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For Mental Health’s sake - Quit that Job!

Not loving your job or, more specifically, just plain outright hating it can cause more than just unhappiness in your career or professional dissatisfaction. It can take a major, lasting toll on the state of your mental health and wellbeing as well. And sometimes, the only solution is to pull up your socks and quit.

The decision to leave a job for the sake of your Mental Health and wellbeing is a massive one, that comes with the weight of shame and guilt, especially in a society which often dismisses or stigmatises Mental Health distress. Society apart, very often you may also catch yourself dismissing your concerns as ‘not that bad’ or find yourself telling tell yourself that you’re being ‘weak’ for being unable to cope with a job. But in reality, leaving a job if you notice toxicity in the workplace or it taking a toll on you is not a sign of weakness - it is a sign of making yourself a priority. This piece will throw some light on what are the tell-tale signs we should look out for to understand the toll a workplace is taking.

Put simply, a toxic workplace can be defined as any job where the work, the atmosphere, the people, or any combination of those things cause serious disruptions in the rest of your life. When it comes to quitting toxic workplaces, recent studies show that 50% of Millennials and 75% of Gen-Zers quit a job due to issues related to mental health which included an alarming rate of increase in burnout, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts amongst them. One of the reasons we don’t realise how hard we are pushing ourselves is that this cycle of overwork is fueled by a culture that teaches us to value making immense sacrifices to achieve big goals - this has been normalised, but in reality it is extremely toxic. We’re often forced to choose between a promotion and quality time with family, or sacrificing sleep for extra productivity. This pressure to push oneself can lead to burnout for anyone.

When people look for a job, at any age, it's often because they are feeling burnt out at their current job. Job seekers complain of long hours, unrealistic expectations from their bosses, the pressure to be plugged into technology and available nights and weekends, being gas lit by their boss, stuck in their jobs without any upward mobility and not realizing the monetary rewards for all their hard work and efforts as common reasons to quit. All these are factors which can take a significant toll on an individual’s Mental Health and emotional wellbeing while also having an impact on their physical health. Work-related burnout is more common than we would think and results from long-term, unresolvable stress on the job. Put simply, burnout is when you’re emotionally and physically drained, disillusioned and exhausted.

it can be helpful to assess how your present situation is impacting you physically and mentally. Few questions which help to think over include:

Do you still connect to a broader sense of purpose?

Does your work enable you to pursue other things that matter, like family, community, or activities that fulfill you?

Is your office environment toxic or abusive?

Is it difficult to wake up in the morning?

Are you motivated to go into work?

Do you find meaning in your career?

Are you constantly feeling irritated, annoyed and angry?

Is your boss or any of your colleagues a bully?

Do you find that you get sick often?

How is your energy level?

Have you noticed that you’ve become short-tempered and tend to snap at people?

Are you feeling resentful, lost or despondent?

Do you find it hard to focus or be productive?

Anyone can hit roadblocks and encounter difficulties on the way to achieving a goal, but what is imperative is being able to tell the difference between a simple setback on your path, and when your goals aren’t supporting your growth, happiness and fulfilment anymore. To put it more simply, if you’re finding yourself caught in a situation where you’re having more terrible days than good ones, that’s a sign there’s a serious issue. The same goes for dreading each day or feeling utterly and completely drained every evening. In addition to this some other warning signs to look out for would be a feeling of being so exhausted by your job that it leaves you unable to enjoy time with family and friends, loss of interest in hobbies and activities that you used to enjoy, not sleeping well, finding it hard to be present mentally or finding cognitive abilities impaired, reduced concern about your performance, feeling of a deep sense of dread at the mere thought of work or having the ‘Sunday Scaries’ every week and even seeing a drop in your self-esteem as a result of your job. What is most important in this case is to trust your gut and tune in to how you’re really feeling. If you wake up every day wanting to quit, you probably should.

Additionally, If you have some, all or similar feelings, you may want to speak with a professional or a loved one who you can confide in and count on for support and advice. It may be time to fight to take back your life and gain control over your career. In the short term, you can try to write an action plan to improve your job, build a career strategy to advance, having boundaries to support a rewarding and meaningful work-life and saying “no” at times to preserve your time and energy. However, you are the best judge of your situation and your threshold to cope. Remind yourself that leaving a workplace that isn’t right for you isn’t a weakness, it’s a show of immense strength where you are firmly standing by the idea that your Mental Health and Wellbeing is your top priority.

In a culture where our professions often become our identities, giving up a career goal or even an entire career path can be daunting, to say the least but if your job is making you miserable isn’t helping you to thrive, revaluating your aims might be a good choice. Everyone should be able to earn a living without having to sacrifice their health. In a competitive environment, choosing care and our Mental Health and Wellbeing is an act of courage. If the goals you once valued are no longer compatible with your individual and social thriving, know that walking away isn’t giving up - it’s growing and putting yourself first.


Written by: Vedica Podar

June, 2021


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