Read this First if You Fantasize about Quitting Your Job

When Quitting Is Not An Option

If you hate your job, why not just quit?


Maybe you’re thinking that quitting your job would be the most effective way to overcome your job burnout

Maybe you’re thinking it’s the only way out.

Well often times quitting your job just isn’t an option because you’ve got kids in school, a retirement to think about, and a sassy car with massive monthly payment.

Besides, you just can’t afford to miss out on the all the benefits of having a job like:

  • Comfort – You’ve got a steady paycheck that shows up in your bank account every month without fail.
  • Accountability – You’ve got people depending on you for health insurance, braces, and school bills.
  • Routine – You’ve been doing your wake up routine for as long as you can remember.  It’s nice each morning to do something you know and you’re comfortable with.
  • Peace of Mind – You’re not guessing what you’ll be doing on Monday – Friday and that gives you some peace of mind.
  • Confidence – You’ve got the confidence of a corporate identity.

With all of these in mind, it starts to make quitting your job look like a bad idea.

Quitting Your Job Is Not the Only Way Out

But what about pursuing your dream, living to your full potential, and making a difference in the world?

How can you know it’s worth even taking the risk or making the jump to get out there?

Before you get swept up in making the leap to another gig or even starting your own, consider how you can make it better where you are…after all someone has got to stay, right?

Why not consider staying, but in a different way than it looks for you today?

Hating Your Job Is Not about the Job

why shouldn't I quit my job

Hating your job says more about you than the job itself.

I suspect that last statement is going to be highly unpopular, but I find it to be true for even myself.

I was dissatisfied and hated my job for years but never admitted it was really all me.

Once you realize that hating your job is really more about you versus the job itself, you are suddenly in control.

The walls around the mental cubicle holding you in start to crumble and you get an entirely different view of the horizon (and it can start to look pretty good).

It can be the most logical way out of terrible job.

If you’re still thinking about quitting soon even after you read this then consider the distinction between running away versus running to.

Wouldn’t it be great to be running to the next great opportunity versus running away from something you hate?

Why not make your current job better, get clear on what you love, then plan your quitting as a way to move towards that opportunity.

7 Ways to Deal with Burnout when Quitting Isn’t an Option

Deal with burnout without quitting your job

When quitting your job, just isn’t an option or not one you want to immediately explore, try these tips to improve your work situation:

  1. Get “Active” on the Problem – The key here is to get active on hating your job.  This shifts you out of the happy hour complainer and gears your mindset towards addressing problems. You’ll start taking a proactive approach (rather than a passive one) to issues in the office. You’ll feel less helpless if you assert yourself. Not having authority in Corp isn’t an excuse any more to making a difference.
  2. Laundry List your Job Description – It’s often surprising how job descriptions don’t reflect the work you’re actually doing.  Much less, are they ever updated when your responsibilities change.  Get a copy of job description and start creating a secondary one that reflects what you’re actually doing. Then compare the two and share it with your boss.  Ask them to update the description of your job duties and responsibilities. Point out things you’re expected to do that are not part of your job description and gain a little leverage by showing that you’ve been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job.
  3. Dream – If I asked why you’re burned out or hate your job, I bet you’d give me several reasons why.  It’s interesting though when you ask people what they’d like to be doing they often can’t tell you. Try dreaming a bit about what kind of job you’d actually enjoy.   What work hours, activities, and relationships would actually be part of your day? Only you can answer that.  If you don’t take the time to define it yourself, you’ll be living someone else’s dream, not your own.
  4. Make an Offer – Don’t “ask” to do something new, make a proposal.   If you’re burned out and hate your job then propose something new.  It could be a different department entirely, a new territory, or something as simple as a tweak of your current role.
  5. Make an Offer with an Edge – This is same as making an offer but in this scenario you actually prove it out first without asking permission.  Schedule some of your own personal time to work a project that you’re passionate about and get results.  Then when you make the offer it’s more refined and you’ve got solid evidence to back you.
  6. Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, take a complete break from work.  Leave your laptop and blackberry at the office.  Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence; anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and get a new perspective.
  7. Get a Coach – Often time a confidential, unbiased 3rd party perspective with your 100% best interest in mind is just what you need to get into a more helpful mindset and generate a new path forward that works for you.  Want to learn more, then click here to get a 30-minute call with me to explain.

To Igniting your Career!

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  • Sarah Swingle

    Reply Reply July 24, 2012

    GREAT post, Ben. I really like all the ways you offer to reframe the situation.

    • benfanning

      Reply Reply July 24, 2012

      Thanks, Sarah. Glad you like it!

  • claudia

    Reply Reply July 24, 2012

    I agree, Ben, the first change for a change…..has to be inside our mind and inside our hart.

    • benfanning

      Reply Reply July 25, 2012

      Hi Claudia, agreed. It takes both a mind and heart shift first…

  • Jim Cunningham

    Reply Reply July 25, 2012

    #6! I’m smiling. I’m guilty! I just got back from a 10 day holiday and spent up to a couple of hours every second day (as opposed to every day as a concession to my wife this year) responding to emails and checking my inbox. Junior colleagues would send me incredulous emails back exhorting me to stop working and enjoy my break. But we feel guilty not doing something, we’re addicted to it. The reality is the world doesn’t stop because we’re on holiday (sorry “vacation”!) – let go. My personal excuse though is that I actually feel less stressed by just doing a little bit of inbox management while on holiday. I appreciate it won’t work for everyone but I get so many emails that when I didn’t used to take my BB away I’d stress out the last few days wondering how I’d catch up. Now, I use it to do the “easy” stuff i.e. delete those I don’t need to read, skim the cc’s, do the short and quick replies that take little thought and make a mental note/mark for follow up the more involved ones. That way I’m prepared for most of what will hit me on the Monday morning and I feel more relaxed as a result.

    • benfanning

      Reply Reply July 25, 2012

      Hey Jim, Thanks for sharing your tip for returning from holiday a little less stressed.

      I find when I take a peek at my blackberry turning vacation I may go back to the office with less inbox stress, but when I check it I’m actually impacted on vacation. I find that it steals me away from the present and shifts me to thinking about “what I’m going to do when I get back” or “who can I get on that task now”.

      What would vacation be like if you didn’t check it at all? Would you be more relaxed during your vacation as well as Monday morning?

      Just food for thought…

      • Eric

        Reply Reply July 26, 2012

        I love your reply to Jim Cunningham, Ben. How much better would it be if you could really set someone else up to handle things while you were out. When I was a manager, sure there were things that only I or my boss was authorized to do. But the routine things, I had gotten myself out of that and authorized my “2nd in command” to handle. As new things came up, I made sure she knew what was happening. Before I’d leave for vacation, we’d have a quick “Here’s what might come up” meeting so she’d know how to handle things. If something really strange came up, she could work it out with my boss or just wait until I returned. I never got calls when I was out. I returned relaxed, refreshed, and without a barrage of questions. Most of those “who can I get on that task right now” questions were already handled by the time I returned.

        Don’t undervalue the power of real delegation.

        • benfanning

          Reply Reply July 30, 2012

          Very nice, Eric!

  • Ed

    Reply Reply July 25, 2012

    Ben, I’m not so sure it is entirely ‘about me’. My company has a quota system to tag 8 or 10% of employees as ‘underperformers’ and then deny them a raise or a bonus. I’ve been tagged and I remain angry and demoralized. There seems to be a trend that older workers like me fall into this category. I still like the work and deliver on my commitments but I highly resent the treatment I’ve received. Is there really any point in staying with this dysfunctional organization?

    • benfanning

      Reply Reply July 26, 2012

      Hi Ed, Being tagged as an “under performer” or being put on a “PIP” can definitely generate resentment and anger (the outward expression of resentment).

      Getting that kind of feedback is just someone else’s assessment and is never “The Truth” about you; however, it almost always contains some useful learning points (although you really have to dig to find them sometimes).

      Really only you can make the decision whether it’s time to “cut bait”.

      Since you still like the work maybe you can reimagine your position and make an offer with an edge (see #5 above). Would love to hear how it goes!

  • Olga

    Reply Reply July 31, 2012

    I can sympathize with Ed’s comments about forced ranking, which my company has always done, but again, the power was always in MY hands. At age 50, I made a strategic decision to pursue a highly recognized professional certification (PMP) and wrote a plan to persuade my employer to pay for my materials and exam prep class. I hadn’t taken a 4-hour exam in over 20 years, but I found the drive and discipline to pass on the first try. I decided that to remain relevant against younger collegues, I had to step up and learn new skills and put them to work. I’ve been with the same company for 15 years, but I have grown and changed to evolve with my company’s needs. You need to be the change you want to see in the world and in the business place!

  • benfanning

    Reply Reply July 31, 2012

    Olga, Congrats on your evolution at the office.

    It seems like so many people avoid enrolling Corporate in helping them pursue what they want to boost their career.

    I’ve found that Corp is usually very open to supporting external additional training/education as long as it is positioned as a win-win.

    Glad to hear you went for it!

    PS: Nice job on nailing your PMP on the first go around.

  • Wow, you nailed it Ben, especially with the “7 ways to deal with burnout”!

    I never recommend for someone to leave their job until they have the following to make that transition or a good amount of reserve money to live off of.

    The internet marketing landscape is full of hard lessons, some that can be avoided and some that are just going to have to happen.

    I find that a healthy amount of social engagement is the key to truly giving your business the supplements it needs to be strong.

    We’ve been very successful with forum marketing when trying to capture leads.

    My business partner Matt Ludwig wrote an amazing guest post about it on Firepole Marketing:

    Would love for you to stop by Ben and give us your 2 cents!

    The key thing for people to remember is you don’t have to leave it all to build success.

    There are have been many people that have built successful businesses on the side while holding down a full-time job.

    You have to truly assess your situation (not saying leaving your job is a bad thing…) and go with your gut!

  • benfanning

    Reply Reply May 11, 2013

    Thanks for sharing that, Ryan. Building success on the side of your day gig can be a great safer way to go than just quitting.

    Will check out the article as well.


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