Recession School: Still Scared to Quit Your Job?

June 2010
The thought of quitting one's job is always accompanied by at least one word: "but." It's often followed by "...what if I don’t have another job lined up?" or "...what if I burn a bridge?" The economy is still rough---especially when it comes to jobs---and depending on your industry, it can feel paralyzing to leave even the worst ones. Denverite Andrew Hudson---founder of the very popular Andrew Hudson's Job List---writes about this very thing in a recent blog post, "Is it time to find a new job? 5 reasons to consider quitting." With the amount of jobs crossing Hudson's virtual desk every day, it's easy to trust his judgment about the market. I have recently been switching up a lot of my own work, so I decided to weigh in on his reasoning with some of my personal decisions, below. 1. "You are fundamentally unhappy." Work is hard enough without it invading your free time. I draw the line when I start to have job-stress dreams. (These were especially humiliating when I had a job teaching marching band.) 2. "You aren’t making enough money." Heading to a recent orchestral gig, I stopped by a fast-food restaurant. The place was hiring, and a quick computation revealed I would make more handing out burgers than I do as a professional musician. The fries did not taste very good after this revelation. 3. "Your boss sucks." Last year, in the height of the recession, I left a company for this exact reason. It also caused me to reflect on reason No. 1. 4. "The company is experiencing drastic business losses, and rumors about its bankruptcy or failure are making you nervous." I am a classical musician and a journalist. Not only are most of my businesses failing, the entire industries are collapsing. Next! 5. "Your values are at conflict with the mission of the organization or the way the organization is being run." This one is surprisingly hard for those of us struggling for a paycheck. When I recently discovered an employer was being dishonest, the first thing that popped into my mind was my dwindling income. But, yes, I did quit. (It was a freelance gig.) Then I poured myself a sympathy beer.