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Career Development

Done with your toxic boss? How and when to call it quits.

General Assembly
February 13, 2022
Break Up With Your Toxic Boss with These Tips

Ever find yourself pantless eating pizza, searching “What to do if I hate my job?” Wondering what the heck you’re doing?

You’re not alone. 

The average person works 90,000 hours of their life. If you’re spending the equivalent of 1,250 GoT binges doing mind-numbing, unfulfilling work, it might be time to break up: with your boss, your job, maybe even your career.

The last two years came with a lot of self-reflection. 47.4 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021. And 20% of Americans changed careers completely since the pandemic began. 

People are tired of being defined by their jobs. You aren’t what you do. You’re you. And if you’re spending a third of your life second-guessing your career decisions, it’s time to do something you deserve: work you love.

Here are three signs it may be time to call it quits.

#1: Your toxic boss is taking a toll.  

Your boss doesn’t need to be your best friend, but if you’re so far from the friend zone that you cringe when you hear their name, you may have a toxic relationship. 

A toxic boss sucks energy from their team. It’s hard enough sharing oxygen with them, let alone an office or an opinion. They’re the worst part of your week, your inbox, and they ruin your weekend.  

What’s worse, your toxic boss gets to stay put and even thrive, hiding their bad behavior from those above and outside. Like a painful neck pimple hidden under a turtleneck sweater. 

But there is hope. You can quit. Start by reviewing the signs with this toxicity checklist:

  • They put you down
  • They take credit for your work
  • They block you from opportunities 
  • They “forget” to tell you information critical to your job
  • They make you doubt yourself
  • They keep you on edge 

#2: Your body don’t lie, and it’s screaming the truth.  

Quitting can be terrifying. It’s easy to convince ourselves that it’s the wrong time, we have bills to pay, or we won’t find anything better.  

Maybe you do the old mirror pep talk: “You can do this. Everyone’s boss sucks. Toughen up.” But every week you finally make it to Friday and realize how much your work drains you.

Did you know bad bosses make people more susceptible to chronic depression, stress, and anxiety? A Swedish study found that people working for a toxic boss were 60% more likely to experience a stroke, heart attack, or some other life-threatening cardiac event. 

Because we’re human. 

Your body is the first to tell you when you’re in a job you hate, working for a person who doesn’t deserve your loyalty. And all your time outside of work is devoted to recovering from work. 

Here are some signs that you’ve had enough:

  • Your week is full of migraines, and stomachaches you fear are ulcers 
  • You’ve developed nail biting, eye twitches or other nervous habits
  • Your coping mechanisms are reduced to wine, whiskey and trash TV 
  • You find it hard to fall asleep or get out of bed
  • You can’t stay focused
  • Exhaustion is your natural state 

#3: You don’t recognize yourself. 

Who are you? It’s easy to become someone who just works, complains about work, recovers from work and dreads going to work. Unfulfilling work can whittle away at you. What happened to that ceramics course, that book you were going to write, or at least read? Remember laughing?

Lethargy. Apathy. Fatigue. It isn’t healthy. And it’s not you. Know when it’s time to get back to yourself. 

  • Your hobbies have become forgotten dark piles in the closet
  • You’ve lost confidence
  • You can’t make decisions 
  • You don’t have time for the people who matter
  • You’re daydreaming about living in the woods or other drastic changes 

Breakups can take time. 

Quitting a toxic job is like leaving any bad relationship. It’s hard. But you don’t have to do it all at once, or alone. If you have your reasons for leaving, it’s your choice. And the first step is just knowing what you no longer want. Every ending is a beginning. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. And it’s beautiful. 

Start looking towards a future with your dead-end job and your crappy boss in the rearview mirror. With OOO written on the back of your shirt. Maybe there’s music.

Gain a career that will enhance your life and give you more: purpose, fulfillment, money, passion, and happiness. Because you deserve that. 

Are you ready? We’ll help you make a plan to quit.

Not sure if leaving is the right move? Check out this “Should I Quit?” decision chart to help you decide.

If you’re considering leaving your current job, but aren’t sure what you want to do instead, think about these three career paths:

#1: Software Engineer

Make an average salary of $118,000 and switch careers to one of the most in-demand jobs of the century. If you’re looking for better work-life balance, more money, or insane perks, this career has it all.

General Assembly students can prepare for a career in software engineering in as little as 12 weeks. And how cool is an immersive coding bootcamp? Request a syllabus here. 

#2: Data Science 

Data scientists made $103,930 on average in 2020. If you like the idea of using data to solve problems and actually predict the fricking future, check it out. 

Find out more about what you learn in a data science career change program

#3: UX Design 

Do you ever think, “wow, this app is awesome!” Why not learn to design one just like it (and make an average of $89,209 a year while you’re at it)?

UX designers make technology feel intuitive and fun— from websites to mobile apps to software. Learn more


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