How to know when it’s time to leave your job: 10 indicators

By Sylvia Hepler

If you’re unhappy with your current job, it may be time to consider these 10 important factors that indicate a bigger change is needed. When is it time to leave your job?

Thinking about leaving your job and actually doing it are two very different things.  While everybody has some bad days at work, you need to pay attention to symptoms like regular sleep disruption, constant fear of termination, physical and/or emotional illness, alcohol and drug use to cope, and chronic unhappiness.  If you are experiencing even one of these, you probably should consider a job change NOW.  Take a look at the following specific indicators and see which ones resonate strongly with YOU:

1.  You are bored, stale, and stuck.

Your alarm clock rings in the morning, and you push the snooze button twice.  You groan when you think about facing the day.  Once at work, you watch the clock and give in to every distraction that comes your way.

2.  You no longer support the organization’s mission, philosophy, and/or culture.

You find that you are trying to convince yourself that you can still work for this company despite the recent mission shift, growing philosophic differences, and/or unwanted culture changes.  You tell yourself that the misalignment doesn’t really matter, yet you feel like a fish out of water every day.

3.  You conclude that you are not well suited for your job.

You have the right skills, but you don’t like the work.  Although people regularly compliment your expertise and productivity, they have no idea how drained you feel while working to reach your goals.  You are tired of smiling and pretending that all is well.

4.  Your professional growth has stagnated where you are.

Your boss doesn’t offer you development opportunities such as attending conferences and seminars, signing up for online webinar trainings, or registering for college courses.  Further, your boss doesn’t take the time to invest in you through mentoring and coaching.

5.  You find reasons not to expand your skill set.

Although you realize that you could do an even better job if you learned an additional skill, you make excuses for choosing to get by with the skills you already have.  You look for work-arounds, dodge situations that require the needed skill, and/or tell yourself that you lack the time to learn something new.

6.  Your morale is low.

You discover that you are simply not motivated.  People ask you why you never smile.  You procrastinate about starting projects.  You only do what is expected and nothing more.

7.  Other people don’t respond favorably to you.

You notice that coworkers avoid you.  When you voice your opinions or provide input to conversations, people seem to resist your contributions.  When they see you in the hallway or in meetings, they ignore you, pretend you don’t exist, or treat you badly.

8.  You resent the work.

While you do your work and submit it on time, you know you harbor a negative attitude about it.  You frequently feel overwhelmed, and you “fight” all the responsibility you shoulder.  You think about how unjust it is that you appear to be carrying a bigger load than many of your peers.

9.  You resist the changes coming down the pike.

As your boss outlines certain departmental or organizational changes slated to go into effect within the next few months, you silently reject them—even if you know they will be positive and beneficial to everyone involved.  You decide that you don’t want to make these changes because they require effort you’d rather not expend.

10. You have stopped making a positive difference and being a positive influence.

You go to work and do your job, but you don’t go out of your way to add noticeable value to relationships, situations, and the overall culture.  You do what is expected of you—nothing more.

If you see yourself in one or several of the above indicators, it’s probably time to take action.  Create an exit plan, set a time frame, and seek support for your big move.  Staying around for another year isn’t going to serve you, your colleagues, or your company.  Face the fact that you are no longer fully engagedArticle Submission, and muster the courage to cut the cord.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sylvia Hepler, Owner and President of Launching Lives, LLC, is an executive coach based in South Central PA.  Her ideal clients are persons in management positions:  corporate, nonprofit, and business owners.  Her company mission is to support executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.  Sylvia offers three programs, any of which may overlap depending on client need:  First Class Management Program; Change, Loss, and Grief Program; and Career Development Program.  Her professional background includes:  extensive nonprofit management/leadership, public speaking, business writing, retail sales, and teaching.

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