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I have been under a lot of stress at my job - hundreds of hours of overtime in the past year, vacation and sick time tacitly discouraged. It's not that I can't take a day or a few hours of time off, but I know if I do I'll have to make it up in overtime later with almost absolute certainty. There was recently a (customary - not legally mandated) national holiday, which I got off, and then was asked to make that up on another day.

I'm tired, I'm getting stress-related nervous tics (chewing my mouth), which I never had before, and now insomnia.

I have no predictability on when I'll be assigned overtime. I am exempt, so I get nothing extra for it.

I have been trying to conduct a job search like this, but I'm always exhausted on the little time I have off, and I don't have any predictability on when I'll be available for a call or meeting with a new potential employer.

I have been thinking of quitting my job - I have a decent amount of savings and could sustain myself through a job loss, and even most reasonable emergencies if one happened for probably 6 months without trouble. The unemployment rate in my country is less than 5% right now and I am in a very high demand profession (I am also underpaid relative to the mean, so if I got a job I would get a raise).

I'm asking mostly if it is ever acceptable or smart to leave a job to look for another one? I don't feel I can give my job search the attention it needs at this point - especially because for the positions I want at companies, all day interviews are likely required and pretty standard across the industry - at least for top quality employers.

I hate to take this step, but I see little other recourse. I don't really have the time to reasonably look otherwise, and I am incredibly burnt out besides.

Are there any negatives? Any positives?

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    Please use the search function: 1, 2, 3, 4. Personal advice is off-topic. – Lilienthal Jun 8 '16 at 10:06
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    Not really related with what you ask, but can you not just slow down ? Explaining that you will end up killing yourself ? – Gautier C Jun 8 '16 at 10:08
  • Your situation sounds terrible, and I hope you find a solution you are happy with. However, as it stands, this question is way too broad to be answerable, so I'm voting to close. – sleske Jun 8 '16 at 10:33
  • How exactly do you "make up" a day that you get off? For example, if you get Monday off, are you expected to work 2 extra hours on the other days of the week to add up to a full shift? Is everyone in your company/team held to this standard, or is it just you? – Brandin Jun 8 '16 at 10:41
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    Yes. Now, does it make sense in your case? Who can say. Oh wait... you can say, probably. – Andrew Whatever Jun 8 '16 at 16:05
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Alternative one: You quit your job. No pay.

Alternative two: You tell your boss that due to your health, you aren't going to do any overtime anymore. He can't force you. He can fire you, which is all in all better than alternative one. And he might just realise that he can't exploit you anymore.

The rule for overtime: Nobody thanks you for doing overtime. Nobody thinks any better of you for doing overtime. Instead, they think of you as a mug who works cheaply. And you realised yourself that it affects your health. If your boss wasn't as ruthless and stupid as he is, he would also realise that continuous overtime reduces your productivity and increases the number of costly mistakes.

  • Also it has gotten better. It used to be equivalent to 4-5 days a month back in October to Februaryish, but now it's down to 1-3 days a month. – Joe Smentz Jun 8 '16 at 15:21
  • He seems to have realized the overtime has caused me to be tired and unhappy, but he seems to want to extract as much as he still can from me. He seems to be under the flawed assumption that productivity more or less linearly increases with hours worked. – Joe Smentz Jun 8 '16 at 15:25
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    @JoeC: And that is nonsense. A working 60 hours a week for six week and B working 40 hours a week for six weeks will produce the same results. A will not produce any more than B. After six weeks, A is tired and useless, B is fit and can go on. – gnasher729 Jun 8 '16 at 18:14
  • Oh I agree entirely with you. It's an incorrect assumption, and I feel I'm about as third as productive as I would be if I hadn't gone on this crazy overtime spree for most of the past year. – Joe Smentz Jun 8 '16 at 18:25
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I have been trying to conduct a job search like this, but I'm always exhausted on the little time I have off, and I don't have any predictability on when I'll be available for a call or meeting with a new potential employer.

I have been thinking of quitting my job - I have a decent amount of savings and could sustain myself through a job loss, and even most reasonable emergencies if one happened for probably 6 months without trouble. The unemployment rate in my country is less than 5% right now and I am in a very high demand profession (I am also underpaid relative to the mean, so if I got a job I would get a raise).

You are in very high demand, but still have been unable to land a job. That says that you are doing something wrong.

Perhaps your exhaustion is the root cause here. But you should take a long hard look and see if there's something else going on.

Check your resume, your cover letter. Think over your interview skills and perhaps practice with a friend. Make sure you are applying for the right jobs - jobs that fit your skills and experience level.

I'm asking mostly if it is ever acceptable or smart to leave a job to look for another one? I don't feel I can give my job search the attention it needs at this point - especially because for the positions I want at companies, all day interviews are likely required and pretty standard across the industry - at least for top quality employers.

I hate to take this step, but I see little other recourse. I don't really have the time to reasonably look otherwise, and I am incredibly burnt out besides.

Clearly you have already concluded that you have no viable alternative. If that's true, then there is no question here - you have to do what you have to do.

Are there any negatives? Any positives?

Certainly. If you search, you'll find that similar questions appear often.

For a variety of reasons many employers prefer to hire people who are employed, rather than people who quit their job. And hopefully, your recuperation and job search will resolve quickly - it's amazing how fast 6 months can go by.

My advice is always to find your next job first, then quit your current job. But if you can't, then you can't.

Get yourself in order financially, in case of an extended jobless period. Tune up your network and your paperwork. Find a way to not be exhausted so that you can project a confident attitude. Be prepared to answer the inevitable "Why did you quit your job?" question.

Then find a great new job.

  • I am in high demand from recruiters and positions with my skills. I haven't gotten one because I literally don't have time to go on interviews. Even phone ones are difficult when you have little reliability in your time. – Joe Smentz Jun 8 '16 at 12:37
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Yes, it does sometimes make sense to leave your job without another one lined up. Typically it's a bad idea. Some jobs are legitimately soul-crushing and harmful to your health, and depending on your situation/line of work, some can put your future career prospects at risk.

Be realistic about your financial situation and your prospects if you choose to be unemployed. Be wary about holding out for that #1 position if your #2 or #3 or even #4 position is giving you an offer.

  • Excellent first post! Welcome to the WorkPlace. – Myles Jun 8 '16 at 17:13
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Of course it does

but, it's always best not to.

You see, the stress and pain your going through now is nothing compared to the stress and pain of knowing you have debts to pay and no job to pay for them.

Persevere until you find a job that can support you, or you will always end up regretting it later.

The only exception is if you have enough funds to last at least 6-8 months (being the average amount of time it can take to find a decent job)

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Its always better to have a new offer lined up when its tenable, and you should strive for that. But sometimes that just isn't possible. Your question sounds like one of these situations.

So make the best of it and get out quickly, and then find a new gig quickly.

Be sure to polish up and check your resume and CV with a friend, and practice for interviews.

Sometimes the otherwist best option is untenable, and then you just have no choice and you'll have to make the best of it.

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Personally, there are 2 approaches to this.

  1. That you should quit, take some time off to relax find yourself, and then start your job search.

  2. Tell your boss that you're tired of being penalized with unpaid overtime, and that your health is declining, and see what he does.

If your boss actually cares about you, then maybe he will calm down with the overtime, but unless you are behind drastically with things, I don't see how this is really is allowed. I don't know all the rules of employers, but you usually work the hours you are assigned, and are supposed to finish the jobs you are assigned. Your boss cannot just keep piling on work, and expect people to want to do it.

Vacation time should not be penalized with extra work, I wonder what kind of legal things you could report this company for.

I would honestly talk to someone and see if these practices are even legal.


If I was in your shoes:

I would flat out quit, and try to report this company for exploiting work out of their employees.

This boss clearly doesn't care about his employees, so it seems that talking to him about it wouldn't do anything but upset you further.

I would spend some time to relax, and since you said you have at least 6 months savings, you have plenty of time to find a job.


Positives of quitting:

  1. You get your health back in order, which is really #1.

  2. You can give 100% to job searching, interviews, etc, without being completely destroyed from your job.

  3. Once you find a job you can start RIGHT AWAY, because if you still had your current job, your boss might screw around with you and cause problems, i.e., (you have to wait a month before quitting after giving your notice).

Negatives of quitting:

  1. If you wait too long, and you have a job gap, it might look really bad on your resume, and employers will question it.

It all depends what you want to do, but I wouldn't want to spend any more time in that toxic environment.

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