We all dream of being able to tell our boss where to go but sometimes quitting might be the best way to get ahead.
There are many reasons why your work may no longer be the place for you: boredom, burnout, toxic bosses or the desire to undergo a complete career change are common reasons, as are sabbaticals, which are unpaid or paid breaks from work to study or travel and are becoming increasingly popular.
Ideally, it is preferable to find another position before resigning but sometimes health and well-being is more important.
Tony (name changed) agrees. "My manager was so awful that most days I cried at my desk," he says. "It was better to quit and recover than put up with such soul-destroying treatment day after day."
Career adviser Lisa Haneberg warns that "the grass is always greener" attraction mustn't influence the decision to quit.
"If you'd find the same job somewhere else or your complaints are common and [have] been felt in other positions, I'd urge caution," she says. "You owe it to yourself to be very picky and extremely honest."
Before resigning there are several big issues to consider.
Sort out your finances
Optimism is great but pessimism counts where money is concerned. Do you have enough savings to pay rent and bills while job-hunting? Could you survive on unemployment benefits? Perhaps you can pay interest only on your mortgage or take in a flatmate.
You must involve your partner in your decision, because having the household income slashed will affect them as well. If you're planning on studying it will also affect domestic arrangements. Daksha now arrives home two nights a week after 9pm and has a friend babysit her kids. "There's a bit of organisation involved but we barter babysitting so that it doesn't cost either of us anything," she says.
Speak to an expert
The director of Hays, Nick Deligiannis, says recruiters can help people develop a game plan for finding their next job.
"They'll help you navigate the roles available and find the best one for your career progression," he says. "Ultimately, the right job can transform a person's life and the right person can transform a business. For candidates who have not been to an interview for a long period of time, recruiters can also provide pre-interview coaching and tips."
Deal with your fears
Most of us are afraid of the unknown. Life without that fortnightly payslip, or starting a new job with new people and procedures can be daunting but it's important to find out why you want to quit.
Look at why the job isn't working and how you'll do things differently or the same problems could follow you.
Are there aspects of your communication style or issues with teamwork that you need to work on? Is it other people rather than the job itself?
If you're afraid you'll look unreliable, sometimes finding the courage to leave is harder than staying and getting progressively more miserable. Although most people find a new job before resigning, Deligiannis does not believe quitting is a negative. "What's more likely to cause concern is a candidate who has quit too often," he says.
"A job applicant with several examples of less than two years' tenure can be seen by employers as a risk - especially if they're also considering another candidate who has a solid history of tenure behind them."
Investigate your current employer
Many employers have flexible working arrangements that may not be widely known. Sideways moves to areas that offer new challenges, taking on new responsibilities, on-the-job-training or project work may be available. It might be time to apply for a more senior position.
If you're burnt out, consider reducing your hours. "The 20 per cent reduction was worth it for a day away from the job," Kent says.
"I can work on my PhD and pick up the kids from school."
Working a day from home could be another option. You'll be surprised at what can be negotiated - flexible working conditions are often not offered; you have to do your research and ask for them.
Don't give your boss an unedited earful when you resign. Give them plenty of notice and offer to help them find and settle in your replacement. They'll be more willing to provide a good reference for you.
- Sydney Morning Herald