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Even Just Thinking About Quitting Changes Everything

Did you ever wake up in the morning and think, “I really don’t want to go to work today”? If so, what did you do next: linger on that thought or push it quickly from your mind?
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Image Credit: Fabio Sola Penna/Flickr

If you lingered, chances are that thought and the accompanying mood affected you that morning or maybe even throughout your whole day. It dragged you down. If you shrugged off the thought however, you probably did so precisely in order to avoid those negative feelings. You knew you had to go to work, so why do so with a bad attitude? You decided that being positive was important, and you let those negative thoughts fall off.

When you start thinking about quitting a job, the potential for negative impact is even greater. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways that even just considering leaving a job can affect you and your work.

  1. Thinking about quitting perpetuates itself.

It’s amazing how powerful our thoughts are, considering how much we usually keep them to ourselves. But, the things we think about have a tremendous impact on our mood, our self-perception, and even our actions, especially when we have the same thought again and again. When you think about something a certain way (like, “I am unhappy at this job. I want to quit.”) over and over again over a period of time, it creates a habit of mind. So, if your knee-jerk reaction to dissatisfaction at work is to think about quitting your job, you’re going to go there every time you feel dissatisfied. Eventually, it can be hard to tell if leaving is something you really want, or just something you’ve subconsciously trained yourself to stew about.

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Try to avoid taking your thoughts to heart too much when your mood is low, and certainly think twice before seriously considering any major decision during these times. Instead, wait until you’re feeling good to think about whether you need to make a professional change. You could have an entirely different perspective on the matter when you’re feeling a little more optimistic in general.

  1. It will likely impact your performance.

Recently, a paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examined the issue of how work performance is impacted once a person decides they’re leaving a job. A release from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis reported on the key findings.

Researchers examined groups of employees in two separate industries. One group was in the U.S. and the other was based in China. The findings were primarily the same, despite cultural differences, which were seen to have a slight effect. The study concluded that workers are less productive, less invested, once they’ve started to think about leaving an organization. Also, these behaviors were most present “among employees who believed the employer was primarily responsible for their thinking about leaving.”

If you’re thinking about leaving a job, especially if you feel that your employer is the primary reason, you should expect to have to work extra hard to be productive and invested at work during this time. Once you start thinking about quitting, doing your job well becomes more difficult. So, don’t humor those thoughts lightly.

  1. You’ll feel less grateful, which is a big deal.

If you’re thinking about quitting your job, then you’re likely spending a lot of time balancing the pros and the cons. This is an understandable, even intelligent, way to go about considering your options logically. However, enumerating your problems at work and focusing on what isn’t going well can be a huge bummer, and you’ll likely feel anything but grateful for your job during this process. However, gratitude is a really big deal, and it can even boost your career. Gratitude helps us appreciate the little things in life, keeps us focused on the positive, and is good for our mental and physical health and our self-esteem. It even improves our relationships.

So, if you’re thinking of quitting your job, remind yourself to remain grateful for the opportunity and the time you spent there — this could help you wade through this process a little easier. It might be helpful to you personally to focus on remaining aware of the way that considering quitting changes the way you think and feel about your job. It should help you make the right decision, too.

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How did things change for you once you started thinking about quitting your job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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