When To Walk Away From Your Job: 5 Tips From Olympian Kaylin Richardson

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 2 million people are quitting their jobs each month, and that number is only growing.

On average millennials will change jobsat least 4 times by the time they are 32, nearly twice as much as the previous generation. Knowing when it’s time to quit is crucial to long-term success.

Seth Godin, author of the best-selling book “The Dip,” says “The time to look for a new job is when you don’t need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable.”

So how do you know when it is time to make the next move?

Just ask two-time Olympic skier Kaylin Richardson. At the peak of her career, after competing in her second Olympic games she decided to quit ski racing at the age of 25.

Richardson shares her experience on this week’s episode of Unconventional Life, “Recognizing When it’s Time to Quit Your Job and Make Your Next Move.”

Richardson had spent the past 16 years of her life racing — traveling around the world year-round to practice on the very best terrain, bypassing going to college, competing in her first Olympic games and slowly collecting victories to qualify for her second Olympic event.

After competing in the Women’s Alpine Skiing race, she had actualized the goal of a lifetime. Like many who have finally reached the top, she asked herself, “What’s next?”

“When I finished Vancouver it was such a cool experience,” Richardson says. “I hadn’t said it out loud to anyone but I thought, ‘I think I am done with ski racing’…  I was still skiing relatively fast but I didn’t have that drive. If you are going to do something that is that taxing, that takes that much time, that much mental strength you really have to want it and I saw that in my teammates, they wanted it more than I did.”

The following spring Richardson announced her retirement. She wasn’t sure what would unfold for her in the transition and knew that once she made the decision she had to move forward.

By leaving ski racing at her peak Richardson was able to leverage her success to make her next big career moves: landing television appearances, becoming a ski racing commentator on NBC, and picking up sponsors like Helly Hansen and Colorado ski company Icelantic to back her in her pursuit of backcountry skiing.

Richardson shares, “I had this unformed vision. And what it really came down to was that I wanted to ski for me. There were so many avenues I still wanted to explore. I still had passion for the sport I was just unattached to the form.”

Are you stuck between knowing if it is the right time to quit? Below, Richardson shares these five telltale indicators that it’s time to move on.

You don’t have the same passion anymore. Your heart just isn’t in it in the way it used to be. No matter how hard you try, you can’t recover the same feelings of excitement and joy you had at the beginning. Work tends to feel less purposeful and more like a grind — and you’ve started fantasizing about alternatives.

The returns aren’t worth the cost. You’re giving it your best effort but the rewards just don’t feel worth it. Recognize that the trials are there to test how bad you want it — and if pushing through just doesn’t feel worthwhile, it’s a sign it’s time to do something else.

You aren’t growing. The rate at which you used to be growing was exponential, but now, you’re feeling stagnant. You’re not being challenged, you aren’t working towards any real goals, and your job feels monotonous.

Your performance is suffering. You’re not at your peak anymore, and frankly, you probably couldn’t will yourself to be if you tried. There’s no denying you just don’t have the drive that you used to. You’ve been drawing things out and you know your energy would be better put to use somewhere else.

You’re ready for something bigger. You feel like you’re being called for something higher, and as much as you want it to be what you’re currently doing, it just can’t provide that for you. It may be painful or scary to let go of what feels familiar, but on the other side of fear is always something great. In order to make room for what you really want, you must clear out space by letting go.

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