- Sascha Erni, .rb/Flickr
Sometimes, it’s just time to move on from your job.
You could be unhappy with your work or company. You could just want something more out of your career.
Or, if you’re not sure whether or not it’s time to go, you could learn from the real life experiences of others.
Business Insider spoke with people from a variety of fields who have all, in the past, decided to leave their jobs and move on to something new.
Here’s what they had to say about quitting and pursuing a different path:
1. ‘I wasn’t going to learn anything further’
If your job feels way too easy, you might see that as a good thing – at first.
However, if you’re really not learning anything new at work, then you’re job is definitely not enough for you anymore. Stagnation is more insidious than an obvious issue, like having a bad boss. Still, it can hamper your career over time if you don’t do anything to combat it.
“When I started my career, I worked for a large, well-known company,” said talent management solutions provider Cornerstone OnDemand‘s COO Kirsten Helvey. “At around the five-year mark, I had a gut feeling that no matter how long I stayed, I wasn’t going to learn anything further. That realization left me feeling extremely insecure, but I forced myself to find confidence by making a drastic decision: I quit, packed my bags, and moved across the country to California. It was one of the scariest and most insecure moments of my life.”
Helvey said that she went from working in a management position to serving food and drinks and running errands. However, the risk eventually paid off. She ultimately joined a tech start-up as employee number 30 and said that she has “never doubted that decision” she made to shake things up.
2. ‘My body would physically react, my stomach churning’
Amber Sutton, a former NASA employee, said that she would finish a project and find herself bored. However, she was still reluctant to quit, so she decided to transfer to DC for a change of pace.
“After switching departments and cities, the first major sign hit when I’d engage in conversation regarding retirement with my coworkers,” Sutton said. “My body would physically react, my stomach churning, at the thought of being in my current position until retirement. As amazing as NASA was, I was dissatisfied, which was a huge sign that I needed to figure out what I wanted to, not just how to pay the bills. I was in a new city with no friends and had to build my life from here. I wasn’t getting excited to wake up and go work at NASA every day because my passions didn’t align with what I was doing there.”
She said she finally realized that she really wanted to be around animals, which led her to ultimately leave her job to open two canine daycare Dogtopia franchises.
“I don’t get sick thinking about retirement and I go to work smiling every day, surrounded by lovable pups,” Sutton said.
- Craig Dennis/Flickr
3. ‘I was bored’
“I held my last position for eight years,” said Anna Burke, vice president of marketing at employee engagement platform HighGround. “I loved the company, the culture, and the professional experiences it afforded me. But, there came a time when I was feeling stagnant. I was bored more often than not and started to feel drained by an increasing amount of internal politics. I had outgrown my position and there wasn’t an opportunity for advancement. I knew it was time to move on. I tried not to let emotions get in the way and focus on the potential opportunities that lay ahead of me.”
4. ‘It sounds cliché, but life is short’
In many cases, quitting your job isn’t about leaving a bad situation. In fact, your current role might be ideal in almost every way. Still, that doesn’t mean you should hang on if you’re unsatisfied.
“It sounds cliché, but life is short,” said Kira Karbocus, head of finance at Fingerpaint Marketing. “The hardest decision to leave an employer, for me personally, came when I had everything most employees wish for. I had a supportive boss, colleagues I learned from, indefinite job stability, and excellent benefits. Above all, I worked for a very well-respected company. How could I be unfulfilled? Was I crazy? I had to ask myself what was most important to me in my career. The answer, above all else, was opportunity for growth.”
5. ‘There is the opportunity to be your own boss’
Adele Ankers, a freelance reporter and member of freelance management system Work Market, said that she enjoyed her previous role in the marketing sector, but ultimately wanted more freedom in choosing her projects.
“As a freelancer, there is the opportunity to be your own boss, manage your own schedule, and have increased flexibility in a distraction-free environment without expenses,” Ankers said. “You also have the opportunity to receive higher rates of pay for varied projects that you are genuinely passionate about.”
- Pierre Guinoiseau/Flickr
6. ‘It was a vicious cycle’
Stacy Bennett, a former director on a corporate customer team, said that she knew she had to switch jobs when her personal relationships began to take a hit due to her schedule.
“In many ways, I was successful in the eyes of others, but I worked at my career constantly and consistently fell short of giving attention to those I loved most,” said Bennett, who left to open a Big Frog custom t-shirt franchise. “It was a vicious cycle. I worked relentlessly to be successful, judging myself mostly as career and monetary success, and I failed miserably on a personal level.”
In February of 2009, she decided to switch things up.
“I created a mission statement in order to live my life moving forward with a purpose: ‘Help everyday people do everyday things every day,'” she said. “Trying to live my purpose statement in the corporate environment left me very unfulfilled. I wasn’t making an impact on people at all and frankly, my quality of work was as good as it had ever been. So what was the problem? The issue wasn’t that I was failing to live out the statement, it was that I was becoming more and more disenchanted with corporate culture and needed a career where I could flourish both professionally and personally.”
- Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr
7. ‘I would be left at the station’
If you’re only really getting excited about things outside of your company or field, consider making a big shift.
“I was constantly reading about startups and internet companies, and their speed and culture was extremely appealing to someone spending a lot of time navigating corporate bureaucracy (not my strength),” said president and CEO of fashion and lifestyle brand Coveteur Warren Webster. “I also started to feel like the digital train was speeding ahead, and if I didn’t jump on, I would be left at the station with my handful of magazines.”
8. ‘I was eager to get back to the ‘other side”
Jodi Slater spent most of her career working at startups as a software designer. However, before she decided to go out and found tech accessory brand Bytten, she was working in a different capacity.
“I was in a role where I was advising, not building brands, and I was eager to get back to the ‘other side,'” she said. “For others that are considering taking a leap, my advice would be to leave your job when you have the three C’s: confidence, connections, and capital.”
- Phil Parker/Flickr
9. ‘If you consistently dread Mondays, you’re probably not in the right job’
In Jake Saper’s experience, the feeling of boredom and the Sunday night blues have both been sure signs that it’s time to leave for something new.
“The best way to know a job has run its course is when you stop learning from the people around you,”said Saper, the principal at venture capital firm Emergence Capital. “When the learning curve flattens, so does personal growth. And job performance typically follows. One other simple test: How do you feel on Sunday night? If you consistently dread Mondays, you’re probably not in the right job.”