If you've been noticing a few red flags at work, or feeling like your current job isn't a good fit, you're probably right. And if you decide it's not something you can deal with, it's certainly OK to begin the process of moving onto a job within your current field, or a new career entirely.
Because really, life is too short to put up with a job that feels toxic, unethical, or unfulfilling. "As a society, we spend most of our life working, and it's ridiculous to keep assuming that enjoying your job is a 'luxury,'" career expert and resume architect Rachele Wright tells Bustle. "Work is certainly work and not everything you do is going to make you giddy with excitement, but you should feel passionate about the work that you're doing and motivated to keep doing it ... You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting a new position that makes you feel determined and fulfilled."
So, how can you start making moves towards a more fulfilling job? "Most people would say to dust off and update the resume, but I actually recommend [you] sit down, [put] pen to paper, and reflect," career expert and coach Emily Liou, founder of Cultivitae tells Bustle. "What is it that is lacking in the role? What do you really need to be happy? What does success look like to you? Make sure you communicate these needs to your current employer; they might surprise you with their accommodations to your requests."
But if you can't make it work, or your job is truly dragging you down, don't be afraid to look for something new. Here are some signs it may be time to do just that, according to experts.
1. Your Manager Isn't On Your Side
Since your manager holds your work life in their hands, you really need them to be on your side — and not trying to knock you back in any way. "If you want to progress your career and notice your manager isn't advocating for you or [is] taking credit for your work, you may want to find another person who can serve as your mentor," says Liou. "Early in your career, a great manager and mentor is critical to help you succeed in the years to come."
2. You're Consistently Passed Over For Promotions
If you've been promised a promotion or raise, but it's been a minute and you still haven't gotten it, it may be time to move on. As Liou says, "If you find yourself giving your all in a company and you're not being recognized for promotions or the leadership team continuously brings in external candidates for roles, that might be a warning sign to polish your LinkedIn profile and open yourself to new opportunities." Follow up with them, but if you still haven't heard anything, take your skills somewhere where they'll be more appreciated.
3. Your Workplace Feels Toxic
Since you spend a good portion of your life at work, make sure you're employed somewhere that feels uplifting and supportive — not toxic. "Anytime you find yourself in a situation at work where you are dreading going to work because of how you feel once you are there, that is your 911 message to get out ASAP," Heather Monahan, workplace expert and founder of Boss In Heels, tells Bustle. "No one’s heath or self respect are worth compromising for a job. As someone who has gone through it, it is important to know that removing yourself from that negative environment will create a positive change in your health and life and bring more opportunity to you."
4. The Company Isn't Growing
If you have big career goals, make sure you're working for a company or business that is run by motivated people, and one that is expanding and improving every day. Because if it isn't, it may become your problem. "Companies that don’t have the vision to innovate and grow in today’s fast, changing environments will begin to focus on cost cutting and become a very negative environment to operate in," says Monahan.
If this is the case for your job, you might feel bored and uninspired at work, because they don't have enough work for you to do. Or, you might hear rumblings of financial problems. Either way, that's your cue to get out as soon as you can, and move on to a company that can grow with you.
5. Your Coworkers Consistently Let You Down
Most jobs require you to be a part of a team, so don't put up with a "team" that consistently lets you down. "If you are in a company that allows for certain departments to not respond to emails or requests and that hinders your job, it is time to find a new company," says Monahan. "In some organizations there are different expectations put on each department, which can cause major problems for you and your department to deliver. You want to work in a company that has excellence as a standard across the board and not just for some."
6. You Don't Feel Inspired
While some jobs certainly exist as means to and end, it's important to do your best to be in a career that fulfills you, too. So don't sit idly by for years if you truly do feel "blah" about your job, and you want something more. "The biggest red flag ... is if you find yourself not feeling inspired or excited about future positions," life coach Kali Rogers, founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle.
Look up the chain of command. Do you want your boss's life? Does they inspire you? If not, find a job that can pay the bills and supply you with meaningful work.
7. You Don't Agree With The Company's Ethics
If there's something "off" about your job, or the way the company runs, it may be time to give your other prospects a second look — especially since any ethical issues are unlikely to change.
"If there is something deeply systemic about the company that is not jiving with you, it's going to be really hard to shake it," says Rogers. "Systemic issues are ones that are apparent across the board within the company. Things like favoring men in powerful positions (i.e. having only one female leader), a level of formality or informality amongst coworkers, rates of raises or periods in between promotions, or PTO policies. These types of things are going to be tough to change, and if you cannot tolerate it, then it's best to leave."
And if that ethics policy also means a laxity or indifference when it comes to sexual harassment charges, that is an unhealthy environment you should not have to tolerate. With 30 percent of women experiencing harassment in the workplace overall, this issue should not be taken lightly by your company, especially when the safety and wellbeing of employees is at risk.
8. You're Under Constant Stress
While you shouldn't hit the road just because your job is stressful, time-consuming, or difficult, it is important to keep an eye on your health. "If every task makes you worry or start to panic about how you're going to get it all done, it's time to rethink your situation," says Wright. Again, it's all about your work/life balance, and looking after your own wellbeing.
Another red flag? If you're getting sick all the time. "If you work life is starting to take a toll on your physical health, it's time to consider a new situation," says Wright. "If you don't have time for proper meals, physical [activity], or the ongoing stress is building up into larger physical problems, you don't need to stay in this situation anymore. It'll end up costing you more time and money than the job is worth!"
9. It Feels Like You Don't Fit In
"If you feel like you just don't fit in with the company, your co-workers, or your superiors, it may be time to find a better fit where you enjoy the people around you," says Wright.
And that can include feeling bored. "If you are bored at a job, and don't feel that anyone is listening to your efforts to do more, produce more, or be of more value, then it's time to look elsewhere," says Wright. "Companies that have clear problems that you can fix, and still don't want to utilize your skills to fix them, don't deserve your help."
10. Your Company Is Undergoing Major Changes
It's good if your company is restructuring, but do take the time to evaluate how it'll affect you. "Whether it’s a change in leadership or a workflow change (ie: new software system or personnel restructuring), challenges are certain to arise," Michele Battershell, director of career services for National Career Education and owner/career coach at Empowered Career Management, tells Bustle. "Your job is to assess the reality of how that will affect you and those around you. Sometimes it is only a matter of weeks or months before complete assimilation is reached, but it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open for other opportunities at this point."
11. You're Not Learning Anything New
Once you settle into your job and learn the ropes, things will feel easier. But don't sit back and let your work life become too easy. "If you're early in your career or like to be challenged and you're not learning anything new or growing your skills or network, you should start looking for a job that stretches you more," coach and speaker Jennifer Braganza tells Bustle.
By keeping an eye out for red flags at work, you'll know if or when it's time to leave a company, and move on to a better, more fulfilling career.