After finishing college in Central Illinois, I moved to "The Valley" in Los Angeles. I left behind a serious girlfriend as we promised to try and make the long-distance thing work. Internally, I knew I didn't want to keep the relationship going. Instead of manning up and explaining how I felt, I kept my thoughts to myself and let the move be the thing that slowly split us apart.
This prolonged heartache was caused by my immaturity—an early life lesson in the consequences of being shitty toward others.
Ten years later, married, happy and a bit more kind-hearted, I still see this "hands-off" approach rear its ugly head. This time around, however, it's usually in the form of a person's affinity for their job.
The Work-Life Relationship
If your first job is your dream job, great. You are one of the lucky ones and I'm jealous. You can stop reading now and get back to Reddit.
The majority of people take time to figure out what they want to do when they grow up. There's no timeframe as to how long it takes to discover your passion/craft/drive, but the process usually involves trying your hand at different jobs and careers that may not match the college major you chose as a senior in high school.
During this period in your professional life, you probably hate some of your jobs. That's fine. Don't let it show. We've all worked with people who bitch and moan about how much they dislike what they're doing and yet do nothing to fix it. If you've been in that position—as I have—it wreaks havoc on your heart and guts.
A quick solution to unhappiness at work may be to simply quit your job. This newfound situation forces you to find something better suited to your passion. If you sit around work half-assing it, trying to get fired so you can collect unemployment, it can come across immature and shitty just like me waiting for that girlfriend to call things off.
Plus, what sounds better to a prospective employer the next time you look for a job?
"MY HEART WASN'T IN MY WORK. I NEEDED TO LEAVE AND CONCENTRATE FULL-TIME ON FINDING WHAT I REALLY WANTED. MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL WITH SOMEONE WHO IS A BETTER FIT FOR THAT JOB."
"I GOT FIRED."
Resigning from your job opens up more opportunities for people looking for work right now. If one of them is a better fit for your position AND you discover work you really do love, that's what we in the business-person world call a "win-win."
Don't Leave Your Decision to Someone Else
You know what you want to do, or you at least know you don't want to do what you're currently doing. Waiting for your employer to clear out your desk might make a somewhat smart financial move due to unemployment insurance, but you're really not being true to yourself or helping the people you currently work with.
No one wants to chip away at projects with a person who doesn't care. No one wants to run into a grumpy face in the break room.
Work happy. If you're not, find that place where you can.