No one needs to convince you, your job sucks.  You see the mindless drones around you and realize you’re done being like them.  You start to wonder how much longer you can procrastinate making a career move.

Every day you stick around you’re popping more blood vessels in your brain from having to deal with a psychopathic boss and vendetta driven clients.

But you know it’s not easy to just quit.

Maybe you have kids and a family to support and leaving a steady income isn’t the most comfortable thing you could do.

Maybe you have no idea what’s next in your life.  Where you will work, what you will do, who will support you?

But you do know one thing.

You’re tired of working in a soul sucking hellhole and are ready to change that.

As complicated as this seems, you really have only two choices.

Either you…

A.  Figure out a way to deal with your job and turn it around.

Or you…

B.  Leave the daily grind that did nothing but stress, drain, and depress you.

To quit or not to quit, that is the question.

So When Is It Time to Quit?

First, you can read my previous post “Top 10 Reasons Why You Need to Quit Your Soul Sucking Job.”

If you find yourself reading along and nodding your head like a major league bobble head doll riding Montezooma’s Revenge, then you probably need to quit.

Another exercise worth doing is to just simply write out the worst case scenario if you quit.  If your job is THAT bad, then you’ll see you don’t have much to lose.

But what else are signs it’s time to quit.

Well, if you are finding that you are becoming a person you don’t want to be.  Or the job is a never ending source of pain, stress, obsession, fretting, or worry.  Or if the only speck of hope for staying is to, “wait and see if it gets better.”

Don’t stay.  Like the best friend by your side that comforts you after a tough breakup, I’m here to tell you, “YOU CAN DO BETTER.”

So When Is It Time to Stay?

We live in a time where if you’re happy in your job others will call you “lucky”.

And often these “lucky” folk didn’t get there on their first try.  They had the joyless jobs just like everyone else, and some of those they stuck with for the following reasons.

1.  It’s not the right time.

I know, I just said earlier you shouldn’t wait, but there are exceptions.  Maybe the next job you REALLY want requires you to have a certain amount of experience your current job is giving you.

You want that awesome Video Game Editor position?  Well suck it up and pay your dues writing for your C list video game site until you can prove you have the ability to write reviews worthy of the big guys.

2.  You’re not happy with management.

Management isn’t always a permanent roadblock to your happiness, so be careful not to jump ship too quickly just because of your manager.

When I was in college I worked in a bank for about 2 years.  Over those two years I think I saw 4-5 managers come and go.  Whenever there was a manager I didn’t particularly see eye to eye with, I just sucked it up and knew more than likely things would change if I just gave it a few more months.

And it did.  Instead of complaining about management, I tried to adapt to their style.  I found that when they were happy, I was happy.  While all the other coworkers who refused to adapt either left for other positions or got fired.

If it just took a little adaptation in order to ride out the bad times, you may avoid making a jump that isn’t necessary.

At the same time, if  you work at a small company where the founders are your bosses, then you might be out of luck waiting for a new manager to step in.

In a lot of ways life is like a giant “Choose Your Own Adventure Book”.

So with that said do you…

A) Choose to stick it out and learn how to make the best of your current job (If so read on below.)

B) Choose to ditch your job for something better. (If so skip to “Okay, I’ve Decided to Ditch My Job…Now What?)

Okay, I’ve Decided It’s Best to Ride it Out…Now What?

So you’ve decided to ride it out.  You feel work is not the most rewarding at the moment, but there’s a reason to be here…at least for a little longer.  How can I  make the most of it?

1.  What can I do to make a better work situation for myself?

You might be surprised by how much you can change how you feel about a job by just making a few changes yourself.

For example, I have a friend who by night is a popular cosplayer/model but by day works at a cubicle just like the rest of us.  On the weekends she’s visiting comic, video game, and anime conventions from Vancouver, to Phoenix, to Tokyo.  While Monday through Friday, she’s got a “regular” desk job.

Going from nerd celebrity one night to cubicle warrior the next has got to take a toll on you.  So I asked her, how does she cope with such a drastic change in environments.

This is what she sent me.

What to Do If You Have a Soul Sucking Job? (A Choose Your Own Adventure Post)

Sure, Jessica would like to be out at comic and anime conventions 40 hours a week, but she’s realistic and knows that won’t pay the bills.  So why not make the best of the situation?  Add some personality. Be yourself.

2.  What made you happy before work took a dive for the worst?

Chances are if you’re willing to stick it out at your job, something had to have been working at some point.

What were the things that made you happy to work there?  What were the moments that made you proud?

Did you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you were recognized for bringing in the most leads that month?  Did you feel happy when you went to lunch with your buddies instead of staying in the office?

Write these things down.  Then answer yourself, “How can I make these things happen more often?”

Every “high” moment can really add up while you stick it out.

3.  What are the underlying issues?

Maybe your job is soul sucking, but if you could overcome a few hurdles it could actually be quite rewarding.

It could be that you’re weak in a few skill sets like managing your time, sales, organization, or presentations.

These days there are a number of resources you can check out to get help with what ever business skills you are lacking.

Get some books, find online courses on Udemy, or just Google it.  It’s truly an age of information we live in.

Okay, I’ve Decided to Ditch My Job…Now What?

So you’ve decided to move on to greener pastures.  How should I prepare?

It’s like you are embarking on a grand camping trip and just want to make sure you don’t forget anything before you set out.  Because the last thing you want to do is get yourself out in the woods and realize you forgot your flashlight.

So here’s your checklist for leaving a job.

1.  Prepare enough notice for your current employer to make the transition smooth for them too.

Most people think two weeks notice is standard practice for leaving a job, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes it’s more.  What if you are the only one in the company that knows how to run their complicated systems.  If you leave without giving them documentation for the next guy, your boss isn’t likely to leave a glowing recommendation when you decide to look for your next job.

Your new employer will likely understand this as well.  Who knows, maybe they’ve been caught in that situation themselves.  If they are “good people” they won’t force you to do that to your current employer either.

2.  Prepare for your own departure.

Chances are you’ve built up some impressive resume items working for your company, and you might like to share some of those things on your own portfolio to land the next gig.

Take note of any metrics you’ve accomplished for the company whether it was sales, customer satisfaction, or whatever metrics were used to keep you accountable.

If you worked on some impressive projects, you might want to have a copy of your project plan on hand.

Warning: be sure you don’t violate any of your companies policies by doing so.  Making copies of confidential, client, or other works can end up getting you fired.  If you don’t know the company policies, be sure to get clarification from the HR department.

3.  Write a formal resignation letter.

Don’t be one of those dopes who quits with a bang to get attention from their friends or the internet.

Even though work did some things to wrong you, they also were the same people who kept a roof over your head.  So the least you can do is thank them for the job experience and investments they placed in you.

Again, remember that when you look for your next job, it’s these guys who you’ll want as your references.

4.  Avoid gossiping to coworkers before you let your boss know.

I know how you feel.  You are excited to finally get out of your hellhole of a job and you want to share it with your buddy in the cubicle next to you.

But you never know how far word might spread. Suddenly Susan in marketing knows all about your plans and happens to be meeting with your boss at Applebee’s tonight.  Guess what’s going to come up while they’re chowing on buffalo wings?

We’ve all been the last to know about something we feel we should have been the first to know.  It’s a bummer.  And no matter how much you hate your boss, the last feeling you want to leave is that you were an office gossip.

5.  Finish strong.

There are two types of impressions you have on someone.  A first and a last.

You probably aced your first impression by securing your job.  You should end the same way.

Let your boss know you want things to work out for them, that you’ll wrap up loose ends, finish projects, and ultimately leave them in a better position than when you started.

What’s Your Biggest Challenge When It Comes to Dealing With or Leaving a Soul Sucking Job?

The last thing I want to do is assume you all have the same situation when it comes to work and that there is one silver bullet for each of you.

That’s preposterous. So let me know what’s challenging you in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.

image courtesy of Jessica Watkins DeWinter