It’s so easy to get stuck in a job that you don’t love because it’s comfortable – to just go into automatic mode and be content with the security of a paycheck, your free two-day weekend and occasional vacation. Some may argue “well that’s life”, or “no one really loves their job,” but those are people who are clinging so tightly to safety that they won’t even consider breaking out and discovering if there’s opportunity out there. People are starting to wake up, though. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the “quit rate” — the percentage of people leaving jobs voluntarily — rose to 1.8% in November - the highest since the recession ended. It’s generally a good idea not to quit before you have another prospect lined up, but here are some signs it’s time to quit your job and risk becoming a little happier with your life:
1. This job doesn’t align with your goals
Where do you see yourself in five years? Is this job going to get you there? If you don’t have goals for both your personal and professional life, it’s time to create them. Once you outline your life goals and when you want to achieve them, assess whether or not your current employer is going to help you to have the life you envision. Perhaps you can seek out a new position within your current organization that better aligns with your long-term prospects? If your goals are to be able to spend more time with family in the future, but advancing within the company will only mean being stuck in the office longer hours – that’s also something important to consider. It may be time to open up to the idea of switching career paths or employers completely.
2. You’re ready to learn more
Research has shown that the typical worker can master their specific job in approximately three years. After that point, the pace of industry-focused learning and skill mastery starts to slow way down. With this in mind, it makes sense that changing jobs after three years allows you to reset and gives you the opportunity to grow and learn additional skill sets in a new position. You’ve probably noticed with yourself that at about the three year point things can get a little stale at work. Consider changing positions within your industry and expanding your skills to make you more valuable at what you do.
3. You’re not being challenged/It’s way too challenging
Other research points to the importance of your job involving challenging tasks that really take you out of your comfort zone about 20% of the time. Apparently this keeps you on your A-game without burning you out from stress. If you’re in a job that never makes you feel challenged, it becomes easy to slip into bad work habits like being distracted by social media or attending to personal issues on the job. When you’re not feeling motivated, it’s difficult to be aware and ready for new job opportunities when they appear. Plus, your employer will surely notice your lack of enthusiasm and your pay and value in their eyes will reflect that.
On the other hand, if you’re always feeling under water at work or that you can never keep up with what is being thrown at you, it may be time to take a step back and look at the effect it’s having on your mood and health. When you spend half you day every day in a high anxiety situation, you’re very likely to bring that into your personal life as well. If you feel as though you’re losing sleep, your weight has changed dramatically or you’re constantly in a negative mood – move on.
4. Your job duties have changed/increased, but pay hasn’t
Sometimes there’s a good reason for this, like downsizing or troubling economic times, but if the workload has doubled but there is no where near double the compensation, you should consider leaving. This is especially true if the company is performing well or you have been receiving positive input from clients and it is not being recognized in your salary or rewards. There are many stingy employers out there who will always test how much they can get away with – don’t let fear allow yourself to be taken advantage of.
5. Your boss is an asshole
Even if you love your job, a bad boss can have you dreading going into work in the morning. Maybe your boss is overly emotional and gets erratic or angry when things don’t go their way, or maybe they are abusive, get too personal, or are under qualified for the job. Maybe they just don’t inspire you to work hard, or you just don’t get along very well. If it seems as though there’s no way to deal with your boss’ crazy ways, you’ve tried speaking with them or it’s gone over their head to HR and the situation either hasn’t improved or it’s continued to worsen, you may want to consider other options.
6. You simply hate your job
A recent Gallup poll concluded that 71% of people are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, So almost three-quarters of the workforce don’t like their jobs. One thing in life that is extremely hard to remember is that if you don’t like your job, you can always leave. This is America Dammit. Sure, our jobs give us that certainty and the earnings gap between your current job and dream job may be pretty steep – but sometimes you have to sacrifice money for having a job and life you’re passionate about. You may want to be able to save up for nice vacations or a car, but I imagine that going to a job that you absolutely love every day carries much more value to your overall wellbeing and life.