How do you know when it is time to leave a job?

You have some of these feelings when you think about your future with your current job:


When you leave a job where you feel relieved, that is the real sign you made the right decision. You had an intolerable manager or coworker. The pay did not match your duties/experience, and the organization took advantage of you. The organization had no future for you or itself. Whatever the case may be, there was a wide disparity between your work and happiness and fulfillment. These situations make it simple to leave!


The job had some excellent points, and the job also had some pain points. Ultimately, you accepted the pain if there was a balance between the good and bad aspects of a job. Most people fall into this category. This non-committal perspective makes the decision-making process complicated.

“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

People leave organizations with the idea the next place is a better fit. It is not always that simple to do that. On my LinkedIn profile, I look at the people I might know. I worked with plenty of people that I recognize, but I did not work with them directly. Interestingly, some people end up job hopping from one bad employer to another. A few people I knew well surprised me because they continually got promoted despite having no discernable leadership skills. 

Your comfort zone controls your future.

When you know your work/processes/environment, it is safe and predictable. Working in a safe zone is a great place to be if other aspects of your life are not going as well. Sometimes, you have to work on other stressors outside of work, and a predictable work environment allows you to do that. However, if you have no stress in your life, you are shortchanging your future! When you stop growing and learning on the job, your career dies slowly. The rest of the world passes you by, and future employment gets complicated when you cannot show you progressed in your job.  

Was it as bad as you thought?

Pain is relative. You might not like your job today, but would you enjoy earning a living based on your first job?  

You thought your boss was an idiot. They might have been. Perfect information is hard to come by when you may not be privy to the information your boss had. If you knew what they knew, it is safe to say that you might have stayed.

My salary did not match the market rate for my skills and experience in one of my jobs. I got laid off, and I took a pay cut on the next job. The following job provided better benefits than the previous job, and I had a higher gross paycheck!    

How to take the emotion out of your decision-making process

When you feel discomfort with a job, your emotional state can introduce biases that potentially lead to a wrong decision. I utilize a weighted calculation to determine if your job is right for you.

Determine Your Criteria

The criteria are the factors you consider important to you. Typically, people look at their relationship with their boss and coworkers since they greatly influence your happiness. Other criteria include the disparity between the market rate and your current pay rate with your experience and skills. You can use many factors for your decision-making process.

Prioritize your Criteria

From 1 to the last criteria, prioritize the criteria from 1 to the number of items in your list. As prioritize them, do not allow the same priority for different items.  

Rank the Criteria

Use the three possible options:

-1 Bad

0 “Meh.”

1 Good

Score the Criteria

For each criterion, multiple the priority with the rank for the score. To reduce some biases, hide the priority column to prevent unconsciously under/overvaluing the score. Honesty is key!

Calculate the Total Score and Max Score

Add up the scores for a total score. Add all the priorities. If you had five criteria, your maximum score is 15 (5+4+3+2+1), and your rank is 1.

Analyze your Score

Looking at your score, you will receive a less biased view of your situation. The higher the score, the better your situation is. The closer to zero, the more likely the job is not bad and not great; it is just “Meh.” If your score is closer to zero, it is worth looking into a new job. Since you filled the calculator, you are already thinking about leaving. Consider this score as a call for action. The more negative your score is, the probability your job is harmful to your career is high.  

The spreadsheet you can use

You may download the spreadsheet here to help you with your decision.

Life is too short for unhappiness!

If you cannot get fulfillment with your work, get another job. If getting another job not possible for a while, collect your paycheck and discover your life’s satisfaction outside of work. Sometimes, deciding to leave a job is complicated and cannot be answered mathematically. Trust your instincts; it is right more often than you realize.

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