Ask Ralph: This Fellow Wants to Quit His Job

Hi Ralph,

I used to watch you in the news before, until I found out that you have made your own career move. Even so, I’m glad to have found your blog. I’m even gladder to discover that you answer problems pala. So allow me to write you this letter.

Just call me CC. I am currently a marketing executive for a private company for two and a half years already. It is my first job. I am thinking of quitting it because I am not happy with the job anymore. I don’t like the long hours. I have also gotten very, very tired of the politics inside the office (although I am not a victim of this, thank you!). Most of all, I wanna give up because of the low pay. Kasi, I am a breadwinner, and I’m supporting a younger sister.

I am still not sure though if I should go on with it. If I would only look at the job, I am in my dream job, and in my dream company. I have many good, good friends, and I also do not want to leave them. I have been wanting to transfer to another field or industry, but the work that I do now is the only work I know how to do. If I were to transfer to a different field, although I studied it, I’m worried of failing.

Should I quit?



Hi there, CC!

Is it me, or am I having deja vu? I am somehow reminded of my experience when I decided to make the big switch to another day job, er another industry. So all things considered, I believe you’ve come to the right place!

Off hand — and to level your expectations — I don’t think I will be in a position to tell you whether to stay or quit. It is a decision best made by yourself, by seriously reflecting on it. Still, let me share with you some inputs to help you decide.

Let me say the most important advice first. I notice that you are a breadwinner, which is a very heavy consideration. So if and when you do decide to leave your job, make sure that you will be able to work at your new job right away. In this day and age, one cannot afford to not have work for even as short as two weeks. If staying has become emotionally painful for you, you’ll need to be practical.

It is best to find a new job first. Or at the very least, make sure that you have enough funds for one to two months.

Your motivations for leaving your present are valid. But don’t forget to reflect and make an honest self-evaluation to be sure of yourself. Probe.

Ask: why are you unhappy with your job? Is it something systemic within the organization? Or is it something you could work on from my end? Is your happiness something that can be attained if you fix some matters at work?  Have you exhausted all the means and measures to deal with unhappiness?  If these are things that cannot be fixed anymore, then one need not suffer needlessly for one’s job — especially when there are other choices available.

Unhappiness may be felt because of the lack of opportunities for growth within the organization.  So I encourage you to think about the long term.  Where will you be ten years from now if you stay?  What position will you have?  Compensation?  Lifestyle?  Look at different counterparts (don’t limit yourself to one) who have decided to stick it out with the company.  Are they happy?

Think of your long term growth in the organization that you wish to transfer to.  Will you be able to meet your long term goals there?  Will you be able to meet your long term goals at your present work?  If not, then truly, there’s no reason for you to stay there.

If and when you transfer to another job, as much possible, have the mindset of it being a long term job.  Think of it as the last job you’d be in, in order to choose very well and not just settle.  We cannot afford to be reckless in our career moves.  It wouldn’t good in anyone’s CV if one jumped from one job to another within a very short period of time.  It would affect your chances for further career growth.

Long hours are part of almost any job, especially when one is just starting.  If you are transferring to another job, how will the hours be?  Will you have better work-life balance?  If you will just have the same hours and lifestyle, then you’ll need to think twice.  Check if the problem lies more in the long hours per se, or our ability to deal with stress, which is different all together.  If the long hours are your biggest consideration, then it would be very difficult to be happier in that new job.

The same goes with office politics.  How is the culture in that company?  As I would tell a friend, you wouldn’t want to leave one prison only to go to another.  Identify for yourself: what kind of corporate culture are you after?  Office politics is definitely a red flag.  If you happen to be a target of negative politics, then you have immediate reason to think of your options.  But let me say that politics is present in many organizations.  Consider that one may still be able to work well as long as one does not become a part of it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean just letting wrongdoing happen.  Personally, I believe that not act or make a stand, especially when the time calls for it, is practically the same as allowing wrongdoing to happen.  So yes, there is honor in quitting.  One can oppose what is horribly wrong by quitting.  Don’t be afraid to quit if your convictions are telling you so.  Just make sure that you’ve done an honest and objective reflection, considering all sides of the story.

Yes, compensation is an important factor, especially because you are supporting a sister.  Will your compensation be higher than your present compensation?

We work for a living.  We don’t live to work.  No to exploitation!

I can certainly relate to your point about leaving your friends.  Truth be told, for me, that was the most difficult part about leaving my first job.  But in any case, consider that you’ll still have a chance to see them.  And if they are true friends, they will text you every week for a dinner or lunch out.  If they forget you, then you’ve done yourself a favor by weeding out people pretending to be true friends.

If you can manage to find a job in the same field that you are in, and you would be happy about it, then why not transfer to another firm within the same industry?

Many people are afraid to switch to another field because they feel that their present job is the only job they know how to do.  But this many not be true.  One may just be afraid to step out of his or her comfort zone.  Worse, one may have been too comfortable in it, and because of this, one doesn’t make an effort anymore to expand horizons.

If one wishes to climb up the ladder to success, continuous improvement is needed.  Enrichment of present skills and the acquiring of new ones are essential.

We all have more choices than we all think.  Don’t be imprisoned by your fear.

Instead of looking at your job as a label, evaluate your specific skills and talents.  I bet you, you will realize that there is so much you can do.  So instead of looking at yourself as a “marketing executive”, check your background with numbers and finances, marketing presentation skills,  ability to organize and plan, etc.  Don’t hesitate to look back even at the skills you’ve acquired in school.

Keep dreaming.  Aim for your dream job.  But also remember that the best way to get to it is by exploring and going out of your comfort zone.  As it is said, hitch your wagon to a star.  But let me add to that — don’t forget to keep your feet on the ground.  Be realistic as well.

My last advice: don’t forget to pray.  Pray hard.  Reflect comprehensively.  I attest to the realization that God calls us to different professions — vocations — and all for His beautiful reason.  Ask for light.  His “worst” plans are better than our best plans.

Get guidance from the Real Expert.

Well, keep me posted.  I’m praying for you!



ps: if you do decide to move to greener pastures, pa-burger naman diyan !  Hehehe!  Just kidding.


Friends, again, the floor is open for all your comments. Feel free to share your insights. They’re all very welcome here. Thanks.

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