17 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

This article first appeared on The Whiteboard.

Not looking forward to another day at work? Maybe your company is utterly immune to new ideas, or maybe your job is as painfully boring as a line at the post office. Either way, you’re not alone in wondering if you should leave your job. According to a 2015 study, 71% of workers in the US feel bored and disengaged at work.

71% of workers in the US feel bored and disengaged at work.

Is it your fault you feel this way? Certainly not. It simply means that your current role doesn’t align with your cultural and intellectual needs, or with your goals for professional growth. Deciding it is time to quit your job isn’t easy. If you’re trying to figure out if you have a good reason to leave your job, take a look at the questions below. If you answer “yes” to a few of them, it’s a good sign that it’s time to look for a career that makes you happy.

HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE A JOB:

1. ARE YOU BORED MOST OF THE TIME?

Have you ever been frustrated about having to log eight hours, even though you can get all your work done in four? Do you spend more time navigating bureaucracy and politics than doing actual work? Is your job so easy that it exhausts you? These are all signs that your current role isn’t intellectually challenging enough for you.

2. HAVE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES CHANGED FOR THE WORSE?

If you’re no longer responsible for the the tasks you enjoyed the most, or you suddenly have more responsibilities than you can manage, start by addressing your concerns directly in a conversation with your supervisor. Find out if the change of duties is permanent and, if it is, ask yourself whether you’d be happy to stay on despite the shift of focus.

3. DO YOU DISAGREE WITH A STRATEGIC DECISION?

Did a recent decision from management clash with what you believe to be ethically, morally, or strategically right? If you voiced your concerns but they fell on deaf ears, decide if you’d be comfortable staying on despite your differences.

4. DOES A BUDGET CUT MEAN THAT YOU CAN’T DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY?

If you’re overworking yourself in an attempt to achieve the usual results with a significantly smaller budget, find out if things are likely to go back to normal soon. If not, is this extra hustle worth it to you? You might want to look for an opportunity where the expectations are appropriately aligned with your realistic ability to make an impact.

5. DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT JOB BECAUSE IT MADE SENSE AT THE TIME, NOT BECAUSE YOU WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE WORK?

If you have what others might consider a “good” job but don’t feel at all happy, here’s a question for you: How have you been making decisions in your career? Did pressure from your family, the college degree you chose, competition with peers, or an enticing paycheck play a big part in the decision? Challenge yourself to define what’s important to you and let go of other people’s definitions of success.

6. WHEN YOU ASK YOUR BOSS FOR HELP WITH A CHALLENGE, IS SHE COMPLETELY UNABLE TO GIVE YOU USEFUL INFORMATION?

If you approach your manager with a specific problem but they offer you platitudes instead of solutions, this indicates a level of incompetence. Look out for other red flags: Does your manager take credit for your work but refuses to take responsibility when things go wrong? Do you feel that your boss doesn’t have your back in meetings? This kind of leader is likely to turn against you at the next opportunity.

7. DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANT A DIFFERENT JOB, BUT FEEL TERRIFIED OF MAKING A CHANGE?

If your need for stability is morphing into stagnation, challenge your risk aversion. Ask yourself: What will I regret later on in life? What will I be proud of? When it comes to your career and, by extension your life, not taking risks is the riskiest move of all.

8. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM?

The key to constant growth is surrounding yourself with people who are more successful that you, Sam Hysell tells us in his Six Hacks for Finding Life-Changing Mentors. If you don’t admire or learn from any of the people you work with, it’s time to look for a more stimulating environment.

9. DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MONEY ALL THE TIME?

Money gives you the freedom to not think about money. If you have a full-time job but can’t buy a friend dinner without feeling anxiety about the bill, re-evaluate your options and priorities.

10. WERE YOU REFUSED A PROMOTION OR RAISE YOU WORKED HARD FOR?

Ask your supervisor what factors prevented you from advancing and when you can revisit the decision. Listen carefully to negative feedback and be honest with yourself. If the response is unclear or dismissive of your contributions, it’s time to move on.

11. DO YOU WORK SO MUCH THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE?

Some roles are extremely demanding, especially in high-growth companies. If you love your job, your teammates and the company mission, this may be acceptable for you for the time being. Does your work exhilarate you to a point where you don’t mind a lopsided work-life balance? If not, consider transitioning to a role which allows you to take care of your personal life.

12. ARE YOU DISILLUSIONED WITH YOUR COMPANY’S MISSION?

Are you having a hard time aligning yourself with the mission of your company or even feel that it’s in opposition with your values? Are you working on something that makes the world a better place or are you just helping your boss get rich? If you’re in the latter scenario, ask yourself: Is perpetuating the dissonance between what you do and what you believe in worth it?

13. DOES YOUR COMPANY ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE INNOVATIVE THINKING?

Do you often suggest new ideas, only to hear, “But this is how we’ve always done things”? Do your coworkers roll their eyes at you for creating innovative solutions because they don’t want to the extra work? Does management counter your suggestions to optimize processes because it makes them look bad? If bureaucracy and politics are running the company, consider looking for a role at a place that encourages innovation.

14. DO YOU NOTICE THAT YOU FEEL UNWELL MORE OFTEN THAN YOU USED TO?

Headaches, stomach aches, feeling exhausted even after eight hours of sleep, and asking to work from home more often than usual could be signs that job-related stress is affecting your health. Feeling unhappy and stressed out over a long period of time weakens the immune system. According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, stressed workers are 79% more likely to develop coronary heart problems than their less-stressed colleagues. If you’re getting sick a lot more than you used to, it may be time to look for ways to do work that matters without sacrificing your well-being.

15. DO YOU FEEL ALONE OR HAVE JUST ONE PERSON THAT YOU’RE CLOSE TO AT WORK?

Feeling isolated or having a single person who’s your oasis of sanity in the office are key indicators that you don’t fit in. If you feel pulled down by your coworkers’ negativity, frustrating gossip, or unhealthy competition, or if the office culture is one of perpetual stress, panic, and super-chickens, try to counteract these behaviors by setting a good example. If you feel that your perspective is vastly different from that of the people around you and that the negative behavioral patterns aren’t likely to change, it may be time to move on.

16. ARE PEOPLE STARTING TO LEAVE?

If you’ve been observing a lot of restructuring, layoffs, and letters of resignation recently, you might be on a sinking ship. Other signs to look out for are a lack of paying customers, noticing that the customer experience is suffering and that your coworkers are becoming more insular, as well as constant salary renegotiations (i.e., if your boss offers you anything from equity to free lunches instead of a paycheck). If you care about the company, you don’t need to abandon ship immediately. However, it’s a good idea to start exploring other options sooner rather than later. This way, you’ll have a plan B if you do need to move on eventually.

17. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR SENSE OF PASSION AND WONDER?

Did you originally tell yourself that this job was a temporary solution, but now believe that this is what being an adult is all about? Did you feel passionate about other things in your life, but have started thinking that “work is work for a reason,” and that it’s not possible to earn a living doing something you love? Feeling resigned or even cynical is no way to go through life — it’s time to make a change.

THE TAKEAWAY:

If you’ve answered “yes” to several of the questions above, start by sharing your feelings in a conversation with your supervisor. Explain what the issue is, how it’s affecting you, and what solutions you propose. If your manager is unwilling or unable to help you find a solution, it’s time to take action. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start fighting for your happiness. As Amelia Earhart said,

The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.

Making a career change isn’t easy, but the payback is huge. Imagine feeling that you’re true to yourself in the work that you do. Imagine disappearing into your work for hours without noticing the time go by. Imagine bouncing out of bed on Monday morning. You deserve a job you love. Start the journey now.

Interested in learning how Startup Institute’s career change bootcamp can get you to a job you love? Download our free Program Guide to learn more.