The very title of this article sounds crazy on the surface. The unemployment rate is just under 8 percent and the underemployment number is close to 14 percent. In a time of such scarcity of jobs and the overwhelming number of people unemployed, who would even begin to suggest such a thought?

I would. I’m guilty.

Perhaps the pending retirement of Pope Benedict XVI got me thinking in this direction. Or perhaps it’s because I hear from many employed people who are miserable in their jobs. Is it really worth it?

No, I’m not suggesting you quit tomorrow and abandon the security of your paycheck. But I am suggesting you may need to begin moving in that direction. Below are some of the signs that may indicate it’s time for you to quit your job.

  1. When your job no longer has meaning or purpose.
  2. When your family is hurting as a result of your job.
  3. When your job is making you physically or emotionally sick.
  4. When you’ve outgrown your job, but your employer offers you no opportunity to move forward or advance.
  5. When your values do not align with the values of your employer.
  6. When you are hurting your organization rather than helping by attempting to hang on to your job.
  7. When you can’t keep up with the demands of your job.
  8. When you discover you are in the wrong seat on the bus (Jim Collins’ terminology for getting into a job that is an ill fit for you and your talents and gifts).
  9. When it’s time to make room for younger and brighter talent.
  10. When you can no longer work with your boss or your fellow employees.
  11. When you are not paid fairly.
  12. When you just know.

Perhaps you can take some less drastic measures than quitting your job. Maybe your employer is unaware of your issues, and much can be resolved with a healthy conversation. Maybe you’re looking at the glass half empty and fail to see the good qualities of your job. Maybe there are other places in your organization that would be a better fit for you, and you have a boss that is willing to allow you to try a new position.

Or maybe it’s time to quit.

Life is too short to spend thousands of waking hours in misery. Life is too short not to make the maximum contribution with the gifts and abilities God has given us. Life is too short to hold on to a job for the lone reason of a paycheck or retirement benefits.

The time may be right to start proactively looking for another job. Perhaps you can begin something small on the side that could ultimately become a great self-employed job. Maybe the time is right to take that new venture even though it has risks.

The miserable person at the end of her life says she lived a life with little meaning because she wouldn’t make a decision she knows she should have made. The miserable person at the end of his life has regrets because he lived in fear rather than stepping out in faith.

Maybe it’s time to quit your job. The risks may be real. But the rewards can be incalculable.


  1. says

    Wow. This was so for me today. I’ve been wrestling with this issue for a while and only recently taking steps to make the necessary changes (which includes applying for some positions with LifeWay; want to give a good word for a fella?) :)

  2. says

    Excellent article!
    I quit my job a year and a half ago – I fit the first five of your signs clearly. The remaining 7 were inevitable if I were to stay. Leaving took a great amount of courage and there were very real risks, but very seriously – the reward has been incalculable. I would encourage anyone who finds themselves in this place in life to follow your heart and take a leap of faith. When it comes to sink or swim, choose to swim.

      • Susie says

        How did it go? Have you found an employer or job that you envisioned? Just wanted to hear how this turned out for you or others , a year later.

    • Colt says

      I am dying in my job. Bullying, micromanaging, just awful. I have tons of experience and deserve better. I have just been afraid of the economy. I look so beat up that I wouldn’t interview well right now. What do I do? I really want to be self employed. I am so fed up with corporate rat race where they slave drive everyone so those at the top can be billionaires.

      • Wini says

        This sounds exactly like the boat I am in right now. My health is compromised. My husband wants me to pursuit what my passion is. But this means huge leap of faith. I read this article more than 10 times. I know this tough decision is a must. ..

  3. says

    “Life is too short to spend thousands of waking hours in misery. Life is too short not to make the maximum contribution with the gifts and abilities God has given us. Life is too short to hold on to a job for the lone reason of a paycheck or retirement benefits.”

    Can’t say it any better than that! Think about it all the time. I will take purpose and progress over a paycheck any day!

    • Jean says

      That was me but one day, I just decided enough! After another meeting and being made to feel bad about myself yet again, I resigned. Scared? Oh yes. That paycheck kept me enslaved. I had to let go of it. Since then, I found a job that suits my talents and makes me happy. Lots less money but I am working with what has set before me. Life is so much better!

  4. says

    Numbers 4, 5 and 11 are mine for sure, and I’ve applied at a lot of places over the past couple of months, but in this economy, it’s not easy to find work. I know I need to trust God and sometimes take a ‘leap of faith’, but when you’re supporting a family, it’s so hard to do.

    • A Women of faith says

      Aaron Lindsey- I just want to provide you a bit of encouragement. I had a job a little over 1 year ago that I was so unhappy and miserable with. I began searching and applying all over the place. I would go through spells where I said things like “Isn’t this what God wanted?” “Is it my verbage on my resume?” “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” “Maybe it’s not God’s timing.” “It there something I am suppose to be learning from this God?” …etc. I would have times where I would be diligently seeking, then times where I would stop and try to be content with what God had given me.. ultimately getting frustrated with my position and seeking other employment again. All in all, I am now in the exact job, making more money than before, working with other Christians, and very happy! What did I learn… God has to work and we have to allow Him that time. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but sometimes that means He’s got to get things ready for us. Keep your head up. God will supply in His time!!!

      • Lisa says

        Thanks. I know this but lose site of it when I hate my job so much and want to resign first and then trust God to provide. I know that is probably not the best thing to do since my husband is unemployed. I’ll keep sending out my resume and.wait for God’s timing. Until then, I’ll work as unto the Lord.

  5. Thomas Cheek says

    I’ve been considering and praying about this for a long time, so you can imagine my eyes when I saw the headline. A Supervisor just quit with no other job as a safety net, for the same reasons i’ve been praying about

  6. Teacher Ann says

    After 31 years of teaching, I decided to retire in Dec. I had given up all outside activities because my job was exhausting and changes were taking up all my time and energy. I asked my husband if I was crazy for giving it up in this economy. He said if you don’t you’re going to go crazy!! I had not realized how much it was affecting our relationship. I am thankful I had his support and I don’t know what God has planned for the next stage of my life, but at least now I am free to do it.

  7. says

    This article came at this perfect time, or should I say God’s time. This has been something laying heavy on my heart for quite sometime. On top of just knowing it’s time to move on my situation involves a family business, my wife’s family business but family none the less. It magnify’s the difficultly of cutting employment ties. I am currently in college pursuing my passion, English-Lit (I know useless degree (: ) I know the Lord has had it all work out before He named the stars but I still burdens me sometimes. So, thank you for this article and your prays.


  8. Charles Woodward says

    I have had this tugging at my heart for a while and just started a new job in which I am qualified but not content. I feel the job trying to pull me in the direction that is against God’s design for my life and does not employ the talents God has given me or the call upon my life as I feel God would have me do. It is a tough struggle to pay the bills and owe no man anything ,however in is it not God who supply’s all our need according to His riches in glory? Oh for the strength and wisdom to make the right choice and receive God’s blessing upon our labors or labor for that which perishes. Pray for and with me that God’s will be done. As I will for all of you with the same delimma

  9. says

    I have lost my last three jobs, all of which were making me sick, and very unhappy. I only have two more weeks of unemployment, and then I guess I’m on my own. Scared to not have any benefits, or health insurance, but am trying to trust that God will provide. (My options are self-employment, and/or disability. Or partial disability, and part-time work.) A good article, though. I was too afraid to quit, b/c of losing the pat and the benefits, but ended up losing the job anyway, so I should have quit before I was fired! it will all work out, though. Good post; thank you. :)

  10. Karen says

    I could say ‘yes’ to most of these listed, but before I could find another job, they fired me. They knew I was looking elsewhere so they hired someone before I could leave. Not comfortable situation to be in, but I do not miss the job, people, or place. I am awaiting another direction from the Lord. Unemployment takes a lot out of a person and reduces them to much doubt and despair, but I am trusting in the Lord for something better. Do not, I say not, tell anyone that you are looking elsewhere. NO ONE CAN BE TRUSTED!

  11. says

    I hear about 85% of Americans would answer yes to a number of the characteristics listed in this article. Thank you for posting this. The great thing about America is you don’t have to suffer through it, there are opportunities to provide for yourself and your family without having those restraints. I like my regular job, but am developing one of those businesses on the side to help others and give my family options.

  12. says

    Thank you Dr. Rainer. Because of this I yelled at my boss and quit my job. Not true, but like so many others most of these points hit home. Very timely, thanks again!

  13. Lucy says

    Since there was no way to send this directly to you I had to post it here. I believe only people who know nothing about actually being unemployed & having no marketable skills could post something like the article above. The only people I read about who actually love their job are people who after years of training & much debt are blessed & have earned their chosen position. For all the above listed reasons I still could not leave my job. I was released from my last job & now there are no prospects. Yet no matter what the reason I would never tell anyone leave their job. The very worst day at work is far better than any day unemployed. I am sure you wanted to convey something positive for those who may need this but what is someone like me to do?

  14. says

    Your article does drive home the fact that there are many folks who are miserable in their jobs. This is due to a variety of reasons, some self-inflicted and some due to the work culture. I would love to see you address how the leaders who might have perpetuated the miserable environments many people are enduring should change so that it is not such a miserable place for workers. Based on responses to your article and research, the numbers of people miserable in jobs is epidemic. You are in a position to share with other readers how to address the root environmental and cultural causes as well as the exit plan.

  15. says

    Great stuff here. Very pertinent to my family situation. Parents and siblings all live in town and many of us are fed up with our jobs and the overall consumer/material nature of our culture. A lot of “perspective thinking” has been going on, budgets are being cut, jobs reconsidered and the purpose of parenthood evaluated. A couple of us would do well to utilize the list you’ve provided. Thanks for the encouraging word.

  16. says

    Just writing these down, and allowing them to be discussed is huge. Too often in our society we just do what we believe we have to do, which is endure some of what made your list. I think it’s great to have an honest inward reflection as it applies to something Americans spend so much of the lives doing.

  17. says

    I would love to quit my secular job to go into vocational ministry. I have been done with seminary for three years. I have watched three friends ( all younger than I am) get called to churches since January 2013. I have sent out my résumé to 45 different churches/ministries since graduating from seminary. No support or placement assistance from the seminary I graduated from. For now, I will keep working so I can provide for my family. Tough to be motivated to do something that is not your calling..

  18. B says

    Wow, looks like i’m not the only one that really felt this article was well timed. Took a new job 6 months ago experiencing 1 & 4 but now am stick in a situation with 3, 7, and 8.

    I struggle when it comes to “quitting” something, but when you experience panic attacks twice in the past two weeks perhaps he’s trying to get my attention.

  19. Lanette says

    As an artist and a writer working in a position that doesn’t allow for ANY creativity, staring at three beige-ish walls in my little cubicle day after day I must admit this is a constant thought. I’ve jokingly asked my husband if I could quit my job and start a blog for the last few years (the answer is always no) and now that I have my blog up and running the desire to do what I LOVE is even greater!

  20. says

    So very timely…I left my job 2 weeks ago to create a new life using the artistic talent God has given me. I’m starting over, and I know it is what I’m supposed to do. The benefits and paycheck I left behind were the reason I was staying, and I knew it was not healthy. I continue to believe my move is God’s plan, and pray for continued good health and favor as I start my new adventure! Thank you for the great article!

  21. Sharon says

    Please pray for me that God’s perfect will be done in my life. This is the second time this week I have been confronted with this subject. I know it’s time, but…

  22. says

    Thanks , I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found out so far. However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the supply?

  23. Emma says

    This is me in that position right now. I have decided that I am so fed up with work and one of my work colleagues making my life a complete misery and it is starting to affect my health. So my husband and I have decided to go travelling for 8 months. The main decision to go travelling was me leaving my job but my boss has very kindly offered to keep my job open. This has thrown quite a large spanner in the works as I could have job security when I get back and has my back tracking on my initial decision.
    After reading this article it has clarified a few things that shows I really need to get a new job when I come back.
    Thanks for the great article.

  24. says

    Hey Thom. Love the article. I particularly liked your last sentence: “The risks may be real. But the rewards can be incalculable.” Indeed the risks are very real but when a job is seriously effecting both your mental and physical health staying in a job can actually be more risky than leaving it.

    2 weeks ago I took the risk of quitting my job and must say although my future is less certain I feel so much better mentally and spiritually.

      • says

        Thanks Thom, I agree if a job is affecting your health, or your values are not aligned with your employer then after prayer it’s maybe time to consider stepping out the boat:
        Matthew 14:27
        But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
        And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
        And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

  25. Christine Jones says

    I am a third year teacher and I loved teaching during my first two years. This year I have had a tough time with teaching. My husband and I moved and my year has been a complete 180! I have been struggling with getting up and going to work each day since September. I often cry, feel depressed and get frustrated/ angry on Sundays and Mondays because I have to go to work. I HATE the feeling that I have in my heart and I just want to be happy again. I am currently waiting to hear from a job interview but contemplate turning in my resignation before hearing from the new position. I have prayed and prayed about it but I’m about at my end and I am searching for signs and guidance. It’s been heavy on my mind to just take a leap of faith and trust that GOD will catch me!

  26. Allie says

    I am so unhappy in my job. I am a university graduate stuck in a dead-end service industry job that’s low-paying, understaffed and poorly managed. ALL of these statements are true for me, with the exception of 6 and 9 (I’m one of the best employees they have). I would quit my job today and move to wherever the jobs are, but the problem is that my husband has a comfortable job here. If I moved to find work, I honestly don’t know if he would come with me because he would be stuck in the same situation that I’m in right now. I’m torn between my career and my marriage. I’m feel like I’m wasting my skills, my talents, my education (which was EXPENSIVE, by the way!) and my youth.

  27. Michael says

    With all that you said if you found another job prior to quieting, would it be better to retire if you were eligible and then take the new job or just quiet and transfer your 401K to your new employer? I have not been able to find an answer to this question yet on the web and thank you for your article. It is a topic my wife and I have been praying about for a year now.

  28. HisSavedbyGrace says

    I am just wondering whether this becomes trickier if/when a job is affecting your health/family… but you gave your word in a contract through a certain date. What becomes of Matthew 5:33-37? I am wrestling with the balance of my feelings and my deeper (I pray) desires to do God’s will and what pleases Him – whether that is fulfilling my contract or resigning for the sake of my health/family. Would one or the other dishonor God? Under what circumstances? I am not a legalist by any means, but I do want to be obedient to God’s Word/commandments (out of love), and to surrender my plans and actions to God’s good plans for me (whether or not they feel good at this time). I want to fulfill my commitment and would not want an early resignation to destroy my witness as a Christian. Although it is possible to resign, it would be with permanent consequences to my career (I don’t mind about that part)… but it would also be under negative terms, perhaps leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the entire community to which I committed myself. Isn’t God powerful enough to see me through the end of my contract? If I bail out early, what does this say of Him? I hope to hear back from you, Thom, on this – and anyone else. I don’t want to do what ‘feels’ right, but what IS right, by the Word of God. I have been told by others this exact thing: “Life is too short to spend thousands of waking hours in misery. Life is too short not to make the maximum contribution with the gifts and abilities God has given us” … and honestly, that is SO how I feel because I have been so tried in this position. But what is to be said about my contract? Is it wrong to back out? Is it EVER the RIGHT thing by God to go back on your contracted word? I truly meant ‘yes’ at the time I signed my contract, but obviously had no idea it would have these effects. Thank you.

  29. Shanda says

    Thank you for this article. I’ve “hated” my job for several years now – mostly because I’m sitting in the wrong seat on the bus. But I’m currently working toward finding something new. I’ve been at the same job for over 20 years and I didn’t need a college education to get there so my options are few because I don’t want to remain in the same line of work. But I’m selling my house (and most everything I own), moving in with my aunt for a few years and using what would be my mortgage payments to pay for film school. Although I’m single, my family seems to think I should wait a year or two for school so that I can save more money as I don’t have much in savings – so I’m questioning if jumping in is God’s call or my discontentment speaking. As I pray, I keep feeling like I need to just go for it and let God do what He does best: Work everything for my good. What do you think?

  30. Camille says

    I was looking for guidance on this issue and saw this article. I was meant to see this and take the next steps in my journey!

  31. janice says

    this is a great article that i chance upon as I am having some issues at work. I am in a family business for 5 years now and i realized that I do not like the job and I do not like the fact that I see my parents everyday at work. They behavior and character is not the greatest as they have more interest in their business than my own interest. I have voiced out to them before about me wanting to leave the business and all they said was dont do that or they will get upset.
    My mum is also not the best person to be with as she is a negative person and affects my attitudes. She totally ignores the fact that I have a husband and expects me to do personal and business things for her during office hours. Since we see each other everyday, i dont have the mood to see them on weekends to spend a non-business time together, and mind you, even when we ever do see each other on weekends for a meal, the meal will be about work.
    I feel like i need to leave the business mainly for the fact i cant be with a negative person all the time and i am losing my relationship with my parents over a business.
    on top of that, i bring it back home which my husband always have to see me being upset and he hates that.
    he is encouraging me to leave the business too and constantly reminds me that indeed it is healthier to leave and cleave as what the bible also mentioned. To trust and follow God’s words.

    for me, it is hard to let go considering i have been in the job for 5 years and i know that one day my parents will pass me the business. however, it has come to the stage that i do not even want the business as it has given me sadness in which my parents doesnt seem to even know about.

    anyway, i am just finding an opportunity for me to tell them that i am leaving so that i want hurt them….( after all they are my parents ) and also in the meantime try to let go of my burdens and worries for God to give me a good job!

    any advice for me?

  32. Striife says

    I don’t want this to be my regret

    ‘One of the great regrets in my life is that I suffered so many a–h—s so gladly for so many years, all for the sake of a paycheck.’

  33. Mr. Frustrated says

    Thanks for the article. I work two part time jobs right now. One job is at a grocery store (Publix) and one is at a fast food restaurant(Chick-fil-A). I would like to quit both jobs immediately but still need to line up another job first. I am very frustrated, because I graduated from college close to five years ago and still have not used my degree. I have worked at a call center and done several janitorial jobs before my current jobs. My current jobs do not even require a high school degree. I struggle with a ton of anger and envy when I see all the people around me with a college degree and in their 20s that have “real jobs.” To make matters worse, I pretty much got fired at the call center for being incompetent and was basically told in some of the janitorial jobs that I was not good enough. They have also told me recently at the grocery store that I am not as efficient as I once was at the job. But that is probably because bagging and scanning groceries all day is driving me crazy! I already struggled before college and during college with being confident. I now feel like my confidence has become even worse, and I am the least confident I have ever been. I have failed over and over and over again at other things(romantic relationships, socially, athletic teams) too over the years and wonder when I will ever start being successful in life. I also struggle to see how God is working through all of this. I know God has a plan but cannot see the plan right now. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Would appreciate prayer!


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