Go ahead, quit while you’re ahead.
Bob Stoops announced this week that he was leaving his position as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners — even as he was expected to carry his team to contention for the national championship. The Sooners went 11-2 last season and in his 19-year-career, Stoops has never failed to produce a winning record; he leaves with more wins in his pocket than any other coach in Oklahoma history.
Amidst a flurry of media speculation, Stoops has given little indication of the reasoning behind his decision. All he noted in his statement is that “Now is simply the ideal time.”
His decision to quit — even as he was succeeding in his job as head coach — is something we can all learn from. “Quitting your job when you’re doing great can be a great idea, if you have a definite idea of what you want to do next, and you can articulate how leaving this position is going to help,” says career coach Carlota Zimmerman.
Experts say that quitting is a personal decision that often has little to do with how outwardly successful you are at work. Here are some of the signs that you should quit your job — even if you’re on top of your work game.
You’re not motivated by what you do. Be sure you’re checking in with yourself, and consistently evaluating your attitude towards your position. “Know why you are in a job and be clear about it,” says Tina Mertel, executive career coach at Meaningful Coaching. “Does it intrinsically motivate you? Does it feel good to know you are providing this service or product out to the world?… Do you enjoy the pay, your coworkers, your customers?”
The job is impacting your personal life negatively. Dave Chappelle stunned the media when he left the extraordinarily successful “Chappelle’s Show” in 2005, famously stating “I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well-rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced.”
You dread going into the office each day. In situations of burnout and strain, something needs to change. “Usually it boils down to: Change your environment, or change your attitude,” says Mertel, author of Meaningful Coaching. “If you’ve already tried to change your attitude about your role, most likely it’s time to change your environment.”
You can do something even better somewhere else. Zimmerman says that some jobs are just stepping stones to others. “For example, if you’re doing great working for some small start-up, and the more you work there, the more you know, in your bones, that your own start-up would be even better, so you’ve been networking, and perhaps finally met some investors, and you realize that the time is ripe to launch your own biz, then hell to the yes, quit and mazel tov,” she says.