Career > Achieving Goals > How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared

How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared

Maybe you’re scared to quit your job because you don’t have a new job, you need the money, or you don’t want to disappoint your boss (that’s me! I’m not your boss…I’m the person who is scared to quit her job because of what her boss will think).

How to Quit Your Job When You’re ScaredIf you need a change but feel paralyzed – or if you’re looking for meaning in your career or life – read The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work.  “It’s a must-read if you’re stuck, at a standstill, in the valley of decision, or have lost passion for life. A great gift for graduates, mid-lifers or those who are standing in the muddy waters of career crisis!” says one reviewer.

Quitting a job can be difficult for many reasons – and most of us can’t quit because we need to pay the bills. But, sometimes achieving your long-range life and career goals has to go beyond the short-term pain of quitting work and pursuing what really matters.

I’m thinking about quitting my job as a Mentoring Coordinator at Big Brothers because I’m going to grad school full-time in September, and it involves a two-day a week field placement. I said I’d work part-time at Big Brothers while going to grad school, but now I don’t think I can do it all.

The hitch? I’m scared to quit because I don’t want to let my boss down. I love working at Big Brothers, and don’t want to lose that connection. Are you in the same boat – scared to quit your job for some reason? Here are a few tips to help you figure out if you should quit your job, why you’re hesitating, and how to quit without stressing out (or freaking out!).

When You’re Scared to Quit Your Job…

I’m reluctant to quit my job because I feel really bad about letting my supervisor down. In the six months I’ve been working at Big Brothers, she has written me two letters of reference and given me a glowing performance review. And, several people at work are on maternity leave and a couple others have quit and are on medical leave, which means my supervisor is super stressed right now.

That makes me scared to quit. I don’t want to disappoint her, add to her workload, or jeopardize my chances for getting a good reference from her in the future.

Maybe you’re not dealing with the same situation – you’re probably scared to resign for different reasons. No matter what your reasons are, these tips will help you decide what’s best for you.

Figure out what’s most important to you (your priorities!)

What are your priorities? My top four are:

How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared

How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared

  1. Go to graduate school (I’ve been accepted into the MSW program at UBC. If you’re thinking about going back to school, read How to Get Into Grad School – Master’s or PhD Programs).
  2. Join an orchestra or band that meets once a week, and play my flute in concerts.
  3. Be a Big Sister (I was a Little Sister when I was 11, I work at Big Brothers, and my husband is a Big Brother. I want to put my money where my mouth is, and be a Big Sister!).
  4. Contribute to my top two Quips and Tips blogs regularly.

I’m afraid I can’t do all that and continue working part-time at Big Brothers. I’m worried I’ll be stretched to thin. I don’t want to run from one responsibility to another, and not have any time to breathe, exercise, walk my dog, or just chill.

My priorities may have to outweigh my fear of quitting.

Decide on your long-term goals

My long-term goal is to work as a counselor or social worker in a hospital, helping people cope with illness. Does working part-time at Big Brothers move me towards that goal, or away from it? Away from it, I think, because it doesn’t increase my skills or knowledge in the field I want to work in, and it’ll decrease the time I have to focus on my priorities and goals.

What are your career and life goals? If quitting your job moves you towards them in the long run, then maybe you need to find a way to be scared to quit your job…and quit anyway.

If you’re worried about quitting because you don’t have a new job or your family depends on you to pay the bills, read Should You Quit Your Job? 6 Things to Consider Before Resigning.

Make a list of pros and cons about quitting your job

I’ve only done this in my head, but it’s especially effective to do it on paper. If I stay with Big Brothers, I’ll get paid. I won’t really be developing better relationships with my coworkers because I won’t be working in-office – I’ll never be around! I’ll be at my practicum or in classes Monday-Friday. And, I won’t be learning new skills or networking.

If I quit, I’ll have more time to focus on my long-term career goals. If you don’t have long-term goals, then it’s time to put your thinking cap on! Or your dreaming cap – because sometimes the things we’re most passionate about are in our hearts, not our heads.

Let go of the rational arguments

I’m a thinker, and I tend to find reasons for everything I do. I don’t rely on my intuition – but life coach Martha Beck says inner wisdom is more important than logic and reason.

“If you’re wondering whether a choice is wise or not, don’t search your mind for a rational argument,” she writes in “The Voice Within” (O Magazine, August 2011). “Instead, hold each option in your attention, then feel its effect on your body and emotions. When something’s wrong for you, you’ll feel constriction and tightness. The wise choice leads to feelings of liberation, even exhilaration.”

The trick is not mistaking your normal, healthy fear of quitting your job for constriction and tightness of making the wrong choice! Sometimes we’re afraid of taking risks because it’s scary to take risks. Fear doesn’t necessarily mean a choice is wrong.

Are you scared to resign from work because you may not get another job? Read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.

And if you have any thoughts on quitting work, please comment below! I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to write about your experience.

May you find the courage and strength you need to quit your job, and move forward in your life.


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17 thoughts on “How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared”

  1. That sucks, Diana! I’m sorry you’re in a dead end job — and that you can’t quit because you’re single with two sons!

    How old are your boys? Can you start making plans for after they get a little older and more independent? It might be time to start preparing them to get out of the house when they’re 18…..what do you think?

  2. I hate my job, hate the hours, hate working every other w/e, every other Christmas and new yrs. I’m 58, single two sons and an lost , at a dead end asking myself every day, Is this my life for ever? How sad.

  3. I work two jobs as well. I work full time as a custodian at a school and part time at a the local paper. The school job i dont really care for and it makes me egotistical sometimes because thats how everyone else usually is. But the paper i love working there. It keeps me human and in check. I joke with everyone and you can tell theres alot of love. Even when we are annoyed and stressed. I want to quit the paper because the work at the school is starting to become to much. And my new co worker is annoyingly draining. So the energy i dont have goes to the paper. Its a perfect set up to. I go to the school at 2:30 and get off at 11:00 but i usually leave at 10:45 cause we can. Then i have to be at the paper at 11:30. So i get to relax for a few minutes. But my problem is i put in my two weeks and last night would have been the night for me to leave but i talked to the boss and changed my mind. But now i feel that was a mistake and i am scared to say something. I dont want to burn bridges because i cant make up my mind. Stay and barely work and ruin my health in the long term. Or quit and probably be depressed. I think im just afraid of saying goodbye to my friend and the routine. I would love to sleep in on saturdays without having to worry about work later that night.