Should I stay or should I go? 10 alternatives to quitting
Is your work turning you into a jerk? Is 9-to-5-ing stopping you from thriving? Does your current career fill you with fear? It’s normal to fantasise about ending a job sometimes, but there are options to consider before you hand in your notice.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert in quitting jobs. Over the years I’ve built up high level skills in leaving not for profits, farewelling political parties, bidding adieu to councils and retiring early from social enterprises.
While I don’t regret quitting, my most valued work experiences have come from deciding to stick it out instead. I’ve found it very worthwhile to face up to issues at work, fix them and keep going.
Instead of asking ‘should I stay, or should I go?’, a more useful question is:
Have I explored all the options that would allow me to get what I need while staying at this job?
Read on to discover 10 excellent alternatives to quitting. We’ve accompanied them with soothing animal photos, just in case you’re feeling stressed.
#1 Take a break
If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit – Banksy.
Used to love your job, but now you’re over it and totally exhausted? If you’re burnt out, quitting will often feel like the only option.
Take some time to reassess and rest before you make the big decision to quit. Book in some leave, or spend a weekend offline and close to nature for some quality rejuvenation.
Want to know more about how to avoid burnout? Take a look at our tips.
#2 Ask for help with your unreasonable workload
It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need – Amy Poehler.
If a huge workload is making you want to quit, ask for help. If you haven’t spoken formally to your manager about your workload, they may (a), not realise, or (b), think you’re fine because you haven’t mentioned it.
In my experience, no manager, board or supervisor is going to set boundaries for you. You have to set them yourself. Your manager might not respond the way you want them to, but it’s worth giving it a shot before you quit.
For more tips on boundaries and assertiveness, read our post on self-care at work.
#3 Start a passion project at work
Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it – Julia Child.
Does your job no longer light you up? Starting a passion project at work may be just the thing!
You could put together a proposal for improving staff mental health, revolutionise the company recycling system or get a staff fundraising scheme started.
For more ideas, read these 5 workplace passions projects to green your job.
#4 Make a plan to get outta there
Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe – Abraham Lincoln.
If you’re not sure where to go from here, wait until you have a plan before you quit.
Make career goals and set a reasonable timeline for when you expect to complete them. Even if quitting is 6-12 months down the track, knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel may help you get through your workweek with a smile.
Interested in taking a fresh look at career planning? Find out how to create a 70 year plan with Simon Jarvis.
#5 Get a 4 day workweek
Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance – Confucius.
Is your job as a full-time samurai leaving no time for salsa lessons? 4-day weeks, working abroad or working from home are becoming increasingly popular ways of working.
Talk to your workplace about whether one of these options could work for you.
After something more extreme? Perhaps a ‘radical sabbatical’ might be what you’re looking for.
#6 Get a promotion
Where there is no novelty, there can be no curiosity – Apra Behn.
Want to quit because you’re feeling bored? You don’t need to leave your workplace to find novelty and inspiration.
Let your manager know that you’re hungry for new challenges but would love to stay with the company. They may find just the role you’re looking for, in-house.
#7 Get some professional development
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world – Nelson Mandela.
If you’re feeling stagnant, professional development can provide fresh skills, energy and ideas. Talk to your workplace about whether they can fund you to attend a training event, conference or longer term course.
If your workplace doesn’t have the funds (or inclination), DIY with 20 ways to learn something new online.
#8 Start a side hustle
Your calling will never demand that it be the way to pay your mortgage. It is simply begging you for some expression in your life – Tara Mohr.
Who says your calling has to be your full time job? If you want to quit because your work isn’t your life’s calling, take on a side hustle that really fires your dials.
You could find fulfillment volunteering to rescue beached whales, becoming a board member for an NGO that supports refugees or starting up a tiny online business selling your handmade nature-inspired crafts.
Keen to join a board? Read our insights on governance for good.
#9 Ask for a raise
It isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath: […] the fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. – Amanda Palmer.
Do you want to quit because you feel undervalued at work? Would making more money make you want to stay at your job? Ask for a raise!
Find out more about money with What am I worth? Salary guides.
#10 Re-frame how you look at your job
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou.
Remember why you took the job in the first place. Was it passion for the work? A far-off career goal? The desire to buy organic food for your pair of opinionated Abyssinian cats? Tap into that original drive, or create a new perspective that gets you excited.
From 4-day weeks to taking a break, we hope these 10 alternatives to quitting help you. If you’re still set on handing in your notice, all power to you! Take a look at these six reasons you’re not a villain for leaving your ‘do good’ job.