Should I quit my current job?
January 3, 2013 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Should I quit my current job?

I need your help in making a very important decision. I don't know whether I should leave my current job or not.

My main problem at work is that I do not get along very well with one of my superiors. He is what one would call a micro-manager and often makes me feel stupid, inattentive and inadequate. There is not much I can do about this and I find it more and more unbearable. Our relationship probably won't change and there is also no opportunity to find work in my organization where I have nothing to do with him. Aside from him, I have great colleagues with whom I also spent time outside of work. My tasks at work bore me and I do not fullfilled.

If money wouldn't be an issue, I would quit my job immediately. However, money is an issue. I would receive German unemployment benefits (about 60% of my current salary). This would be enough to survive but I could not pay back my student loans any further.

I am afraid it will take a lot longer to find a new job than I might think right now.

Have you been in similiar situations and what have you done? What helped you in making your decision? Based on what criteria should I make my decision?

I would especially be interested to hear from people who quit their job and didn't find another one for a longer time than they anticipated. Did you ever regret your decision?

To be honest, I would like to have a software which calculates based on various factors what the best option is for me. I know this is not possible and in the end I have to make this decision on my own but maybe you can help me a bit with your life experiences.

If it makes a difference: I am 30 and have a Master degree in the field of social sciences
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total)
Start applying now for other jobs --- putting it off only means dragging out your misery with the current job.
posted by easily confused at 7:24 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Why not interview for other jobs while staying where you are until you get a better offer? That takes a lot of risk and unknowns out of the decision.
posted by mochapickle at 7:24 AM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

Is there any particular reason you can't be looking for a job while remaining at your current job? I think that is what most reasonable people do in this situation.
posted by Grither at 7:24 AM on January 3, 2013

Don't quit your job yet. Get serious about finding a new job for sure, but the situation you are describing isn't one where I think it's a smart idea to run for the hills. You can't afford to quit your job and I'm no expert on the German job market, but unless going to work is causing you physical stress or you've started to notice a change in your behaviour because of work, stay where you are, start applying elsewhere and once you have a new job, quit. It'll be the best feeling ever to walk away and never have to look back.
posted by GilvearSt at 7:27 AM on January 3, 2013

OK, say you look for a new job and (miraculously) find one in exactly the amount of time that you think you will. Which of these statements do you think is likely to get you a higher salary at that new job?

"I'm currently unemployed."

"I'm currently employed at X company and making $X per year."

Quitting before finding a new job is almost always a dumb decision. You don't need a calculator to figure that out.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:31 AM on January 3, 2013 [8 favorites]

I've definitely regretted quitting a job before lining something else up. Do that, instead.

I know it can feel untenable to remain under the thumb of such an unpleasant personality while doing things that don't fulfill you, but the stress of going from that to not knowing how you're going to stay on top of the responsibilities in your life is not worth it, in my experience.
posted by batmonkey at 7:32 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I quit my job (horrible manager) before lining up a new one. It worked out ok but only because my husband was bringing in money (and providing health insurance), we ate with my mom most nights, and did without a lot of our comfort items. We probably had about 60% of our income coming in at that point.

I don't regret it at all, even though it took me about 4 months to find a job (temp, no sick days, no vacation days) and then another 6 to find a stable permanent job with benefits (best job OF MY LIFE for what it's worth). My old job was sucking my will to live and not having to deal with my old boss was a HUGE boon to my mental health.

That said, it was a rough year and I am not necessarily recommending going that route. I think it's always better to have something to go to rather than coming from a place of desperation. If you really can't take it though, and you do have some money coming in to keep food in your belly and a roof over your head, there are ways to make it work.

Good luck.
posted by Kimberly at 7:45 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I speak from an older generation. I think the issue about regret and was it the right decision is a matter of time frame. Right now, because of your finances, you are focusing your decision on the next 3-6 months, then the next year when you will be looking back on it as did I do the right thing, is my new company more evil than old company, do I still have drinking buddies, etc. I have left jobs I regretted doing so in that time frame. I have stayed at jobs, I have regretted.

BUT, looking back on a 25 year career, one of the jobs I left that I regretted back then because I was poor and had to live at home, turned out to be the best move in hindsight in my career. While I struggled for a year or two, I ended up being really happy and making more money than I ever dreamed of.

Your current situation sounds more like a job than an opportunity. Your tasks at work bore you, you are not fulfilled and the chance of moving up and getting fulfilled do not sound likely. You should take the time while employed to figure out the position that will be to you, an opportunity to be fulfilled, to make decent money for your lifestyle (or hoped for lifestyle). Then plot out a plan to get that opportunity.

There is a big distinction between a job and an opportunity.

Seeing as money is an issue and your time frame seems to be focused on the here and now more than the later, I would agree that you should start looking for new job while still employed. Keep the job until it becomes so unbearable you refuse to get out of bed in the morning for a week or two straight. Then quit, not yet.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:47 AM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Per many people above, look for a new job without quitting your old job.

However, I would add this:
1 -- Set a deadline, somewhere between 6 months and 2 years from now.
2 -- Pick a cause you really believe in and start volunteering for it -- a political party, a non-governmental organization, cleaning up a local river, anything that you're passionate about. Maybe even pick more than one, in case the local organization of your favorite cause turns out to be a bunch of assholes.

If you still haven't found a new job by your deadline, quit anyway and volunteer full-time (while still devoting 2-4 hours a day to your job search). In between today and your deadline, save every pfennig you can.

Also, if you're not using your school's alumni network, start hitting that hard.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely try looking while you're still employed, but if you find you can't stand it any more (and I wouldn't blame you - micromanagers are the worst), I definitely recommend temping. If they have that in Germany. Also, could you get a temporary forbearance on your student loan? I'm not sure if they have that in Germany either. At any rate, good luck!
posted by Jess the Mess at 10:25 AM on January 3, 2013

This superior you don't get along with - do you report to him directly? Is he the only person there you don't get along with? Does everyone else you work with treat you respectfully? Job-hopping to get away from one person is a pretty extreme move unless that person supervises you directly or there are other problems with the job.

Keep in mind that it's a rare company that has a 100% awesome management team. Wherever you end up next, there will almost surely be a manager who annoys the crap out of you on a daily basis -- and you won't know about him/her until you're already in the job. Plus, that job may or may not come with co-workers you like so much you spend time with them outside of work.

Good luck! It's not a question anybody can really answer for you. Just try to gauge your misery-to-contentedness ratio at this job as closely and as realistically as you can, and if the misery exceeds contentedness by too great a margin, consider moving on.

(Though, as everyone else has said, it's best to job hunt while you still have your current job.)
posted by kythuen at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2013

Don't quit.

You said, "I do not get along very well with one of my superiors. He is what one would call a micro-manager and often makes me feel stupid, inattentive and inadequate. There is not much I can do about this and I find it more and more unbearable."

You can't control what the manager does, says, or how he treats you, but you can control how you react to it. If it's totally baseless criticism, simply let it go. If it bothers you because there is some truth to the criticism, learn from it.

In your long-term career, you'll probably be much better off if you face and resolve the issues with your manager instead of running away from them, for several reasons: First, you can't avoid unpleasant people. You will have to deal with someone like this again. Second, if you can resolve the situation, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and victory over a bad situation, even if you ultimately leave. Third, it might be that part of the problem is *you*; your personality may trigger the conflict with the other person. If you can figure out what that trigger is and work on it, it will help you down the road.

The longer you stick it out, the happier you will ultimately be in, say, five years. If you run away, you'll leave wounded and may end up in a similar situation. If you ultimately solve the problem with the manager, you will be confident when similar issues arise in the future.
posted by Doohickie at 11:22 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Never forget that he may leave soon!

But if the job is unfulfilling, get looking around anyway in your free time.
posted by Idcoytco at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2013

From someone that knows, it is easier to get a job when you have a job. I was also in your shoes with an unbearable boss. Any job opening you may be interested in turn your resume in and be patient. After about 6 months I got another job, I had been to two interviews when my tyrant boss exploded on me because she was bipolar I guess, I don't really know, but I knew God was answering my prayer about making that right decision and taking that job when it was offered to me.
posted by just asking at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2013

On the basis of how I've seen this go for those I know who've been in similar situations: Don't leave without something else lined up.
posted by limeonaire at 5:46 PM on January 3, 2013

Quit after you have an offer to start a different job. This is the clear best course.

In the meantime, try to work on managing your boss (or your reaction to him) better. People are shits everywhere, and you can't guarantee you won't encounter a similar problem elsewhere.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:26 AM on January 4, 2013

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