You just received an exciting new project. The only problem is, you aren’t excited about it. Instead, you find yourself “living for the weekends” and feel an underlying sensation of dread seep into your mind come Sunday evening.
You, my friend, are unhappy at work and likely, you’re ready for a new job. Don’t worry, you are not alone. In recent years, employees in the United States have been quitting their jobs in record numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Understandably so, the feeling we get when we go to work does not quite beat taking a nice essential-oil-infused bath with dimly lit candles and soft music.
Then again, it’s not necessarily supposed to.
On the flip side, nothing quite beats that feeling of productivity, livelihood, service, money-making, teamwork and fulfillment knowing that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves by serving others.
So regardless of how much we prefer a nice day off, working should generally have some sort of positive feeling associated with it, no matter how tired we are in the morning.
But if you feel absolutely none of those feelings associated with your job, and you instead feel dread, bitterness towards your boss, or a lack of purpose in your work, then it might be time to find another job. Read on to find out if it is, in fact, time.
1. You dread going to work every day
Sometimes, we may be burnt out and might need a goodvacation to recharge our batteries. Other times, we feel a deeper sense of despair associated with our jobs. There is a difference.
If you feel a real sense of ongoing and consistent dread going to work, and a nice vacation has not alleviated your negative feelings, then it might be a hint that you have reached the end of your chapter in this particular job or workplace. Resigning from a job is a big decision, so you don’t want to automatically quit as soon as you feel dread. Think about it and write about it to concretely see your true feelings about the situation. Draft a list of pros and cons for your job, career and current work situation. If the “con” side heavily outweighs the pros, then it is time to consider getting a new job.
2. You no longer see a purpose in your work
Everyone has different motivators, those things that uniquely get you out of bed everyday. Yet there is one aspect that, no matter what, is needed: a sense of purpose. That purpose could look like serving your community, contributing to a cause or creating more money to be financially stable. These are all purposes for your work. Without a sense of meaning or purpose, your work, and your life, will likely feel like it’s missing something.
One study found that a feeling of purpose is generally needed in order to make going to work worthwhile. This sense of purpose could come from giving back to the community with service-driven work, being part of a mutually-supportive team, or contributing to a company at which you feel truly valued. Everyone’s purpose will look different, but the important feature of a job is that feeling of purpose that you feel you are giving and gaining from your work. LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Report on the role of purpose in the workplace has found that a sense of purpose is pivotal in an employee’s well-being at work, and it’s a sign of whether they will stay or go.
So once your feeling of purpose at work goes away, this is a sign that you might be reaching the end of your service at your current job. If you feel like you are just trudging along, robotically going into work with no sense of enjoyment, enthusiasm and, most importantly, purpose, then this is another indicator you need to take action on either adjusting your current job or starting the search for a new one.
3. You don’t get along with your manager
Sometimes, different personalities don’t quite mesh, and that is fine. Just because you feel you don’t get along with a few of your coworkers is by no means a red flag that you no longer belong in that work environment. In any case, if you do face some serious problem with a coworker or boss, that’s where Human Resources comes in.
But there is a difference between not being best buds with your office staff and being undervalued, mismanaged or taken advantage of. If you feel seriously undervalued, or you feel that you might have a toxic boss, then that is a sign you might need a new job. If you feel that you don’t fit into your work environment or you don’t get along with your managerat all, to the point that your contribution to the company is undervalued, then this is not to be taken lightly. The unfortunate reality is that over half (54%) of people in the workplace report personally feeling underappreciated, with 41% saying they’re demotivated as a result.
If you feel that you have tried everything—talking to HR, venting to your family or just ignoring it and just doing your job regardless—andthe problems still persist, then it may just mean that you have outgrown the job. It may be time to move on to another place where you are valued and appreciated, and where you can enjoy interactions with your managers.
4. You can easily imagine yourself doing something else
Are you more curious about things other than the work at hand? Do you find yourself checking out job postings or looking into other career possibilities, all while you are still employed at the place where you feel you no longer belong? If you find yourself daydreaming about working in either another line of work or another job, then it may mean that it is time to move on. Follow the bread crumbs of curiosity in your life, if you find yourself diving into something else, take your interests seriously.
The reality is, two in three employees fantasize about leaving their job. The important aspect to pay attention to here is how often you are having these visions, and why. It’s important to notice what you’re longing for and ask yourself, can your job provide you with that? Are your expectations realistic? That being said, daydreaming is a form of escapism to cope with emotions such as boredom. In certain capacities, mentally escaping can be a health break, it helps you recharge and take a break from the tasks at hand. But, like most things in life, too much can be a bad thing. If you find yourself daydreaming about leaving your job more than you do about actually completing your daily job functions … let’s start preparing the resume and sparking the job hunt.
5. You’ve exhausted growth for your core skill set
In my book You Turn, I talk about how there are 10 core skill sets in the workforce, and chances are, there is one skill set you’re constantly growing and carrying with you throughout your career. Ask yourself: what skill set do you want to be growing in your career? Is it sales, writing, numbers? Whatever it is, if you feel like you’ve exhausted all of the growth opportunity in your job, it’s probably time to head out. Growth is everything, and even with a bad boss, I’d explore staying if you’re still growing in the skill you signed on to grow in your job (so long as your boss is not totally toxic). According to people who have made the leap to a new job or career path, the best time to switch jobs is when you stop learning. If this is the case, talk with your boss. And if you already have expressed a desire for more challenges and the request was returned with … nothing, it’s safe to assume you need to start exploring more challenging options. Choose to view this fact with excitement: your job served its purpose but is no longer fulfilling your career needs.
To cut to the chase, it is very possible that you have simply outgrown your job. Even if you can go into work and hit cruise control, coasting by easily, you know you’re meant for more! Growth is everything.
But don’t act too rashly. Plan your resignation course of action, because you likely need to pay your bills in the meantime. Start sending your CV to prospective employers, schedule interviews with them and plan out exactly how you will approach the conversation with your current boss and HR.
While the job is no longer right for you, that doesn’t mean you want to end things on a bad note. You don’t want to burn any bridges, because your next employers might give them a call for a reference check, and you never know where your future will take you. I once had a client quit a job to start her own business only to turn around and be hired as a contractor for the same company. So be professional and respectful, and emphasize what a pleasure it has been working there, how much you learned and that another job opportunity has come up.
Sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side.
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I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements!