get out of employment

It’s happened gradually over time and you’ve finally accepted that you really hate your job. Over the years, you’ve toyed with the decision to get out of employment. You haven’t done anything about it…yet.

Every time you meet someone who’s managed to get out of employment, you wonder why you’re unable to do the same. Maybe you’ve even explored different business ideas you can start. Anything is better than coming back to this job daily!

What you know now is that you have to decide soon because going to the office is making you sick – literally.

Does this sound like you?

Every month, I meet people who’re tired of being employed. I also meet others who just upped and quit their jobs. They were so tired that it was better to be jobless. Unfortunately, many people stay in jobs that are killing them slowly.

Some got the courage to quit their jobs but soon found themselves back in the rat race. Being broke and having to depend on your family or spouse financially is a real eye-opener!.

This article is for you if you’re debating whether it’s time to get out of employment. You’re tired of working hard for other people and being unappreciated. You’re also tired of being sick and have decided that no job is worth your mental, physical or emotional health.

Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment. Consult a doctor or therapist before making decisions that will affect your health in any way.

5 times when it’s OK to quit your job without a plan

1. You’re in a very toxic environment

You not only hate your job, but your working environment is very toxic. You work long hours without compensation or time off. Bosses lord over everyone and degrade or put down people. In the same way, employees can’t trust each other and there’s a lot of backstabbing.

You could also be working for an organization that keeps people on toes by threatening them with retrenchment or lay offs. Or maybe there’s always a carrot that’s dangled in front of you and it keeps moving just when you’re about to hit your targets. It feels as if you can’t win no matter how hard you try.

It’s reached a point where you hate Mondays and dread going to work.

Not many people get a chance to fight back or blow the whistle at organizations that treat employees like crap. Many just leave quietly or get forced out by the bullies.

The few that do blow the whistle or fight back give a very revealing behind-the-scenes look. This is what Susan Fowler did when she blew the whistle on gender discrimination at Uber.

If you’re in a toxic environment, the only way out is to leave. You may not have a new job to go to as Susan did, but you will be better off mentally and emotionally. You can look for a job in an organization that cares for its employees’ welfare once you’re out of your current toxic environment.

Related article: 8 Toxic Relationships You Need to Detox From

2. Your job is making you sick

I’ve met people who pass by the hospital on Monday mornings because they get terrible headaches when they think of going to work.

Work-related depression is also making inroads in Kenya and we now have functional depressed people, if there’s such a term. These are people who are clinically depressed. Even so, they continue with normal activities and have mastered how to hide the depression from family, friends and colleagues.

Other signs of work-related illness include being tired all the time, sleep deprivation and having many visits to the doctor for illnesses that you never had before. You’re in a never-ending roller-coaster. You don’t know how to get out of it and your body is responding by forcing you to slow down or stop.

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3. Your organization is talking of retrenchments and layoffs

It’s never a good sign when an organization hires external consultants to evaluate the company’s efficiency. It’s even worse when your department or job is in the limelight, and the consultant is asking a lot of questions about exactly what you do there.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that your job is on the line when the company suddenly announces a retrenchment exercise and offers a severance package for volunteers.

If this happens in your organization and you’re thinking of leaving, then consider it a blessing in disguise. Take the severance package and leave. At least, you’ll have some money to buffer you as you look for another job or start your business.

You may want to gamble and see if your job will be among those that are kept. But, chances are that you could end up losing both your job and the severance package. So if you’re ready to leave, take the package and leave.

4. You’ve outgrown your job and/or organization

Not all people quit because they hate their jobs or employers. Sometimes, it’s simply that you no longer suit this job or organization anymore. This may have been your dream job when starting out, but you’ve gone as far as you can or want to.

You’ll know that it’s time to leave when going to work no longer fills you with excitement. Your days are filled with nothing more than moving through the day so that you can earn a salary at the end of the month.

This is what I’ve heard from a number of clients who outgrew their jobs and didn’t realize it:

  • “It’s just the same. Nothing ever changes.” – in response to the question “How have you been?”.
  • “I could do this job with my eyes closed. I’m so bored…”
  • “I need to recharge my job otherwise I could kill myself and somebody” – said jokingly but you get the hint about how bad things are.
  • “I really hate Mondays. There’s nothing in that job or company that excites me anymore. I really hate going to work.”
  • “I’m really unhappy. I have this great job with amazing perks and I’m not happy.”
  • “No one understands me when I tell them that my job is killing me.”

If you love your job, work for an amazing organization, have risen up the ladder and gone as far as you can go, but you’re very unhappy, these a signs that it’s time to consider moving on.

Sometimes, the best medicine in such a case is to quit and then map your way forward as opposed to taking time to look for the perfect place to move on to.

Of course, quitting doesn’t mean that you wake up and just leave. Take a calculated risk and prepare yourself emotionally and financially. Quit when you feel that the time has come for you to leave. Also, leave when you’re ahead of the game and you’re still on good terms with everyone, especially management.

Quitting a great position and company is a risk. However, if you force yourself to stay, chances are high that you will start sabotaging yourself subconsciously and lose the strides you’ve gained in that organization.

Related article: 5 Unexpected Results When You Quit Your Job

5. You’re in the wrong job or career

This one’s a bit tricky than the others. You’ve spent many years growing your professional credentials and experience in this career. Unfortunately, this is not your dream career or job.

The biggest challenge here is the fact that you’ll be leaving a position where you’ve amassed credibility and success, and moving into one where you’re a nobody. That’s a huge beating for the ego because we tend to get attached to our positions, titles and perks.

If you’re ready to move into your dream job or career and cannot stand working in this one anymore, then I recommend you start by beefing up your savings before quitting. Also, start exploring your dream career in your free time.

Here are some things to do:

  • Sign up for college classes: This is easy to do even if you’re busy in your job as you can take online classes. You’ll also find that having this new focus on your passion will motivate you in your current job. You can also read books or attend talks if you can’t afford to sign up for classes now.
  • Hang out with people in your dream job, career or business: Start attending networking events where you meet people who are where you want to be. This is great for networking purposes and to make new friends and research your passion.
  • Evaluate your current job or career: Find out what you like and don’t like about your job or career. This will help you map out the way forward after quitting.
  • Give yourself a time limit: It’s easy to lure yourself back into thinking about the perks that lose when you quit your job. However, this motivation doesn’t last long. Set a date for quitting and then quit your job when that date reaches. Not having a job may be all you’ll need to push you into following your dream.

6. You have a financial cushion

It’s easier to quit your job without a fallback plan when you have enough money to take care of your expenses for at least 12 months. This financial cushion will give you a buffer of time within which you can explore your future without pressure.

This cushion should have enough money to pay for:

  1. Rent/mortgage and utilities.
  2. Groceries and supplies.
  3. School fees (if you or your children are still in school).
  4. Medical expenses.
  5. Seasonal expenses such as clothing.
  6. Automobile expenses (fuel, repairs, insurance, etc).
  7. Other insurance policies (life, home, pension, etc).
  8. Basic entertainment (nothing extravagant).
  9. Any loan repayments or credit card bills you have.
  10. Unexpected emergencies.

This list is not exhaustive. Use it as a guide to calculate whether your nest egg is enough to cover 12 months without income.


Quitting your job without having another one or a business lined up is generally seen as professional suicide. It also has the potential to ruin your financial future if you can’t take care of your personal expenses in the interim.

On the other hand, there are instances when it makes more sense to quit even if you don’t know what you’re going to do next. Every person’s situation deserves a unique solution and only you can decide whether it’s the right time to quit or not.

No matter your reasons for leaving, don’t burn all your bridges with your ex-employer. Take the high road and leave on a positive note even if the organization, colleagues or bosses are toxic.

Your turn…

Is it OK or irresponsible to get out of employment without a fallback plan? Let’s hear from you in the Comments.

(Image credit: Stuart Miles at Free Digital Photos)


Caroline Gikonyo works with high-achieving professional and business women who are stuck, overwhelmed, overworked, unhappy and unfulfilled. She helps her clients become leaders in their professions and business industries once they get unstuck, gain confidence and eliminate time wastage. You can contact Caroline to request for a Strategy Session and find out how she can help you achieve better personal, professional, or business results.