How To Leave a Dead End Job

Breaking Free from a Job That No Longer

This post is dedicated to everyone who is sticking with a job that no longer fits. Maybe it was right for awhile, for a certain time and place in your life. But not anymore. When was the last time you jumped out of bed with excitement about what the day would bring?

However, we sometimes are ambivalent (stuck) about making a change.  Do these automatic thoughts plague you?

  • But I love the people I work with.”
  • “It’s so convenient.”
  • “The money’s pretty decent, considering…”

Do these statements sound familiar? I’ve made them myself!  You know that job is sucking your soul and it’s time to leave. The only thing left to decide is how.

Above all, you want it to be your decision. Don’t let boredom and apathy lead to an attitude that gets you fired or passed over. Who wants to work with someone who is a burnout no matter how skilled he/she is ?  And speaking of burnout, one can be professionally “burned out” simply by not using one’s capital skills. I know, I have experienced this!

The number one reason people stay in dead end jobs is fear of the unknown. Are you clinging onto something that doesn’t fit just because it’s familiar? What if the unknown wasn’t scary? What if it was filled with joy and delightful possibilities?  Sure, there’s that transition period where you leave what you can do in your sleep and head into new territory. I assure you that the downhill slide of staying too long is far greater than the steepness of a little learning curve. How might you make unknown territory more comfortable?


1. Make It Known….but use some discretion

Learn about  new possibilities. . Do research on Google plus, Linkedin, Twitter or even  a company Facebook fan page. Talk to people. Do informational interviews. Volunteer, be a trainee. Find ways to educate yourself. Go to school. Hire a trainer. Shine some light on the scary ignorance.  If you’re drawn to that line of work, you may have a natural inclination, or it put it simply, a “knack” for a skill or profession. The caveat? Just be discreet at work and find a mentor, if possible.


2. Make It Up

There are a lot of successful people in the world who just decide that they know what they’re doing.  I’ll never forget my friend Susan, a beautiful and confident woman who discovered her gift for public speaking in Toastmasters  and went on to become a highly paid consultant just because she decided she was worth listening to.   She read a book or two, made a presentation, and was suddenly crossing the country getting big fees. There’s a lot to be said for boldness.  My favourite ancient people, the Romans (Virgil) said, “fortune favours the bold.”


3. Try It On A Small Scale

Part-time or pilot projects work well particularly if you’re thinking of venturing out on your own. The hours are long when you don’t give up your day job,  but if you’re pursuing your passion you generally can find the energy. Cater a friend’s party for the cost of the supplies. Print some business cards on your computer. Do some pro bono work for a civic group for the testimonials. Before long, you’ll feel ready to go for it.


4. Dive In

This is my favourite. I get enormous energy from leaping off metaphorical cliffs. Instead of screaming “NO”, try saying “Wheee!” or “Geronimo.” I’ve taken career risks and fortunately, they have paid off. I used the gift of intuition, a very underused, undermined skill.  Sometimes it takes a geographic change to get yourself out of a rut. Try something out there and see if you can fly.


5. Be Prepared

So maybe you’re not a leaper. You can plan for contingencies, save that nest egg. Find an answer for all the “what-ifs.”  But be careful not to over prepare. Just how likely are those eventualities that you’re covering? There comes a point when it’s time to take steps.  That’s when a plan comes in.


“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”.

—J. W. von Goethe, German writer, artist and politician

Remember, if you only do what you already know how to do, your world may get pretty stale. Growth is an essential part of life. There comes a time to move on. You can feel when change is due. When that time comes the universe makes it easy for you. The money for graduate school appears, child care arrangements work out, an article about a new company catches your eye. Pay attention to the signals. Then trust your judgment AND your intuition. If something tells you this new opportunity is right, it probably is.

Leaving a Dead End Job

Are you ready to make the change?

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Melissa Martin

Melissa is a passionate, innovative career expert, who holds impressive credentials in the career/employment field for over 14 years. Her specialties include dealing with the unemployed, underemployed, military members, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who need “career nourishment to re-ignite themselves.”


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