I've had an array of jobs ranging from in-between jobs while in school to full-time positions I truly thought would make me happy, but ultimately didn't. One of the best things I have learned from my career journey is recognizing the signs you should quit your job. Like me, you too may too have felt (or be feeling) unhappy in your job and may be too comfortable or too afraid to act. If you notice yourself constantly saying negative things about your job, though, you might wish to make the leap of faith — or at the very least, take a good look at what you're doing and if it's really worth it.
It's important to firmly decide what you want out of your career before making any drastic moves. There's always the chance you may not mind tolerating a job you dislike, as long as you can reap the financial rewards. In an article for The New York Times, Dawn Rosenberg McKay, a career writer, said to first make a list of everything you dislike about your job. This is a great way to gain honest perspective before you make any big decisions.
Personally, when I realized my job was negatively affecting my mental health, I had to make a change. I would arrive home every night feeling exhausted from my long commute; I was losing between three to four hours of time every day just going to and coming from work. The job itself was quite stressful and I was losing sleep due to staying up late in an attempt to claim back my free time. I was a mess.
Before you reach your breaking point, look for these seven warning signs, and if more than a handful look familiar to you, it may be time to consider quitting your job.
1. You're Stressed All The Time
The Daily Mail reported that work stress can be as damaging to health as second-hand smoke. So we're talking a pretty serious issue here. If you're finding that small things that wouldn't normally worry you are suddenly making you feel stressed and/or anxious, then you might want to act on this. You can try out unique ways you can deal with stress. Or perhaps you can discuss your issue with your boss or a colleague or get some professional help as some workplaces offer counseling which could improve your state of mind. But if you've exhausted your options and you feel that you can't cope with your stressful job anymore, you might want to think about quitting. No job is worth sacrificing your health.
2. You Are Constantly Dreading The Next Work Day
Do you look forward to Friday but have a melancholy feeling hanging over you because you know that Monday morning isn't far away? In a previous job that wasn't making me happy, I would literally have a meltdown every Sunday. This may sound dramatic but if you have ever worked a job that's not right for you, you'll know the feeling. After a few Sundays of feeling this way I would take myself off for a walk on the beach to clear my head and put everything into perspective: After all no job is worth you being completely miserable. The salty air would make me feel energized and cut through all the negative thoughts whizzing around my brain.
Make sure to do something you really enjoy on your time off, whether that be reconnecting with nature or working on a creative project. If all else fails, try my favorite option: Bake a chocolate cake. The act of baking will keep your mind busy, you'll feel like you accomplished something, and the chocolate will put you in a better mood. If you're spending your free time constantly thinking or worrying about work, it may be time to move on. Your downtime should be sacred to you and you should relish in every second of it. Don't waste it by feeling blue because you're counting down the minutes until you're back at your desk again.
3. You Don't Get Along With Your Co-Workers
There's a scale of "Getting Along With Your Co-Workers" which runs from not getting invited to social events to workplace bullying. There could be any number of reasons why your co-workers act mean towards you including jealousy or wanting the same promotion. The absolute worst case is when your boss doesn't like you. I've been in this situation once and it was horrendous.
Obviously, keep trying your best and putting your all into everything you do but remember you can get help if you feel the situation is getting out of hand. You could go down the route of reporting your co-worker but if you've just had enough and you're in a job you're not really crazy about, it might be time to move on. It's important to work somewhere where you feel like a valued member of the team and you can be friends with people at work.
4. The Company You Work For Is In Trouble
In the past I worked for a company for about two months when all of the newbies, myself included, were informed that we were under consideration to be laid off. I had the choice of leaving voluntarily and receiving a payout or carrying on in the hopes that I would be one of the lucky ones who wasn't laid off.
We appealed so that us new guys weren't discriminated against and the layoff process went department-wide. After making it through the process, my job role changed and I wasn't doing the job which I was initially hired for. I eventually left because I thought that not everyone had been treated fairly throughout the process and I wasn't working in the job I applied for anymore. The moral of the story is: When I saw those red flags waving, I should have jumped ship.
5. You're Undervalued
At work it's sometimes hard to find a great moment to show everyone what you're made of; you might keep getting pipped to the post or you might be continually looked over and never be given an opportunity to truly shine. On the other hand you might be working yourself into the ground with not so much as a, "Please" or "Thank you" like Andrea from The Devil Wears Prada.
You may also be doing way too much work and hold more responsibility than is required for your position and you could be due a pay rise. Forbes reported that instead of complaining about being undervalued at work it's best to collect hard evidence to prove that you are. Then, hopefully you will receive the credit you deserve. If your efforts fail, it may be time to find a job where you're appreciated.
6. You're Not Enjoying It Anymore
Are you finding yourself bored at work? Has the spark inside fizzled out and the passion for your chosen career just left the building? Perhaps you have reached the limit of what your job is going to offer you in terms of professional development. For me, in a previous position, the initial new job excitement wore off. I entered an industry I had never worked in before after resigning myself to the fact that my dream job was just a dream. It had been almost four years after I had graduated with a fashion journalism degree, I lived several hours away from the fashion capital, and I had to face the harsh reality that I still had to pay the bills and could no longer work for little or no money. So I threw myself onto a career path in an entirely different industry. Yes it was fun at first, but once I'd learned the ropes and realized my whole life was going to be centered around that particular job and a career that I wasn't even passionate about, I actually found my dream job and the rest is history.
If you're already working in your desired industry, one option would be to look into other areas and see if there's another position that would be more challenging for you. Or if you feel like you've hit the ceiling and there's not much room left for you to progress your career, then you might want to get a job somewhere where there's plenty of room for you to grow.
7. You Don't Have Enough Time To Focus On Your Dream
Turning your dream job into a reality often seems like a daunting task, so many of us continue to work our safe jobs to pay our bills, while our souls wither and die – I'm speaking from experience as a former dream ignorer. On the other hand you might be doing what you love in your spare time but you're scared to make the jump into unknown territories and take the risk. Yes, you could be left jobless but you could also be loving life by living your dream. What's life if you don't even try to chase your dream?
The main thing is you need to be happy working a job which might be taking up 40 or more precious hours of your life per week. We only get one shot at life so stop wasting it by being unhappy, bored, or ignoring your dream. Take the leap and see where the universe guides you!