Quitting a job can be uncertain and scary, here are warning signs to check for, as you make the decision to quit your job.
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Work environments in Africa have multifaceted challenges, from unchecked toxic work environments to low pay because of a low minimum wage. We often stay in limbo mauling on the idea of quitting but not taking the decision. This article is an illustration of the signs to look out for as you decide if it is time to say “deuces'' and quit your job.
1. Work stress becoming a health hazard
If waking up in the morning, work calls, meetings, tasks all give you anxiety, your heart, and mind are telling you what you probably already know, you hate this job. If this results in migraines, skipping meals, chest pains caused by panic attacks, or peptic ulcers, that is a cause for change. In Uganda, a lot of mid-high-level corporate employees suffer from ulcers, migraines, and alcoholism due to work-induced stress. This can culminate in chronic diseases like stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes as you hit your late 40s and 50s. So when you see the signs, take charge and make the decision.
2. You lack the will to do the work you have been assigned or are bored with it
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This sign probably speaks that the work you do isn’t challenging you to be a better version of yourself. It is also not inspiring you to grow which could affect your outlook of self or even make you less productive in other parts of your life. Making the decision to quit is uncertain but helps you find new jobs that speak to the kind of work you like to do.
3. Your mental health is trash as you manage the challenges you face in your workplace
Challenges are part of the job and will either motivate us to find the solutions so we can lead the team or adapt so we fit in. What is the state of your mental health as you find the solutions? Are you happy, anxious, or sad? Are you picking up any toxic habits such as emotional eating or consistent use of sleeping pills or alcohol to cope? Prioritize your mental health by either finding emotional support from colleagues, a counselor, therapist to cope better or jump ship. The jungle isn’t as bad as you think and you will adapt well because you are feeling better mentally and emotionally.
4. You do not see yourself growing in the organization
Small organizations that aren’t growing at the same pace as you are will do that. Large organizations that do not credit what is due to you or reward based on merit will also do that. Do you see a clear path for your growth in the organization? When was the last time you had anyone being promoted? What was their career journey within the organization like? How long did it take for anyone to be promoted? How do you get promoted? If you can’t answer any of these questions and you are looking for career growth, say bye-bye in your mind.
5. You have been wanting a career change
2020 and 2021 taught us, change happens, it is normal and we owe it to ourselves to navigate such unfamiliar ground. One of the ways to work through these changes is to quit so you create room for new interests and opportunities. We have a lot of success stories of Africans who have transitioned careers and are doing really well. For example, Mawuli Gavor a Ghanaian actor, was an accountant before he became an actor. Transitions in a career can happen successfully, so get comfortable with wanting out.
6. You feel undervalued and cannot use your current job to find better opportunities
Unemployment is a harsh reality in Africa so we take on jobs that do not pay as well as expected. Does your salary cover your overhead costs, transport, lunch, rent? Are you able to save or invest? For a businessman, does the job give you time for some side hustle? For a career-oriented person, is it good leverage to get you a better job? One that values your qualifications, experience, and the skills you have picked up so far? Whichever employee you are, if the job you have does none of the above, maybe it isn’t the job you need.
7. A toxic work culture
Toxicity isn’t new in many of our workplaces – senior colleagues ignore grievances shared, harassment done by their colleagues to juniors, among many other things. What is most important for you who is considering quitting is to know what your non-negotiables are. As a mediator, I struggle to work in environments where I do not feel seen or heard. I adapt by bridging the gap through communication and providing possible solutions. When my endeavors fail consistently with no support from management, I start to quit mentally. You too need to know what you can and cannot stand, so you decide to either stick it out or quit.
8. Lastly, life-threatening work conditions
Only in Africa will you hear someone say, “They threatened me with a gun to sign the contract”. You are not a vigilante or freedom fighter, you are a great employee trying to make some money. Any form of life-threatening work condition is definitely a billboard sign for you to quit. For example, lack of PPE for people working in the engineering, chemical and mining industry, threatening emails from superiors and colleagues, physical threats, should all remind you to value your life and worth because you deserve a calm, peaceful work environment.
Making the decision to quit a terrible job can be uncertain but it is very liberating. Trust that you are making the right decision as you do it. Be expectant and hopeful that there are better opportunities out there for you.
Here are a few other resources you may find helpful.
What to do before you quit your job