When to Quit Your Job

Only quit your job after assessing your financial situation and, if possible, trying to fix any problems at work.
Cara Smith
By Cara Smith 
Edited by Amanda Derengowski

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If you’re thinking about leaving your job, there are several major considerations to make before quitting. As you make the decision, take a look at things like how long you could support yourself without a job and whether any workplace issues can be resolved.

Here are some key things to consider before making your final decision to quit.

Is your financial situation stable?

Quitting, if you’re not financially ready for a long job search, could create more stress in your life than sticking with your job a bit longer.

A 2023 survey of 501 unemployed adults conducted by Insight Global, a global staffing firm, found that 55% of respondents felt “completely burnt out” from searching for a new job. Those respondents had applied to an average of 30 jobs, according to the survey, and received about four responses or callbacks.

Before quitting, job seekers should make sure they can cover their housing and basic needs for three months at the bare minimum, says Ayanna E. Jackson, a Washington, D.C.-based career coach. But Jackson and other career coaches say it can often take up to six or more months to find a job.

When determining if it makes financial sense for you to quit, think through how you’d pay for housing and other needs, like groceries, toiletries, transportation expenses and any other recurring costs. If you get health insurance through your job, list out what you would lose if those benefits disappeared. Consider whether you could afford to pay for medications, specialized care or a surprise trip to the urgent care.

Also, make sure you’re familiar with your industry’s job market. If you work in a specialized role or industry, do some research and see how many open opportunities there are that interest you. If your industry is volatile or undergoing changes, check out relevant job openings or check in with your professional network to get a sense for what the job market is like.

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Have you tried to address your workplace problems?

If it’s financially feasible for you to quit your job, especially if you don’t have another job lined up, you should also consider whether any issues or problems you’re experiencing in the workplace can be fixed.

First, write down everything about your job that makes you want to quit. Then, run through the list and see if any problems can be solved, whether by talking to your supervisor or human resources.

If you’re struggling with things like work-life balance, unsustainable deadlines, your day-to-day responsibilities or your ability to work remotely, a conversation with your manager could make a major difference.

When you talk to your manager about these or other issues, offer some solutions to the problems you pose. For example, if you aren’t enjoying your work, consider whether there are other responsibilities you could pick up that better align with your strengths and interests. Share those thoughts with your manager. Or if you need to adjust your schedule, maybe to open up time in the late afternoon and early evening, you could ask to start your day earlier and end it earlier.

Finally, if you’re dealing with extraordinary issues beyond day-to-day work grievances — for example, an inappropriate or vulgar manager, discrimination or unethical or illegal work — you may want to go straight to the human resources department, says Tamiera S. Harris, a life and career coach and founder of Black Career Coach in Philadelphia.

“If there is something serious that you need to point out, you really shouldn’t be talking to your supervisor,” says Harris. “You need to go a step above and talk to HR about it.”

Have you started searching for a new job?

While you’re deciding whether to quit, look for other jobs, and consider applying for other positions while keeping your current role. As a job candidate, you're more attractive to other companies if you’re currently employed, Harris says.

Recruiters have an easier time placing candidates while they’re working, as opposed to when they’re unemployed — even if they chose to quit the job.

“You’re more valuable employed,” Harris says.

This is also why it’s wise to avoid quitting your job from a place of reactivity, says Tina Marie St. Cyr, executive career coach and founder of Bonfire Coaching in Houston.

“As professionals, we need to pump our own brakes, and we need to say, ‘OK, let me take a breath and look at this,’” St. Cyr says.

Did you already find a new job?

Landing a new job offer may seem like enough reason to quit your current job, but you should first consider whether the new job would truly be a better fit than your existing one. Before accepting a new position, make sure you can answer these questions about the new gig.

  • Will you be losing any insurance coverage or benefits by changing jobs?

  • What’s included in your compensation, aside from your salary or hourly wage (such as stock options, tuition reimbursements or transportation stipends)?

  • What does career advancement look like at the new company?

  • Will your commute or working hours change?

  • Is the work relevant to your professional goals and interests?

If you’re unable to answer any of these questions about the new job, reach out to your interviewer and ask them to provide more information on the role — especially before you quit your current job.