Americans change jobs frequently these days. However even with our job mobility, it's easy to stay at a job too long. Here are 7 signs that indicate it's time to quit your job.
You Hate Going to Work
Do you dread your morning commute? How soon do you start thinking about going to work on the weekend? Is it Sunday night, Saturday night or Monday morning. I've found the sooner your start thinking about going to work, the more you really hate your job.
I've also found that it's extremely hard to get out of bed when you know you have to go to a job you hate. I've been there. I know what it's like. If you're noticing you're more irritable than usual especially when thinking about work, that's a sign you're starting to hate your job.
Some people need a challenge. Knowledge workers (lawyers, engineers, etc) are more likely to need a challenge. When work becomes too easy or too repetitive you may find it starts to feel too much like work.
This shouldn't be confused with slacking off. If you're doing your job and getting your work done and you're bored, there's problem.
As a programmer, many times I don't feel like I'm working. This is especially true on an interesting project or something particularity challenging. The payoff comes from the challenge. The money and benefits are nice but I could not work without the challenge. That's just my personality.
You're Stressed Out
Everyone claims they're stressed out. However, some people really are. I've found the biggest cause of stress is the loose ends at work. If you've got too many projects going and they aren't going anywhere, you'll find yourself dealing with stress.
Our minds evolved when we were hunting animals and living moment to moment in survival mode. Every concern was immediate. Your brain doesn't know how to deal with loose ends. If there's a problem with no good resolution, it's going to cause stress. Any task left undone is in your head someplace gnawing away at your subconscious. How many times have you been eating dinner and realize you forgot to do something at work? Getting organized can help ease that stress.
You're Burned Out
Once you've accumulated enough stress, you start burning out. Americans have too little vacation. With limited vacation, many people what to take short trips. However, I find that a short vacation is more stressful than staying at home. So taking time off really isn't the answer.
Without a good break from work and with too much accumulation of stress (see #3) you're mind and body begin to show the signs of burn out. Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you feeling depressed? Are you irritable all the time? Is it due to your job?
You're Not Making What You're Worth
Good people are hard to find. Some jobs, especially those with high barriers to entry (doctor, lawyer, engineer) will always be in demand. If you're good, there's no shortage of job opportunities. However, it's all too easy for an employer to take employees for granted.
I've heard of a number of companies giving a 3% raise across the board. The only people that appeals to are those in Human Resources. It makes their jobs so much easier. However, it's not going to motivate anyone to work harder and it's certainly not going to encourage the good people to stay, if you can even get them to work there at all.
If you're not making what you're worth and your company has a strict policy on raises then you're going to start to hate your job. It's surprising how many companies try to implement a one size fits all policy towards employee benefits.
Bad Work Environment
Unfortunately, much of our management culture is left over from the factory of the last century. Managers (especially higher-up's like Directors and Vice Presidents) have a tendency to view employees as replaceable cogs in the machine. We should punch in at 8 and leave after 5. Vacation and sick time are frowned upon. We must keep the assembly line rolling you know.
The gray cubicle farms of modern Corporate America will someday be studied by psychology and sociology students. Who in the world can be motivated to work in the dreary gray landscape of cubetopia. Cubicles stretching as far as the eye can see. The only relief from gray is the occasional motivational poster or corporate propaganda banner.
Of course it could be worse. Many offices are dirty grimy places with bad air and no light. My current office doesn't have a window or any source of natural light. I also share it with a guy who insists on sucking the mucous out of his nose about every 15 minutes like a 10 year child.
I believe that your boss makes or breaks your job. If you have bad boss your job is going to suck no matter what. You could have the best corner office, the highest salary and awesome benefits, but if you hate your boss, you will hate your job.
The first giant corporation I worked for should be a case study in every management textbook. This large nation-wide bank produced the most awful managers of anyplace I've ever worked. Seriously, Harvard Business School could have a class dedicated to how to create bad managers and the students would only need to study this one company.
After that first job most of my bosses have been pretty good. However, my wife hasn't been that lucky.
My wife has been at her current job almost 10 years. She's seen many bosses come and go. I've noticed her mood change with each one. When she's had good bosses, she's been generally happier. However, when she's had bad bosses, she's nearly in tears every night.
I can't understand why people want to stay at jobs with terrible bosses. I've lived through it once and I won't do it again.
Do you hate your job? Is it time to quit? It's hard to quit a safe and secure job and face the unknown. I know most people talk about quitting their job and starting their own company, but very few people do.
I want to work for myself. I'm putting a plan together to make that happen. In the meantime, I'm trying not to get burned out at my current job.
Leave a comment below and let us know about your bad job experience. Have there been any jobs you really hated? How did you know it was time to leave?