Knowing when to leave your old job - to start a new life.

The day comes when you're sure you want to get out of your rut. It happens in lots of different ways. Sometimes it's the workplace environment, something about the job, people, or for personal reasons.

But it figures out as one basic situation.

It's when your job, your career, and yourself seem to be working against each other, and the job is the problem, not the solution.

Thanks to lousy job design, and antiquated work practices and work cultures, jobs can become an unreasonable ordeal.

Bad management is another classic cause. Professionals can only out up with so much. Competent people will only tolerate a certain level of incompetence.

Overloads are another very normal, very stressful, reason for people wanting out, and wanting it yesterday.

Workplace culture, which can be prehistoric, is normally a real incentive to leave. People don't want to live in 1950. They don't see why they should.

Wages only keep people in jobs they hate until they find a way out. In many cases, no amount of money pays for the misery.

The choices are far from easy:

  1. Move sideways, get another job, same pay.
  2. Move upwards. The preferred option, but difficult.
  3. Just move. Whether there's another job or not, get out at all costs.

The problems are very basic:

  1. Money, usually the lack of it, can sabotage any move.
  2. Commitments. Family, mortgage, debt, they nail people to jobs they loathe.
  3. No options. Nowhere to go, no real choices for another job.

Important point: We're talking about starting a new career, but there has to be a decision made.

Realizing you're in a situation where you're working against yourself is only the start.

Leaving the old job is one of the big steps, but as you can see, the decision making process requires a few steps.

The next step is realizing what you're looking for. You move to a new job, and it's better. Well, better than 100% lousy, anyway. Or you don't move to a new job, and just add a new suit of armor to the wardrobe, and struggle on.

Either way, you find you're still feeling as if you're not being yourself, not being the person you should be.

It's just not enough. You want more, and you want something real, not just something called a career.

Then it hits you.

This isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Simple as that.

And you mean it.

All doubts have been overruled.

This is when you know it's time to leave.

At first glance, this looks like exchanging a problem, however irritating, for an impossibility. There are any number of objections, not to the idea, but the practicalities of doing it. Human beings are worriers by nature, and they're good at it.

Start a new career from scratch? Who am I kidding? What about….?

The reply comes back: I want to do this. It's a matter of how I do it.

That's really all you need to stay focused. You're overstating the problems, anyway.

  1. You're not starting entirely from scratch. Whatever you do, you'll have the interests, and at least some of the required knowledge, experience and qualifications.
  2. Who you're kidding is yourself, if you think you can do nothing about something you really want to do, and forgive yourself for letting an opportunity go.
  3. What about….? questions always turn out to be things which are problems you've always wanted to solve. Things like the wage-earner's eternal hunt for enough money to do anything, financial security, etc.
  4. Some people start new careers without even trying. They hit the right combination of circumstances. They do well, because the conditions are working in their favor.

A new career shouldn't be a new form of desperation to replace the old one you were trying to avoid.

You're at the point where:

  • You've made your decision.
  • You're now fully intending to start making your new career.
  • You know you'll need some time getting things organized.

Help is all around you. If you've been in the workforce for longer than a few months, you know most of the people who can tell you how to do what you need to do.

You would know, at least:

An accountant
A manager
A bank
A person who can teach you business basics
A career guide from your qualifications or school
Who to ask about your intended new career, which has been sitting there like a postcard from a holiday resort for years.

You also have, most importantly, your friends.

These will be the ones who weren't at all surprised you wanted to leave and get another job. They weren't surprised when you said you wanted to throw in the new job. They already knew you were totally dissatisfied.

They probably told you, in so many words, before you even decided to quit the previous job, Well, if you're so unhappy with the place, why don't you quit, and do what you've always said you wanted to do?

They also probably told you Don't to cut your own throat in the process, to plan your moves, and stay in the game until you were ready to move.

OK, got all of those people? Because they're the people you actually need, people who will give you honest appraisals of your ideas. A career is as much an idea as a job, and that's where the quality control kicks in. If you've got people around you who are prepared to disagree, to make you review your thinking, and make you get it right, you've got better advice than most governments.

Now's your chance.

The basics:

  • Move when you're ready to move, and have somewhere to move to.
  • Don't get impatient, get busy, get things done.
  • Make sure there's some money coming in on the other side of the door, when you walk through it.
  • Find and remove any costs, debts or any other dead weights before leaving.
  • Don't invent problems for yourself. You've done the worrying, now take care of business.