess that’s my answer.

  6. felicitanestler@mail.com

    September 26th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    This is such a good article! I have been thinking about my job a lot and what my dreams have been for years and I have a better than good job for my day job… in fact I love my day job which is in social media so it’s really handy for learning so many amazing things I can apply to my own business… That being said though I’ve let this become the excuse for not working on those dreams I’ve had all my life. Im curious as to whether some people have gone down to part-time in their day job so they can have a bit of both worlds- maybe this for me feels like a safety net and I should be changing my thinking around this as well… hmmm. A good article to get me thinking! thanks!

  7. Anonymous

    October 13th, 2013 at 12:02 am

    […] Why You Should Leave Your “Good” Job – But Probably Won’t. […]

  8. pumpkingrl_1031@hotmail.com

    October 14th, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Fantastic post, Laura! Stumbled over here from Mara’s weekly list of pleasure reading. The title caught my attention and it got me to thinking about one’s desire to leave the “good” job (“secure” job) but doesn’t really know what one wants to do…….doesn’t make sense to leave the “good” job without some idea of what you want to do next…..right?!?

  9. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 14th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Welcome, Teryll! Great question, and I’ve got my take right here: http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/career-change-should-i-leave-my-job-now-or-later/

  10. atqahqgspv0@gmail.com

    September 11th, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    God help me, I put aside a whole afronteon to figure this out.

  11. bowesc48@gmail.com

    October 18th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Great article!! I grew up in poverty so I have this messed up need to feel financially safe before anything else. Unfortunately I have found there may be no number of dollars big enough to make me feel safe. So I stay in a job that offers me no challenge because the pay is good and I have a golden parachute if anything happens other than me quitting.

  12. Anonymous

    October 10th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    […] Why You Should Leave Your Good Job (But Probably Won’t) — Sometimes “good” isn’t good enough—but making a big change is still hard […]

  13. veldhoenv@gmail.com

    November 13th, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I am so, so, so happy that this article exists. It is exactly how I feel. Right now I work in job that has GREAT people who I love to socialize with, has decent hours, all weekends/holidays off and decent pay. And that’s great and I’m so happy that I’m not stuck in some working-all-hours-of-the-day-job with people I didn’t like.
    But… I can’t be there forever. Because it’s not creative and it’s not what I want to do (writing/editing). Thinking of going to that job tomorrow doesn’t fill me with dread but thinking of being there for the rest of my life absolutely does.

  14. Anonymous

    April 6th, 2015 at 7:00 am

    […] 11, 2014 / shubhadeep /   On her blog Create As Folk, Laura Simms makes the case for why you should leave your good job.   “Most people […]

  15. listings@africajobboard.co.za

    October 28th, 2015 at 6:41 am

    yes deciding to leave your jobs is a hard one but at the end it maters how you feel and can you stay and be happy with your current work, if not then you need to make the ultimate move,

  16. liana sweety

    November 1st, 2019 at 9:57 am

    thank you so much. it is very useful.


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