8 Warning Signs You Need to Find a New Job Immediately

Published: Jun 28, 2018


unhappy at workSometimes the decision to look for a new employer and actively put yourself on the job market is a complicated one that includes a lot of hand-wringing, second-guessing, and hesitation.

And then other times, the answer is crystal clear: it’s time to find a new job… yesterday. Staying too long in a toxic workplace or in a job that simply makes you unhappy can have long-lasting negative effects, and studies now show that staying in a job that you hate can literally make you sick. Is it really worth it?

Here are 8 warning signs that you’re long overdue for a job change and you should start applying for new positions immediately:

1. You’ve stopped doing your job

Maybe you’re letting deadlines slip past you or projects and tasks left uncompleted. You’ve stopped attending meetings or responding to requests or emails. If your performance and productivity levels have taken a sharp dive (and you’re not having a serious personal problem that’s affecting your ability to do your job), you may be so unhappy at work that you simply don’t care anymore. This is a difficult issue to overcome and is likely tied to the way you feel about your employer, your role, or perhaps even your field. You should find something that you’re more motivated about sooner rather than later, because a track record of poor performance will only make it that much more difficult for you to get another job. Time to get out now and salvage your reputation while you still can.

2. You dread going to work every day

Sunday afternoon and anxiety starts to set in. You can hardly enjoy what’s left of the weekend because you know where you’ll be headed the next morning: work. If you dread showing up to your job and find yourself getting nervous, distracted, or depressed at the start of each workday, it’s time to put yourself out of misery and find something that you can feel good about and doesn’t cause such a disconnect between your personal and professional life.

3. There’s nothing to look forward to

Part of being satisfied at work means having goals to look forward to, whether these are personal goals and milestones (like learning a new skill, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, or getting a raise) or goals you accomplish with others or on behalf of your employer (like exceeding a sales quota, landing a big account, or publishing new research results). If you find yourself with absolutely nothing to look forward to, get excited about, or work towards, then you’re just spinning your wheels and likely going nowhere in a professional rut. It’s hard to stay motivated, happy, and productive under these circumstances.

4. You feel hopeless or stuck

As we age and gain more experience, people are naturally inclined to grow, evolve, and change over time, both in our personal and professional lives. If you’ve lost the opportunity to grow at work, it won’t take long to be overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness or feeling that you’re stuck in one place. Good employers should offer a clear roadmap for professional growth. Or, at the very least, should support you in your own pursuits of growth and advancement. If you have no sense of hope that tomorrow may be a better day or that you may get the support and resources you need to grow as a professional, then you should probably look for an employer with a better company culture and that has a good approach to professional development.

5. You’re escaping

Low levels of job satisfaction can manifest in some pretty unhealthy ways, both physically and mentally, if you linger too long in a toxic workplace. Only you know the toll that your job has taken on you physically, emotionally, or mentally, but if you find yourself developing some negative habits to “escape” the unhappiness you’re experiencing at work, it’s time to take action immediately. No job is worth sacrificing your health.

6. Your family and friends are begging you to quit

Similarly, if you’re that unhappy at work, chances are the people closest to you will have noticed it in a big way. You can’t be that miserable in such an important aspect of your life – your job – and not have those feelings or worries affect your personal life. If family or friends are consistently telling you it’s time to get a new job, you should probably take their advice. They have an outside perspective on just how unhealthy or detrimental a miserable job can make you, and if they’re begging you to quit, it’s because they’re seeing you suffer.

7. You know you’re going to be fired

If, for whatever reason, your termination is imminent, be the first to get out. Quitting before you’re fired or being let go (which may not be directly related to your performance – companies make necessary cutbacks for all sorts of reasons, even when individual employees are doing great work) puts you in the driver’s seat on the job market. It’s much easier to explain to a potential new employer in the interview why you left a position rather than why you were fired. Think ahead and plan for your future job search here.

8. You’re deeply unhappy at work

This is a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people stick it out at work even when they’re unhappy every day. For some, they may feel they have no other choice, while others may assume that work isn’t supposed to be fun or enjoyable. You may find yourself lingering way too long in a dead-end position instead of finding a better opportunity that brings more joy and peace of mind. Or, at the very least, doesn’t make you miserable.

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