Everyone dreams of it from time to time – the winning lottery ticket, a cascade of champagne, a rather curt letter of resignation and that expression on your boss's face. Is it envy, anger, disappointment or fear? Or all four?
Right, it's time to climb down from cloud nine. Here you are still sitting at your pine desk, the neon light is flickering, the photocopier is groaning and the phone is ringing non-stop. The secretary still reminds you of a haddock and your boss's nervous twitch is going at full tilt.
And yet you dream of freedom. The open road, wind in your hair and nowhere you should be before nightfall. But before you write that letter of resignation, make sure that you are not quitting your job for the wrong reasons. Because that could really land you in big trouble, considering the current economic scenario in South Africa. Well, actually, in the world.
Get-rich-quick schemes. If 'Earning R10 000 per month in the comfort of your own home' sounds too good to be true, it is precisely because it is. If this were really true, why isn't everyone doing it? Pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing schemes – call them what you will, but the bottom line is, very few people actually make money from these. Yes, there are some that do, but those are usually the people who start it off, not the ones who come in at the end. Proceed with great caution and keep what you have.
Transport problems. If the hour you spend in the traffic is getting to you, don't consider chucking it in entirely. Work around it creatively. Try and change your working hours, so you can miss the traffic both ways. Or if you can't, get books on tape to listen to in the traffic. If public transport is proving to be a trial, join a lift club. Make a plan, because it is easier to sort this out, than it is to get another job.
Salary woes. If you feel you are not earning enough, you might very well be right. But before you type your resignation letter, just find out what others are earning in the industry – you might get an unpleasant surprise if you leave without checking on this. Discuss your salary package with the powers-that-be – remember if you just keep quiet, people will assume you are satisfied.
Buckling under the workload. If you have too much to do, it is possibly because you have not learnt to say no. By all means work as hard as you can, but don't allow yourself to be abused. If you are finding yourself putting in many extra hours, something is wrong. Discuss your workload with your boss. Changing jobs may not sort out the problem of overload – it might be part of who you are.
Personality clashes. This is a difficult one. Having to spend eight hours a day with someone whose very existence offends your moral principles could be very trying indeed. Chances are you are not the only who feels this way. If this person's staggering array of personality disorders gets in the way of general production, he/she won't last long anyway. If this person is the boss, see if it is possible to minimise contact. If not, either look for another job or find a way to switch off. Just don't let them get to you and don't take their mood swings personally. What helps is to imagine that there is a high, solid wall between you with barbed wire on top.
Other possible job prospects. Never leave your current job for the mere possibility of another one. In fact, you should not resign unless you have a letter of appointment in your hand. You don't want to be in the situation where you've left one job and the other one peters out and leaves you high and dry.
Following a lover around. Make sure how serious this relationship is before you up and follow someone else around the country. You might resign, pack up all your stuff, arrive in Durban, only to find out that the other person saw you as a holiday fling – nothing more.
Resigning out of spite. This is tempting, especially if you have been very unhappy. You don't have a contract, even though you've been asking for one for more than a year, and two days before the financial yearend, you walk out. Problem is, if you are looking for a new job, they are going to phone your old employer – and imagine what sort of recommendation they're going to give you.
Starting a new business. This can work, but only if you know what you're doing and are prepared to put in long, hard hours. Face it, if you've been a teacher for 17 years, you know lots of things, but how to run a hamburger franchise may not be one of them. Do some courses, or get a partner with experience. Don't learn the hard way.
Bored to tears. Jobs are often boring. That's why they're called jobs, not entertainment. Other people are prepared to pay you to do something, which they don't feel like doing or don't have the time or the inclination to do. If a job were all fun and games, you would be paying your employer, not the other way around. If there's no work, though, this could be soul destroying. Having nothing to do makes the average working day feel about 400 years long.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated September 2012)