No matter how crazy you are about your career, chances are that at one point or another you've made like The Clash and posed yourself the question point-blank: Should I stay or should I go? Hell, for some, this might even be an everyday occurrence.
The conventional wisdom tends to be something along the lines of "If you're not happy, move on!" Which, sure, is ideal, but at the end of the day, declaring "I quit!" to your boss amidst a sea of slow claps only flies in the movies. In reality, there are so many economical, professional, and personal factors to consider before giving your notice. Not to mention real incentives for holding off—after all, pressure makes diamonds, as they say.
To prove just this, we consulted three career experts, who laid out some pretty convincing reasons not to throw in the towel just yet.
1. You don't have a back-up plan. "Most people leave one unhappy situation just to end up in another. Or worse, no job at all. Later you may decide to leave, but do your research and strategize a career plan first. An unhappy job becomes far less unhappy if you know you're working on a plan for the future." —Eileen Sharaga, career counselor and psychologist
2. Money, obviously. "Before you do anything impulsive, crank out the numbers. Having cash flow is key, as well as that 401k matching program. There's always the cold hard fact of salary versus the dream of telling your boss you're leaving pronto." —Vicki Salemi, career expert and author of Big Career in the Big City
3. The benefits are crucial to your current lifestyle. "If you're thinking about starting a family, you might not want to leave a job with disability insurance and/or maternity leave benefits." —Lindsey Pollak, millennial workplace expert
4. Your job provides stability while you concentrate on other things. "Maybe the job is a way to pay the bills while you build a small business on the side or are focused on family. As long as you are competently doing your work, you don't have to be in love with a job to stay in it for the time being." —LP
5. A tough job can be an awesome learning experience. "If you're unhappy because you're working long hours and getting crushed with difficult assignments, perhaps the experience is worth it for the skill set you're building. Pushing through a tough situation—as long as you're learning and growing—can be a great story to tell in your next job interview, or a reason you're noticed for a raise or promotion." —LP
6. You haven't thought through why you're unhappy. "Is it your boss? The company? The industry? The work itself? Pinpoint the issue. You're fortunate to have a job in this economy and you may be able to work within your existing company to refine and reshape your current job into one that's more satisfying and more fulfilling." —ES
7. The alternative might not be as great as you think. "Sleeping in until 11 a.m. and taking that noon spin class at your gym sounds pretty enticing. But after a week or two the novelty will wear off. And as much as you get that pit-in-the-stomach feeling on Sunday nights, that other potential pit of being unemployed and, dare I say it, bored, could actually be worse." —VS
8. You need to keep your skills sharp. "If you quit now and don't have another job lined up, not only will there be a gap in your resume, there'll be a gap in your skills. They may get rusty. Although you're not exactly pumped, stay in the routine of coming to work every day as there is hopefully at least one aspect you like about it. Leverage that piece and stay on top of your game." —VS
9. You can keep your networking contacts alive and well. "You'll have more time and opportunities to network internally for that next job. Maybe there's someone in marketing who worked on a cool project—invite him or her to lunch. Maybe your former boss just got promoted—time for celebratory drinks! Enjoy having internal connections at your fingertips." —VS
10. Your situation is temporary, so make the best of it. "You know that quote that says, 'If you're going through hell, keep going?' It's true. Hang in there. This is a temporary chapter—adopt an attitude of gratitude. Focus on small things to get you through the day-to-day as you pound the pavement to get out and get out fast." —VS
You should also check out: