Why do people stay in jobs they hate? For the money, of course. You drive to work each day, dreading the next eight hours, yet you climb into your car every day and repeat the same commute.
Your job makes you miserable. As the day-to-day agony continues, you begin to question your future career path, and find yourself asking, “Should I quit my job if it makes me unhappy or continue working in a position I hate?”
Perhaps your job leaves you feeling constantly stressed. Maybe you spend a ridiculous amount of time at work, need to be on call all hours of the day, or lose sight of your work-life balance. Perhaps work is taking a toll on your health. Do you suffer from anxious feelings or wake each morning with stomach pain?
Sure, you receive rewards for these headaches, but what if you want to change course or change careers? Are you tired of of feeling constantly stressed and anxious? Should you quit your job in search of happiness?
Do You Feel Like Quitting Your Job Everyday?
Leaving your job isn’t just a pipe dream. It’s something you seriously consider, something you want to do. Is it time to make the switch to a less stressful job that will improve your mental health? Is it time to forge a new career path or contemplate a career change?
I bet you’ve thought about it for days, weeks, months, or years but continue to drive back into the office every morning. Maybe you feel like quitting your job every day. Perhaps you’ve even drafted a resignation letter or exit strategy.
What is preventing you from walking out the door?
Should I Quit My Job If It Makes Me Unhappy?
Why are we afraid to quit our jobs? That’s an easy question to answer. We don’t want to give up the money associated with it. Maybe the work is stressful, the job is unfulfilling, or your boss is unpleasant.
We want to ditch our current position for another job, but we don’t want to live on less money. We allow the financial perks of our current positions to outweigh all other factors.
So, here’s the truth, if you want to quit your job, you may also need to accept a lower pay scale. In the back of your mind, you are deeply aware of this fact and perhaps even terrified by it. You want to quit your job, but you’re scared.
Perhaps you sit at your desk, pondering the question, should I quit my job if I am unhappy? Maybe every thought urges you to leave.
How high does happiness rank on your list of concerns? Certainly not as high as paying your current mortgage and bills. So what if you are unhappy at work but need the money?
You try to account for the happiness factor, but you don’t take the time to reflect upon your options. Instead, you think, sure, I’m unhappy at work and dread going to work, but I can’t quit. I don’t know if I can live off less money.
Well, guess what. Now is the time to find out.
How Can You Prepare To Quit Your Miserable Job?
How can you prepare to quit your high-paying job? The first thing you need is a game plan. To begin, you’ll need to come to terms with your future wages. Your goal is to figure out if you can live off of less money before you quit. Doing so will most likely include two significant lifestyle changes.
First, you’ll need to change your mindset about money. Then you’ll need to change your spending habits.
Changing Your Money Mindset
When you earn a lot of money, you tend to spend a lot of money. Right now, you might live in an expensive house or drive an ultra-fancy, overpriced car.
So here comes the hard part. The first step is to stop for a moment. Look around at your possessions and ask yourself, are those objects worth your time, stress, and overall happiness?
Walk around your house, sit in your car, and look at the things you’ve purchased with your money. Open the drawers to your dresser, closet, and cabinets. Touch those possessions. Pick them up and feel the weight of them.
Now ask yourself, do these things make me happy? Do they make you feel good? More importantly, are these treasures worth the extra stress you feel day in and day out?
Is it possible to feel happier by getting rid of these financial burdens? By choosing your overall life satisfaction in place of this stuff?
Change Your Spending Habits
If you need those things to make you happy, then you know you can’t quit your high-paying job. On the other hand, if you don’t feel compelled to keep them in your life, you can move on to step two: changing your spending habits.
If you are serious about quitting your job, now is the time to research potential salary ranges for your new position. Now comes the hard part. Start planning to live with that new salary.
This may include enormous sacrifices. Can you continue to live in your current house, or do you need to downsize to a smaller one? Do you need to pay off your car or sell it and buy a cheaper one?
Review your monthly expenses. What do you spend money on that you don’t need? What can you cut from your life? Take a red pen to every one of your monthly bills. Cut cable, unsubscribe to services, and look for ways to lower expenses across the board.
Remember that changing your habits isn’t about deprivation. Don’t look at this as cutting out everything you love in life. Simply review your expenses and think about the exchange of time for money.
Do you love these things enough to continue to go to a job you hate or to work in an industry that leaves you feeling unfulfilled?
A lot of people are scared of turning off the money spigot. Do not be afraid. You still have your job right now. You are merely reviewing your spending patterns and focusing on what matters.
If you can’t live without these things, you can happily return to your job. There is nothing wrong with willingly exchanging your time for a higher salary. Don’t feel guilty about that choice. Recognize it and accept it.
Imitate Your Future Life
If you don’t need that stuff, it’s time to move forward with the next step. It’s time to imitate your future life. Practice living on a smaller salary for six months before quitting your current one.
Create budgets that reflect your future take-home pay. Confine yourself to lower spending limits even though you can buy two to three times that much.
Start by making small changes first. Pack your lunch a few days a week or go out to eat at less expensive restaurants. Create a shopping ban to stop buying stuff you don’t need.
Then move on to the big stuff. Downsize your house and car, pay off all of your debts, and live off of less so you can bank the difference. Try to create a buffer of money before you quit. You can quit your job without any savings, but if you earn big bucks right now, it’s wise to start saving before you quit.
My Job Is Making Me Miserable
Practice living this life and ask yourself if you enjoy it. Again, don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Simply return to your job with a newfound appreciation for all of the things your income enables you to buy.
Instead of thinking, “I’m unhappy at work, but I can’t quit,” think, “I’m unhappy at work, but there are huge perks to my current pay,” or “I hate my job, but it pays well.”
Then figure out ways to make your work environment and job more enjoyable. Also, focus on changing your mindset to feel grateful for the money you receive. Remember, there are many miserable people at work, making much less money than you are.
Letting Go Of Your Ego
Remember that financial considerations are just one facet of a high paying job. Many of us wrap our egos up in our work. It’s incredibly rewarding to receive big promotions, and setting goals and climbing the corporate ladder can dramatically boost our self-esteem.
There is prestige in working in a professional, high-paying job. We are doctors, lawyers, and software engineers, and over time those titles become our identities.
Sometimes we feel trapped by our professions. We ask ourselves if I walk away from my high-paying job, will people think less of me? Will I be less respected by my peers?
It’s incredibly challenging to let go of this vision of ourselves. I left my position as a software engineer eight years ago, and I still mention my former job in conversation. It became a permanent piece of who I am—a way to value my self-worth above all other things that matter.
You may struggle to figure out who you are without your title. But remember, just because this job worked well for you in the past does not mean you need to continue on that course right now.
If you want to leave, you must ask yourself, “Is my ego more important than my happiness?” Am I justified in maintaining a job I don’t love for the ego boost I feel when telling people what I do?
What is essential in our lives? Is it feeling proud of our professions or feeling rewarded by them? Are we trapped by a society that places too much emphasis on asking, “what do you do?”
Is the quest for a more meaningful, less stressful life less important than your title? Think carefully about this question as you ponder whether to stay in your position or leave your current job for one with less pay.
Unhappy at Work Should I Quit?
You feel unhappy at work, so should you quit? Do you suffer from a long commute, inflexible schedules, a lack of time off, anxiety, a horrible working environment, an unpleasant boss, or are you merely unhappy at work? These can all be the right reasons to quit your job.
How many hours do you spend on your employment? I don’t mean hours in the office, sitting at your desk and staring at your computer. I’m talking about the amount of time you spend preparing at home, making your lunch, commuting to work, the amount of time you have for lunch breaks, driving back home, etc.
My Job Makes Me Miserable
What if your job makes you miserable? Most of us spend at least forty hours at work, not including the amount of time it takes us to commute to and from our jobs. If your job makes you miserable, does it make sense to spend so much time working in a place that makes you unhappy?
Sometimes it makes sense to take a lower-paying job or switch jobs to achieve less stress and misery. Can you make your current job less miserable by altering your job duties or searching for new projects that excite you? Can you find new opportunities within your current position? If not, is there a different line of work or dream job that might make you happier?
My Job is Making Me Miserable. Should I Quit?
Perhaps, but we don’t all need to quit to find happiness. Sometimes we need to find a different position, a new boss, or a new company. The next job might provide the ability to learn new skills or explore new areas of career development.
Before you jump ship or walk out the door, take a deep breath and ask yourself what you dislike about your job. Maybe you don’t mind your current career. Perhaps you are burned out by long commutes or annoying coworkers.
Can you work remotely a few days a week or arrange a compressed schedule that involves less commuting? Can you come to the office during core hours?
Set boundaries for how many hours you work and make sure to take breaks throughout the day to calm your nerves and ease your mind. Carve out time around your job for the people and passions that matter.
A perfect new job may not exist, and quitting your current job won’t ensure you love your next one. Sometimes leaving a higher-paying career for happiness doesn’t make you any happier at all.
It may cause more stress as you struggle to pay your bills and question your decisions. A high income makes life a whole lot easier than a low one. Sometimes it’s worth pushing through the not-so-great aspects of life to make other aspects, like paying your child’s orthodontist bills and mortgage easier.
Every situation is not the same, so think carefully before quitting. You might want to undergo an internal job search too. There may be a better job waiting for you in a different department or with a different manager.
What Do You Want Out of Life
So what can you do if you are unhappy at work but need the money? Most of us will agree that money isn’t all that great if it makes us utterly miserable. Some of us are willing to downsize our lives and earn less money in exchange for a better work-life balance.
A few years ago, I met a woman who left her law practice to become a waitress in a local taco bar. She told me she was tired of wearing a suit, standing in front of a judge, and listening to people fight and argue with one another.
The waitress didn’t intend to continue waiting tables. It was merely a place to land while she figured out what to do next. She enjoyed chatting with customers and telling tourists about all of the best places to visit in town. Best of all, she said, “When I leave my job, I don’t take any work home with me. At my old job, I constantly thought about my clients and their cases. Now I go home and wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow. I no longer spend my nights clenching my teeth in my sleep.”
“I can live a simple life,” she told me. “We don’t need nearly as much stuff as we think we do. What we need is to feel happy, and I feel strangely happy waiting on people right now.”
Priorities Outside of Work
When we think about work, we often think about the eight hours we sit in the office, but few of us think about the impacts on the rest of our lives. How does your job impact your mental health, partner, and family?
Does your current line of work allow you to focus on your relationships? How often do you find the time to visit with friends and family?
Do you come home completely exhausted from a long day in the office? Do you crash onto the couch? Feel easily agitated or lash out at your family?
Would a new line of work improve your health? I’m talking about both your mental and physical health. Do you move around much during your workday? Would you prefer a job that allows you to step outdoors or move around more often?
Does your job allow you to pursue your passions during work or outside of working hours? Many of us spend so much time at work that we cram the enjoyable parts into nights and weekends. Are you able to do anything fun Monday through Friday? Would quitting your job allow you to feel more engaged in the day-to-day activities of your life?
I left my job when my first child was born. A lot of people leave high paying jobs when their priorities change. We tend to jump ship after we become parents, become ill, or tend to sick parents.
Life-changing events force us to reflect on the aspects of our lives that matter most, but why do we wait for life-altering situations. What matters most to you right now?
Your list may include titles and high salaries, but most likely, it won’t. It will consist of the people you wish to spend time with and the passions that your heart yearns to pursue.
Living a Life That Matters
I felt like a treasured member of my team in my old job. I worked harder and longer than any of my coworkers and put my heart and soul into my work.
After I left, others stepped in and took over my tasks. The work moved more slowly, but it moved forward all the same.
Deep inside, we all want to live a life that matters. Did any of the code I write make a difference in the world? No, not really.
It’s tough to quit a high-paying job for a lower-paying position. It’s also tough to walk away from all that money once you start receiving it.
It might feel like leaving your corporate career is a terrible decision. Should you walk away from guaranteed six-figure salaries and large yearly bonuses?
It’s scary as hell. I know and did it. Then I questioned my decision to quit my high-paying job.
As I reflect on that decision, I have come to one conclusion. We only get one chance to live this life, as far as I know. I could continue to wake up each day and sit in a cubicle or search for a more meaningful path in life. Did I want more money or more time? I chose time!
The scariest thought isn’t missing out on the toys and treasures of a high-paying job. It’s the fear of postponing a meaningful life for a future that isn’t guaranteed.
Will you quit your job if it makes you unhappy? Do you have a game plan, or have you already left your job searching for something better?
- Live Simply, Quit Your Job and Follow Your Dreams
- Quitting My Six-Figure Job: Walking Away From a High Paying Career