The decision to leave a gig can be a hard one – should you stay? Should you go?

If you clicked through to read this post, chances are you’re probably more dissatisfied than you’d like to admit.

You can probably think of a few reasons to stay… but below are 5 reasons NEVER to stay with an unsatisfying or unfulfilling freelance job!

1. You’re convinced there’s nothing better out there

Listen, THERE ARE A LOT OF GIGS IN THE WORLD. Millions!

Looking for a new job may be intimidating; the process can be onerous, and it may take a long time to find the right fit. But I guarantee that your current lame gig is not the best you can do.

Commit yourself to investigating your options: brush up your portfolio, build contacts, and start applying. You don’t have to settle for less.

2. You’re waayyyyyy too comfortable

Sure, it’s not a GREAT gig – but you can do it in your sleep! At this point, there’s no challenge involved; you know every in-and-out, before it even happens.

If you’re happy in this state, keep on keepin’ on!

But if you have the sinking feeling that over-familiarity is making you stagnant – that you’re neglecting real passions and growth because your current gig is the easier choice... Beware.

Consider looking into jobs that might pose a bit more challenge to your comfort level, but provide infinitely more gratification for your soul.

3. You’ve resigned yourself to misery

There are parts of every single job that are irritating or less-than-ideal. Even Indiana Jones had to deal with some seething pits of snakes during his adventures, right?

But if you’re CHRONICALLY UNHAPPY… it’s time to find a new gig.

You do not have to be unhappy! Work shouldn’t feel like a life sentence.

You can find a better gig – you don’t have to feel like this every single day. Be brave, embrace some discomfort… and start looking for better options.

Join the Union (it's free!)

Become a member

4. The pay is worth your constant unhappiness

… no, it’s not.

… no, it’s REALLY not.

Life is short. Once spent, time is unrecoverable. If you’re really unhappy and unfulfilled in a gig, they are not paying you enough to stay long-term.

If you have a lot of responsibilities, I’m not advocating that you IMPULSIVELY QUIT and throw your infant children into the gutter to find their own formula, goshdarnit.

I AM saying that responsibilities do not necessarily unbreakable iron chains make. Explore your options. You’ll be so much happier if you find a better job.

5. You have misplaced loyalty

Listen very, very carefully: IF YOU LEAVE, YOUR CLIENT WILL FIND A NEW FREELANCER.

They will be okay without you. Don’t let your work ethic or gratitude become an excuse to stay.

Demonstrate those qualities by leaving in a respectful fashion:

  • Give plenty of notice once you’ve lined up a new job (2 weeks minimum, I like to give a month)
  • Offer to set them up with recommendations for freelance replacements.
  • Wrap up all your projects neatly
  • Write a heartfelt note of thanks

It’s that easy: Don’t stay with a job just because you think that’s the “right” thing to do.

Staying with a gig that you’ve outgrown does your client no favors. They have the right to work with someone who’s really excited to work with them.

Don’t let misplaced loyalty rob you of a better gig, rob another freelancer of a new opportunity, and rob your client of a more engaged employee.

So go ahead… leave! Don’t stay! Chances are you’ll be glad that you did.

Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.