I’ve worked in hospitality since I was 18 and for the past year I’ve been working in a high-volume, fast-paced food and beverage venue. For the most part I loved it. I could schedule my shifts around uni, picking up more when I had free time and cutting back during exam periods. I also enjoyed getting to work with a range of people and the physical nature of the job (you try shaking your 30th espresso martini of the night). However, this all began to change towards the end of last year. I finished my second degree and six years of consecutive study.

My friends were either beginning exciting new jobs or heading to Europe and I was doing neither. I began to throw myself into work; doing full time hours at a place that was only meant to help me get by; diving into a career I had never wanted to have. I can speculate as to why I took this path (but that’s not the point) and after 4 months of living and breathing this venue and the people whom I worked with I was done. And not even in an exciting, dramatic, earth-shattering way. It was a mundane text that cemented my decision to quit then and there. A text I had received many times before: “Hey Tory, due to the forecasted bad weather today, we are cancelling your shift. Apologies for any inconvenience caused”. And just like that I decided I’d had enough.

So how do you know when its time to move on? Here is my little checklist:

  • Things that you previously found trivial or annoying now frustrate you to no end. For me this was the lack of communication. At first I just found it silly that there was no centralised way of communicating messages other than through a game of Chinese Whispers. By the end, I truly began to wonder if anyone knew what was going on.
  • Your co-workers begin to seem more like family than co-workers. Now I’m not suggesting you can’t or shouldn’t be close with co-workers, I’m just saying that when you begin to treat someone like your annoying little brother, its probably going a bit far.
  • The same issues keep popping up. Did something bother you? Yes. Did you talk to management about it? Yes. Did they try to explain/reason/placate with you? Yes. Did the same thing happen again? Yes. Did you approach a different manager? Yes. Have you seen any meaningful change? Not yet?…. You can see where this going right? It can become a never ending cycle. Is it trivial or seriously demoralising? – refer to point 1.
  • You could do the job backwards, with your eyes closed and legs tied together. Ok, not actually, but if the job is ceasing to challenge or inspire you, or you’ve got nothing left to learn there, what are you still doing there?
  • If that thing that was ‘the final straw’ didn’t happen would things really be any different? This was a tough one for me because I think if that particular manager hadn’t sent that particular message on Saturday afternoon I would still be there right now (and not writing this). BUT, the same issues would still be there as well. I would’ve had shifts cancelled the following week, the following month and so on and so nothing would really be any different and I would have quit anyway.
  • You only seem to talk about work. This is going to be different for everybody and if you’re in your dream job, loving life by all means you should tell everyone who’ll listen. But when it feels like you’re constantly messaging your best friend about work drama after work drama – is it really worth it? As aforementioned best friend said to me “for the amount you’re getting paid, that job has consumed a disproportionate amount of your energy!”.
  • You just don’t want to be there anymore. Sure you may not have your next job lined up, but that’s ok too. If you’re done, you’re done.