There are lots of terrible reasons to quit your job. Maybe you had a bad day, or you got into a fight with your boss, or perhaps someone ate your lunch out of the fridge -- even though it was in a bag with your name on it.
Those are situations where it's best to go home, get a good night's sleep, and come back the next day revived and recharged. There are situations, however, where quitting is not only the right thing to do, but actually a good idea. Here's what three of our Fool contributors had to say about when it's time to quit.
There's limited or no room for growth
Maurie Backman: It's one thing to get stuck in the same role for several years at a time, or to feel trapped in the same position for longer than you'd like. But when you come to realize that you're truly in a dead-end job with absolutely no room for growth, then it pays to quit before your frustration causes your performance to suffer, which is likely to happen.
In today's workplace, some companies simply take longer to promote workers than others. If you work for a small firm with a limited number of high-level positions, then you might need to wait until someone above you retires before moving up yourself. And that can be a maddening position to be in, especially when your friends at other companies seem to be getting promoted left and right. So if your senior management team is full of 40- and 50-somethings with no intention of leaving in the next decade or so, that's reason enough to take your talents elsewhere.
On the other hand, if your company policy is to promote workers every two years, and you've only been on the job for a year and change, then it pays to be patient. Promotions don't usually happen overnight, and you may need to wait for one. But if you have reason to believe that you'll be waiting a very long time, if not forever, then do yourself a favor and move on.
Quit for your health
For example, studies have found that those who sit for long periods are at greater risk of having or developing obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and musculoskeletal disorders. This is even true for people who get ample exercise outside of work. (It's estimated that some 86% of Americans mostly sit all day at work.) According to the folks at juststand.org, "People who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40% increased risk of death in the next three years, compared with people who sit for four hours or less."
A treadmill desk isn't a perfect solution, as it can lead to accidents or falls, and some report increased typos with them. A standing desk is worth considering, or better yet an adjustable-height desk, where you can alternate sitting and standing throughout the day.
If you have a long commute, you may end up sleeping less, which also hurts your health, not to mention your mental sharpness. Long commutes have also been tied to increased chances of obesity, depression, and reduced productivity, along with high cholesterol and blood sugar.
Meanwhile, if you actually dislike your job, that, too, can cause stress and hurt your health. Various studies have tied job-related stress or unhappiness to sleep loss, weight gain, weakened immune systems, and, not surprisingly, depression.
Being unhappy at work can even take a toll on your relationships, sometimes leading to divorce. Finding a new job may not be something you're eager to do, but it might be very good for you. At the very least, you might want to change the way you work a bit -- at least standing and moving around more.
Your personal situation changes
Daniel B. Kline: When my wife told me she was pregnant with my now-14-year-old son, I was working as a newspaper editor about a 40-minute ride from where we lived. It was an all-encompassing job that never stopped. I worked early, late, weekdays, and weekends, with not enough staff and too many demands on my time.
With about three months to go before my wife's due date, I sat down with my boss and told him that I was either going to leave or wanted to be transferred to the paper closer to where I lived. I had previously worked there as the weekend editor, knew that the editor was moving to a new job, and was aware that my name was in consideration.
I told my boss that I needed to know a month before the baby was due. When that day came I was told that I was probably going to get transferred. Politely, I told my boss that "probably" was not something I could make life decisions on, and I gave him another week to get more a definitive answer.
When that week passed with nothing else said to me, I gave three weeks' notice and accepted another job in an entirely different field. I didn't want to leave newspapers, but the commute and demands on my time were not consistent with being a parent. The closer job as at a better-staffed paper may have worked, but leaving the industry -- at least for a while -- proved to be the best choice for my family at that time.