How to Transition Out of a Bad Job.
Updated: Aug 16
Sometimes quitting a "bad" job is not an immediate option, so how do we cope in the meantime?
For many of us, quitting a job is not as simple as it sounds. Over the years I have read countless articles that basically told me if I dislike my place of employment that I must simply... QUIT. However, as life goes on and responsibilities begin to add up, quitting is not always an option (at least not right away). I have compiled a list of common reasons why we keep jobs that we hate/ despise/ dislike/ whatever word you find to be befitting, along with a list of ways to cope and eventually transition out of that place of despair.
Why do we keep jobs that cause us internal turmoil? Sometimes it goes without saying, we have expenses that force us to keep a steady income. Your family's stability depends on that biweekly check, so going without working will inevitably do more harm than good. There are also those instances where the benefits/ perks are just too good to throw away. Health, dental and vision plans are costly, and to have a job that covers the majority of those expenses gives us one less headache. You may have access to a gym, an onsite cafeteria, flexible scheduling, end of the year bonuses, the list can go on forever. There are things that we are reluctant to go without because we have become spoiled by our employer.
The job market in your particular industry may be highly competitive or openings may be few and far in between, which keeps you on board when you are so anxious to jump ship. It is a harsh reality, but at any given time there can be thousands of people applying for the same exact position, so you have to find your differentiators. I have also witnessed where people are afraid to leave their current jobs because they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone. We limit ourselves because we feel that we have done something for so long and that it is all that we know, but that does not have to be the case. It is important that we do not look to man [or things] as our source of survival.
There are instances where quitting is the only option, but for those with less threatening environments, I have composed a list of action steps that can be taken. They are in no particular order, but hopefully, they will help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and will eventually push you to your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Remember why you are doing it. Your livelihood, your family's stability, your future opportunities depend on it. Nothing in life is perfect, so we have to make sure we are not being insatiable or petty in the sense of always trying to seek out the flaws within the company. Take advantage of the training and educational opportunities that are currently available to you; this will help you to become more precise in your skills and can even make you more marketable to future employers.
Make a work friend(s). Having someone who can relate is invaluable. A trusted work friend can keep you from making rash decisions and can help you get over those workplace humps.
Find an outlet. Finding time to enjoy personal pleasures and hobbies can clear your mind of a toxic work environment. Make sure you are allowing yourself to enjoy life daily, in a responsible way, so that you are not consumed with working. At some point, you have to come out of work mode and fully engage with the other areas of your life.
Apply, Apply, Apply! Completing applications can be a long, daunting, and repetitive task. However, many of your potential competitors did not take the time to complete their applications, so see you are already one step ahead! To give yourself an extra boost, do not forget to include a cover letter, tailored to that specific position.
Network. Go to events, market yourself, and do not be afraid or embarrassed to reach out to family and friends. You never know who knows who, and that can be your ticket to that position you have been eyeing. Nepotism is alive and well people, which makes it challenging for those who are actually experienced and educated to get in positions that will pay fair and utilize your professional skills if you are not well connected.
Give yourself a deadline. It is imperative that you hold yourself accountable. It can become disheartening and frustrating to feel that you are being drowned out by other applicants, but you cannot let that impact your stride. Set reasonable parameters that keep you from slacking on applying or taking advantage of those networking opportunities.
Do not be afraid to move. There are times when a good job (pay, benefits, etc.) will require us to commute a little farther, change cities, or even move to a completely different state. Of course, you will need to evaluate your circumstances to see how feasible this will be for you.
Temporary employment. If you have to make a quick exit to the left then a temp agency may be in your best interest. They are usually quick with placements, (they have to make money as well) and that may be able to float you until something more ideal comes along. Who knows, you may even be offered a temp to permanent position!
Build up your savings. Even if you are content with your job, it is very important to begin building a "rainy day" fund. Life happens so fast, you can be laid off, you may have to put in a two weeks notice before you are ready, the scenarios are endless. Challenge and discipline yourself to reserve a portion of money out of your checks for just savings; do not "treat" yourself or splurge with this money.
Forced entrepreneurship. With all of the advancements in technology, it is so easy to start many types of small businesses. Keep in mind that you will still need to follow proper protocol, have the proper policies and procedures in place, business licensing, and so forth. The takeaway is that you are able to put yourself directly in front of your target market(s) with less time and money.
It is important that you evaluate the reason(s) you are discontent with your current place of employment because if we are not careful we can enter into a toxic cycle. At some point, unless you are fortunate enough to have your own deserted island, you will have to answer to someone, you will have to be in contact with people you do not like, and there will be deadlines that will need to be met. Jeremiah 29: 11 reminds us that, "for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV)."