10 Ways to Know It's Time to Say "I Quit"

The video of a news anchor in Anchorage, Alaska, saying, "F*** it, I quit!" live on air went viral over the weekend. Charlo Greene walked away from her job as a KTVA news reporter, in favor of dedicating herself fully to being the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club and advocating for the legalization of marijuana use in the state.

Many people have both applauded and criticized her explosive exit… but many of us can agree that we've all had those moments when we fantasized about throwing up our deuces and leaving a horrible job. Below are 10 reasons you should know when it's time to quit.

1. The money is funny.

I have never been one to let people play games with my finances. Unless your last name is Kardashian, most of us have to work to bring in income and survive. It's not something we do for fun, or to quell boredom. And if your employer is not handling their business when it comes to paying your decent, hard-earned wages… well, then it's time for you to step out and find a job that will.

2. You are not respected or appreciated.

Many of us spend just as much (if not more) time with our colleagues as we do with friends and family. If you do not allow yourself to be disrespected by those you're in personal relationships with, you surely shouldn't allow yourself to be disrespected in your professional relationships. How supervisors and coworkers treat us often reflects how they value us. And if they're not willing to treat you right, they don't deserve your 40+ hours per week.

3. Your skills and talents are not being used.

If you have a number of really impressive skills, but you're seen as nothing more than the person who fetches coffee or answers the phone, then it might be time for you to go elsewhere. Granted, even if you have a job you love, you will sometimes have to do mundane tasks. But if your entire day is spent doing mundane tasks, then go where you can be challenged and engaged by your work.

4. Your boss is insufferable.

I don't believe in working for people who are less emotionally stable than I am. I also don't believe in working for people who are unkind, lazy, or unprofessional. I don't always need to like the people I work for, but I need to be able to understand and respect them. If you work for someone who doesn't quite have it together, their scattered energy can and will affect your performance. Yes, there are lot of crazy bosses out there. But there are a lot of great bosses, too. Go work for one of the great ones.

5. You are not happy and/or doing what you love.

Yes, sometimes we have to suck it up and do whatever will pay the bills. But it can be damn near impossible to focus at work if you're unhappy, or feel as if the life is being sucked out of you. We are all born with special talents and passions. Figure out what makes you happy, then figure out how you can translate that into a means of income… and then do that thing and make money! Life is too short to spend all your time and energy in service of someone else's dream.

6. There are no opportunities for advancement with your current employer.

If you've been at a job for years and you're still at the same position you started in, this is probably a sign that (a) there are no possibilities for you to advance your career there; or (b) there are, but your employer doesn't think of you as a viable candidate for them. Life is about growing and embracing new challenges. If your job keeps you from growing, leave and grow somewhere else.

7. You are not able to maintain a work/life balance.

There are some jobs that require lots of time and lots of energy: President of the United States. Neurosurgeon. Beyoncé. But even Obama and Queen Bey have some time to unwind. If you spend a lot of time working and your personal life is a mess, this may be a sign that it's time for you to find a job where you won't have to sacrifice weekends, vacation, and relaxation. No one can be successful if they're burned out.

8. You have extenuating circumstances that are making it difficult to stay.

Maybe you have a seriously ill relative, or someone close to you has died. Maybe you are having your own health issues. For whatever the reason, there is something preventing you from doing your job to the best of your ability. Of course, having to deal with not having a steady source of income could add stress to your life. But if you have a supportive partner or family members, they may be willing to help out. Or you can request a leave of absence.

9. You work in a hostile or uncomfortable environment.

As women, we often experience some type of unwanted sexual advances on the job at least once in our lives. Add to that being Black women, and you may encounter subtle microaggressions or blatant racism. If you work somewhere that truly makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, (a) report these people, because they're disgusting assholes; and (b) go work in an environment that upholds your dignity and humanity.

10. You want to change careers, go back to school, move to Europe, etc.

Sometimes, you don't need a 100% solid reason to say, "F*** it, I quit!" You may just get a feeling that you need or desire something more, something different… and that's enough of a reason all on its own. Of course, you should plan and prepare as much as possible. And you never know who you'll need to use as a reference, so maybe don't cuss out Jan in accounting and storm off. But if you just need to do something else, go do it.

Lastly, we are often told a cultural narrative that says if you quit, you are weak, irresponsible, or unwilling to work towards success. This narrative is wrong, and is told largely to keep people complacent. Yes, economic hardship is real and jobs are hard to come by. But happiness is real, too. As Black women, we have to be courageous and assertive in building our lives and careers. We deserve to follow our dreams. We deserve to be valued—and even seen as invaluable—in the workplace. And we deserve to get paid according to our talents, brilliance, skills, and passion. 

Michelle Denise Jackson is a writer, performer, storyteller, and teaching artist from Southern California. She is a graduate of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is currently co-producing an original web series, “GIRL, GET YO' LIFE!” to be released in early 2015. You may find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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