Even the best job has its downsides. I’m betting that, at one time or another, most all of us have vowed to quit a job. But having a bad moment—or even a bad day, week, or month—is not necessarily a sensible reason for leaving a job. Most of us don’t have the luxury of not working, so the decision to quit should not be made lightly.

That said, there are times when leaving is the right choice. Sometimes it’s simply about fit—the work isn’t fulfilling for you, doesn’t utilize what you do best, or isn’t going to lead you to where you want to be. Sometimes it’s about chemistry—your manager and you just can’t seem to see eye to eye on anything. Sometimes you find yourself working for an organization or a manager that is unfair, unsupportive, or both. 

Yet no matter what the circumstances, it’s worth thinking carefully about your options before taking the big step. Consider:

Is the problem fixable?

If none of these repairs seem possible it may, indeed, make sense to leave, but you still need to be careful to avoid going from frying pan to fire. Consider:

Are you ready?

Finally, when it’s time to go, experts advise doing whatever you can to leave on good terms. After all, if you haven’t yet secured a new job you’ll want good references, and even if that’s not a concern you never know how you and your coworkers’ or boss’s paths may cross over time. In “Fifteen Things to Do Before You Leave Your Job,” job search expert Alison Doyle suggests:

The days when a person worked for the same company from adolescence through retirement are long gone for most of us. While the decision to leave a job should always be carefully considered, sometimes it is just the right thing to do. In those cases, taking the time to do it right can make all the difference.

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