Don’t quit the bad job yet

As an executive coach and a CEO who hires people, I see a rise in professionals who are quitting their jobs before they have another one. Generally, they do this because they are exhausted, see no way out of their pain and simply cannot spend one more minute in an intolerable situation. They feel they need to do this to preserve their sanity.

Sometimes they quit because they are unfulfilled and think they can easily find something better. The problem is that a few months down the road they often find themselves more unhappy – unemployed, without income, feeling low self-esteem, ineffective and desperate.

I want to go on record as saying that quitting your job before you have another one is a mistake. I realize that some people have done this, and it has worked out fine. But in my experience as a 20-year CEO and 12-year executive coach, that is the exception. Hiring managers can be leery of people who are not working. It is one red flag that someone who is working does not have.

Keep that red flag down. It puts you in a position to negotiate a better salary. It also positions you to build resilience – a skill that will serve you well throughout your life and career. Keep your job and convert negative energy to strategic action.

Detach from the source of your stress

Dissect your stress. Is it an occurrence, a person or a group? Most often one person is the root cause of misery at work. See the source of your stress as a situation and not an overarching reflection on you. Don’t let it be personal, pervasive or fear it will be permanent. Draw a boundary to detach from the source. A boundary is an invisible line between what you will and will not allow. The negative person can continue his or her punitive behavior. And you can make a conscious commitment to disallow it from pervading your peace. Mindful daily practices such as meditation, yoga, physical activity, and non-judgmental reflection increase the likelihood of creating space between what they say and what you think about what they say.

Work on your executive presence

Identify three people you admire and watch a YouTube video of each. Note the cadence of their voice, their eye contact, posture, expressions, body language, and relatability. Write down two things that you admire most and will work on. Commit to how and when you will practice what you want to develop. You might spend five minutes in the morning talking in front of the mirror. You might video yourself delivering a speech and watch it without judgment, only curiosity.

Define your values and research companies that live those values – not just hang them on the wall. Your values are intrinsic to your nature. They are so ingrained and prioritized that no matter what happens nobody could ever take them away from you. Examples include your sense of humor, tenacity, family, creativity, resourcefulness, compassion. Reach into your social networks and identify companies that exhibit those values every day.

Create a Company Watch List

Compile a list of companies that live your values and are revered as such by others. Identify these companies by searching online under “hot jobs,” “job projections,” or “best places to work.”

Develop a network of people who speak highly of their company culture and can be your advocate.

Connect with people in your watch list by using LinkedIn and Xing. Ask them why they enjoy working where they are and how they would describe the culture. Let them know what you’ve learned about the company where they work so they know you are serious and informed. Don’t ask them for a recommendation until after you have established a strong connection. Most likely they will offer to help.


For an Eight Tip Career Plan for When You’re Not Sure What Industry or Position is Right click here . When you use your energy in a focused way toward a goal you won’t feel as stagnant or frustrated in your current position because you’re moving in a positive direction. Then be wise enough to wait for what you deserve.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be calmer and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at