I was recently asked, “How do you know when you should quit your job?” This is a question many people struggle to answer, while others just quit without thinking about how wise their decision may have been.

Investing in a career coach and/or talking to your mentor can help you figure out whether or not to leave a job. When having these discussions — or when considering your options by yourself — keep the following things in mind:

1. It Is Easier to Get a New Job While Employed

Do not abandon your position unless you have a new job lined up. An employment gap on your resume will have the reader wondering whether you were fired or left abruptly. Employee loyalty is still valued.

2. Why Do You Want to Quit Your Job?

At your next interview, you will probably be asked, “Why did you leave your last job?” You’d better have a solid answer.

One thing to consider is whether you’d like to leave your job for interpersonal reasons or for work-related reasons. Leaving because you feel like your career is stuck may be a good choice, but leaving because you don’t like your boss and/or coworkers is a less valid reason.

There will always be personality conflicts in the workplace. Learning to deal with difficult coworkers may be a better investment in your future success than quitting your job and looking for another.

Know the real reason you are leaving so you don’t end up in the same situation at your next job.

3. Can You Afford to Quit?

Examine your financial circumstances before giving your two weeks’ notice. Can you afford to be unemployed for several months? How will the bills get paid? Ensure you have several months of living expenses in a savings account before you decide to quit. Do not sabotage your financial future on a whim. Be financially prepared to leave your job.

Financial concerns are especially important for those who work in industries that require security clearances. A low credit score because you couldn’t pay your bills on time while unemployed may make you a poor candidate for these jobs.

4. Know What Your Final Paycheck Will Look Like

Will you get paid for unused sick days or personal days? Will you be paid for unused leave? If not, then you may want to exhaust these benefits before you put in your two weeks’ notice. I know several people who were asked to leave as soon as they put in their two weeks’ notice. They did not get that final two weeks of pay they had counted on receiving. Your employer is not required to let you work until the day you want to leave.

5. Have You Spoken With Your Supervisor About Why You Want to Leave?

Your supervisor probably doesn’t even realize you are unhappy. I recommend you examine why you want to quit and then speak with your supervisor to see if there is a way to make things work. Maybe you can be relocated to a different department, assigned more responsibility, or have your unmet needs fulfilled in some other way.

It is expensive for a company to interview, hire, and train a new employee. Your employer would prefer to work with you on making changes so you do not leave.

Take time to reflect on why you want to leave your current place of employment. Often, the reasons a person quits one job are not resolved when they move to a new workplace. Take ownership of why you want to leave. See if you are the source of the problem before making a move.

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Take time to think through the situation with a coach or mentor before you decide to quit your job.

Jaynine Howard is a military veteran whose work as a career strategist and reinvention specialist has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation.

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