Is it time to quit? Probably yes!
The writer

Is it time to quit? Probably yes!

Once you start contemplating leaving your regular 9 to 5 job or changing careers, you are probably on your way out. 


After spending a decade or two in the same role at the same company, it may begin to feel like a lifetime, even if your responsibilities have increased over time. 

I have witnessed some colleagues and friends quit their jobs to start new ventures, and others change jobs. However, many wait too long to quit or change jobs. 

And sometimes, it is too late to make any changes. Several years later, those who did not quit look back to when they should have taken the opportunity to change careers or start their enterprise. What a lost opportunity! 

Quitting and starting a second career or professional journey is a real option in a technology-driven workplace where AI is revolutionising work with individuals feeling unengaged, stressed and turning to side hustles as they struggle to achieve their aspirations. 

Quitting is not for losers 

Quitting is an opportunity to reinvent oneself and maximise the benefits from work. Quitting the 9 to 5 should be considered a crucial option in a career journey.

Several months ago, I met a leader who had spent over two decades navigating a thriving career in financial services.

A couple of months ago, he decided to resign as CEO of his organisation in the interest of his reputation. Sometimes, circumstances may force you to quit, and you cannot afford not to be ready to quit. 

There have been instances where hardworking team members were forced to resign despite not making any mistakes.

It stands to reason that as part of career planning, every professional must be ready to quit if need be. Whether one has to quit to save his reputation, health, family, or marriage or quit as part of a corporate reorganisation, it is crucial to be ready. 

The ideal situation is quitting on your terms. 

We work hard to keep our organisations thriving in the marketplace. We fight to secure market share and accounts every day. 

Mistakenly, we adopt the mindset that quitting is not a great strategy. You start to feel nervous whenever you think about quitting. 

The ideas below will help you navigate the decision and hopefully enjoy your career transitions.

Evaluate your professional journey and stage of life
What is triggering the desire to quit? Diagnosing whatever is triggering the desire to quit is critical as this will inform the next course of action. 

Are you tired of doing the same thing for years and need a break to recharge and return to what you truly enjoy? 

Does your work still offer the challenge you seek, enabling you to grow your skills and earn a decent income that supports you in living your life? 

Is your well-being at risk? Do you still find opportunities to build meaningful relationships at work? 

Possibly, you have entered a new season in life where what you might need from work is different. After deciding to settle down following a decade of work in a fast-paced industry, James needed to reduce the long hours he had previously dedicated to his work. 

Staying in the same firm or profession would mean the hours will continue. In this case, changing jobs seems to be the logical decision.

Plan and prepare for your exit

Whatever your reasons are, if you are sure you need to change careers, then it is appropriate to start planning your exit. 


Begin by enquiring what skills you might need for the new career journey you are anticipating and how you might prepare for that. 

It is also important to consider significant life changes. For example, when dealing with potential income shortfalls, which might occur when you decide to scale down or start a new venture, you must prepare financially. 

You must begin to save extra money to help weather initial shortfalls in income following the change. 

These financial and lifestyle change decisions require that you bring on board all stakeholders, especially if you support a family, as you begin to adopt a new lifestyle, budget and spending patterns.


Begin your new journey with curiosity

No matter how prepared you are, there will be unexpected transitory challenges when embarking on a new career journey. 

Embracing the journey with curiosity will enable you to learn quickly and avoid pitfalls. Dedicate time to speak to other "quitters" on similar transitionary journeys to understand how they navigated the challenges that came their way. 

Seek to understand what works. With that understanding, you can leverage your existing strengths in new ways to advance your new path.

Enjoy and take advantage of the situation to make significant life changes

The CEO who quit is now charting a new path. One of the things he has done over the past several months, which he is proud of, “is getting healthy and fit”. 


He told me, “Six months ago, my belly would have touched this table while I was sitting.” What I loved about our conversation was his willingness to keep contributing. 

With all the time on his hands, he is engaged in several ventures and supporting many others. He is becoming a valued member of his community. 

Then he said something that got me thinking. He said many leaders are inefficient in the use of time. 

He wondered why running a small operation would take up your whole time when there are many challenges in the community to resolve. 

Do you have to quit three months into a new job or when you have spent thirty years on a job? 

Well, I know that in between these two time periods, any time is a great time to quit, but you must quit well. Evaluate your options, plan, use the opportunity to achieve significant life goals and do not burn bridges. Burning bridges is not a good reason to quit. 

Be of good cheer!

The writer is a Leadership Development Facilitator, Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant, Founder of the CEO Accelerator Program ( and Chief Learning Strategist at TEMPLE Advisory ( 

The mission of The Leadership Project is to harvest highly effective leadership practices and share them in a manner that other leaders can easily incorporate into their leadership practice. 

If you have an idea or leadership practice to share, kindly write to [email protected]. Until you read from us again, keep leading.... from leader to leader, one practice at a time.

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