woman in the street pondering

Why I decided to break up with my job (4 questions that made me realize it was time)

I wish someone told me that jobs are a lot like relationships before I jumped into my first 9 to 5. It turns out, that much like a relationship, you have the courting stage (interviews), the honeymoon stage (being hired), working (where you get down to the nitty gritty) and well, the end (however that plays out). Mind you, I cut back on some stages, but you get the point.

I ultimately broke up with my job because I came to realize my own worth.

It wasn’t until I decided to weigh my own happiness, worth, health, and the time I had invested into my 9 to 5 that I truly assessed what the heck I had been doing. I came to realize that regardless of any shiny incentives or the fact that I was comfortable, no job, just like a relationship, is worth being miserable for. Let me say that again… comfortable! That is a huge one. I had settled because I had become comfortable in my job, just like we do with our relationships

A job break up is much like ending a long relationship.

And as with any breakup, it always seems too hard to start over, or we question ourselves… what if it’s worse?

We become too scared to make that big change because we are comfortable and so we avoid it, until – burnout. We avoid until we absolutely can’t take being miserable anymore because we stayed too long doing something that didn’t truly align with ourselves. We do this in every aspect of our lives, and what usually remains true is that in every situation, we are the main deciding factor. It turns out that in every relationship or connection we create in our lives, we are manifesting what we already believe to be true about ourselves.

With that said, I recently got to a point in my life where I truly assessed how I felt about my job and how that affected the direction I was heading in life.

What follows are the thoughts that finally led me to make a choice in favor of myself – and when you’re a perpetual people pleaser like me, that is a feat in and of itself.

These are 4 questions to ask yourself when considering to break up with your job.

I decided to break up with my job - man by water

1. Are you (really) happy?

This should be an easy one right? But how often do we stay in relationships where we are unhappy? The same is often true with our relationships with our job. We trick ourselves into believing it’ll get better, or just a little bit longer, or just until I find something better. We play the waiting game despite knowing we still aren’t actually happy.

I hit this point. I tried to change my outlook, I tried to stay positive – but no matter what I did, the universe kept showing me otherwise.

So I finally accepted how things were and knew that I had to choose something different if I wanted things to truly change.

2. Are you (really) valued?

Just like in a relationship, you want to feel valued for who you are as a person. You want to feel like you contribute something and that your self-worth is a factor and is appreciated. When we start to feel that this appreciation is no longer present, we tend to not value ourselves and feel that we aren’t good enough. If you notice that your opinion is not valued or your voice is irrelevant, run! Not being valued in a job will slowly deteriorate your sense of worth and you will feel like a squeaky cog in a machine (it did to me).

Another measure of value is (I hate to say it) – your salary. I had to live it myself to truly understand that an employer tends to pays you what you think you are worth. How often do we get that awkward, but necessary question before starting a job – what kind of salary are you looking for? And how often do we aim low in fear that we won’t get the job if we aim too high? I’ve learned this the hard way – I’ve requested what I thought I was worth, not what I knew I really deserved.

Value yourself enough to ask for the things you desire and deserve. Don’t downplay your abilities or the amount you should get paid for those abilities.

3. Are you (really) growing?

You know how sometimes you can have a great relationship with someone, only to have it fizzle out over time? You were so excited in the beginning and ready for anything, but then you start to feel that you aren’t growing and that what existed before has completely disappeared.

Well, jobs can have that same effect. Who isn’t excited when they first start a job? You’re getting paid, everything is new, and people are nice to you! But with time, you start to peel away the layers of what it really means to be a part of the team you are working with, you see what the work culture is like, what your day-to-day tasks are – you see the new reality appear after the high is gone. Over time we either continue to learn and grow in our jobs or we fizzle out like a quick romance. Which one you live is up to you.

If you are no longer growing, you are idle.

I got to a point where I was no longer growing – so all the above-mentioned factors compounded on the fact that personally and professionally I felt I had hit a wall. That’s when I knew that I was no longer aligned with my goals or myself.

4. Are you (really) fulfilling your goals?

Who we choose to share our life with is a partnership and a job is included in this equation. We decide who gets to go on this journey in life with us, and who gets to contribute to our dreams (or who takes away from them).

If you feel that your job is not adding to the dreams you have for your life, or if it is in some way pushing you away from the direction you need to go, then it’s time to call it quits. We cannot reach what we want in life if we hold on to passive life jackets, because all they are really doing is preventing us from venturing out on our own, without restraint, and without fear. We can never truly face that fear and see what lies below the surface if we’re stuck floating on top safely.

I held on to what I knew and was comfortable with, and I let this fear guide me rather than my goals.

So, if you are mindlessly getting by at your job, in what I like to call zombie mode, then you are not growing. When you are so immersed in what you love, you will experience flow. You will be so immersed in it, you won’t have to check if it’s lunch time yet.

Regardless of what you choose to do in life, ask yourself these four questions: are you happy, are you valued, are you growing and are you fulfilling your goals?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to assess what you can do to change your immediate environment. 

In my case the answer was no to all of these questions and that’s when I knew… I had to break up with a job that was no longer in line with who I was and what I wanted to do. Once I did that, I almost immediately had three jobs contact me for an interview.

It’s like I finally stood up for what I was worth and the universe reacted in kind.

Now I am more conscious of my goals, what I want in a job (and in life), and what I will no longer accept.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Sometimes we have to have a job lined up in order to support our family and other responsibilities are weighing on us.. But never ever think that you have to settle and be unhappy when you can break up with your job and find something that honors your worth! The minute you choose to let go of what’s holding you back, you will be allowed to let the things that are truly aligned with who you are into your life.