by Luke Doyle
There’s no such thing as a perfect job, or one that is satisfying and rewarding all of the time, but that doesn’t mean that staying put when you are unhappy more than happy is the right thing to do. We live in a world where jobs for life are a thing of the past and it has never been easier or more convenient to look for and apply for new roles, but does that mean quitting is now the right way to get your career back on track?
There are so many stories and movies about never giving up and persevering until you finally achieve that goal, but modern scientific research is starting to show that this can actually be a damaging attitude to take. For example, one study into weight loss found that being totally focused on the goal of losing weight actually had a negative impact on people’s attempts to achieve the weight loss.
So having that laser-focus on a career goal isn’t necessarily going to make it happen, and it can also lead to health problems, as another study found that people who disengaged from their goals experienced fewer headaches, eczema, and constipation and also slept better than those who had their eyes firmly on the prize. Goal disengagement has also been found to reduce the chances of depression.
One of the ways it can most affect your career is that sticking with one job in the hope of rising up the ranks can actually negatively impact your chances of actually progressing. A survey of Stanford Business School alumni found that those who had held five or more positions in nine years were nine times more likely to reach senior management than those who hadn’t changed jobs as often. If you are determined to succeed in your current role, you might be missing out on better opportunities to progress your career elsewhere.
Sticking with a job that isn’t rewarding or fulfilling in the hope that it will lead you where you want to go has also been proved to be a bad way to achieve success, as research in the 1940s showed that monkeys solving puzzles actually did less when they were offered a reward than when they weren’t. You might be holding out for a promotion rather than a banana, but that dangling reward isn’t necessarily going to make you better at your job.
This can lead to you going into a downward spiral of performance that can leave you with even less chance of progressing anywhere, as a study in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that people who missed out on a goal – in this case, a financial savings one – were more likely to continue to miss out through feelings of negative emotions and demotivation, which inevitably lead to poorer performance.
Another thing a determination to reach a career goal can cause is a willingness to act more unethically to achieve it. A Behavioral Ethics study showed that participants given a more difficult goal were more likely to bend the rules to get there, so if your career is one where the temptation to act in an unethical way can come around often, it’s best to make sure your desperation to succeed doesn’t get the better of you.
Finally, knowing when it’s time to move on has been shown to boost your emotional agility, helping you deal with difficult circumstances and new possibilities in the future, so don’t be afraid to take a long hard look at your job situation and decide that you need to quit in order to move forward. These tips from NetCredit should help you make up your mind.
Have you ever quit your job to pursue a happier and more fulfilling path? Tell us your story in the comments section.