The old adage goes that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Ask anyone who is passionate and fulfilled by their job and they’ll probably nod along in agreement, as they pack a bag and happily head to their office to do what makes them soar. But for those who hit the snooze button a half-dozen times, try to come up with an excuse you have of haven’t used before to call out and barely make it through the day without leaving for coffee every two hours... work is anything but inspiring.
If you fall in the second camp, consider forgoing the annual New Year’s resolution to pick up a new hobby or finally book that trip you’ve wanted to take, and instead, focus on finding a new job. “The New Year is always a good time to reevaluate your goals for the 12 months that lay before you. It is a time to decide what you want to accomplish during that time, what needs to change or happen to make that a reality, and what you need to keep and let go in your life,” psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC tells Bustle. “You may find that your current job or career is not in line with your ultimate goals for yourself.”
Since one third of your life is spent working (pretty depressing, eh?) — feeling like you’re stuck in a place that doesn’t appreciate, challenge, or empower you is literally wasting your life away. “We spend at least 1/3 of our lives at our job, 1/3 asleep, and 1/3 comprising the rest of our lives. That is a big portion of your life to be content of unhappy with. If you are unhappy, it can be magnified, since so much time is spent there,” Martinez adds. “If you are content in your job, it makes the rest of the things in your life easier to focus on, and approached with a better attitude, in general. If we are unhappy at work, we tend to take that home with us, so finding that happiness and contentment becomes essential is we want a well rounded and easier going life that we enjoy.”
Here are some key indicators it’s definitely time to take a peek at those job boards or see a career coach, stat:
1. You Can’t Leave Your Job At Your Job
Even in a happy workplace, there may be times when you have to complete some assignments at home or on the weekends. But if your distaste for your job is seeping into your relationships and your overall mental health, it’s time to reconsider. “You find yourself constantly complaining to your friends, family, and partner about your job. You have a sense of dread every Sunday before the work week starts,” Martinez tells Bustle. “You are letting your job impact these relationships, as you are so unhappy, you focus on little else.”
2. You Feel Anxious All the Time
Depending on the industry you’ve built your career in, there are bound to be stressful days, weeks and even months. For people who are satisfied with their jobs, those moments might be rough and overwhelming, but because they enjoy both the process and the end goal they’re working toward, they feel like anxiety in those moments. The opposite is true when you can’t stand your employment. “You have a significant increase in your levels of anxiety due to the stress and unhappiness that you are experiencing at work. This is not something to joke about. It can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure, and a number of physical and mental health issues,” Martinez says. “You need to find a way to cope, or find a new situation quickly, as it is literally your well being at risk.”
3. You’re Really Bored
During downtimes or when you’re assigned to a project that doesn’t exactly interest you, you may find yourself zoning out on Facebook or reading frivolous news to fill your days. But if you feel complacent more than you feel motivated, it’s time to start browsing elsewhere. This is a sign that you may be overqualified for your role. “ If you can do your job with your eyes closed, it may be time for you to look for a new challenge. Maybe you need a larger scope of responsibility,” life and career coach, Cheryl E. Palmer, M.Ed., CECC, CPRW tells Bustle.
4. You Really DGAF
OK, OK — sure we’ve all been put in meetings we know we aren’t needed or become so frustrated with someone we’re working with that we want to scream, but if your apathy has hit a new level, it’s time to check yourself. “When we do something we're passionate about we feel energized and alive. If you just don’t care and you’d rather spend your day doing anything else, it's time for a change. Take note of what you do while you're procrastinating from your work. What we do when we procrastinate is often a good indication of what we're truly passionate about,” Foram Sheth, co-founder of Ama La Vida and life coach, tells Bustle.
5. You’re Jealous Of Your Friends
Jealousy is human nature, but when it’s targeted toward your friends who are seemingly happy, successful and growing in their careers while you feel like you’re backpedaling or tredding water, it can be dangerous. “Don't hate them," Sheath says. "Be them. If you're feeling overwhelmed by jealousy when you see friends who are fulfilled by their jobs, it should be a kick in the pants to find a career equally meaningful to you."
6. The Culture Isn’t For You
All companies have different policies surrounding how employees interact with one another and how the higher management reacts to those who report to them. Some cultures involve happy hours and open dialogue, while others are much more policy-driven. If the company culture makes you feel isolated, it could be an indicator to get out, fast. “If you're feeling completely alone and unsupported by those around you or by your organization, it could be time for a change. While your career path is yours to own, you need the support of others for guidance, opportunities, personal growth and to achieve your potential,” Sheath explains. “You may be able to actively seek out this support, but if you're still feeling deserted you may want to look elsewhere.”
7. When You Feel Like What You’re Doing Is Pointless
“Cool, you just skipped happy hour with your girlfriends to stay and crank on a PowerPoint presentation that no one will ever look at again. That sucks. Now we're not all going to be a bunch of Mother Theresa's, but we all want to feel that how we spend our time 40+ hours per week serves a purpose,” Sheath says. “We want to feel like our hard work has made an important contribution to someone or something. If you're feeling like what you do doesn't matter to anyone, it's likely not aligned with your personal purpose.”
If these signs sound all too familiar, put your efforts in making a job change in the new year — you'll be surprised by how much the rest of your life can improve too.
Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle