Is it a case of the Monday Blues, or is the office draining the life out of you?
It can be difficult to admit when it’s time for a career change. We’ve all been there: you’re stuck in a job you hate, and every day feels like torture. You can’t stand the thought of going into work, but you need the money. So, you stay in a job that makes you miserable day after day. Sound familiar?
If Sunday evenings are spent counting down your last precious hours of freedom before returning to your jail cell -er, sorry, we meant “cubical” – it might be time for a change. But how can you know when it’s time to officially pull the plug? Here are 5 red flags you shouldn’t ignore:
1. You don’t get along with your boss or coworkers
Bosses and colleagues should be collaborative, not combative. If you’re constantly butting heads with the people you work with, or mix as well as oil and water, it’s probably wearing you down. Working in an antagonistic environment is draining and it’s not worth your mental or emotional health to stay in a job where you don’t feel supported or accepted.
You deserve to work in a welcoming environment where you can thrive. You spend the majority of your day at the office, and a toxic workplace isn’t something you should have to endure to put food on the table.
If any of these sound familiar, consider packing up your desk:
- Your boss is micromanaging you or constantly breathing down your neck. You feel on-edge whenever you see them walk in the room.
- Your boundaries or personal time aren’t respected. You’re expected to answer work messages after business hours or during PTO.
- There’s chronic negativity or gossiping about colleagues behind their backs.
- You’re not supported, valued, or respected. There’s a lack of trust or even belittlement, or you feel picked on.
- Issues have been brought up with HR or management but their response was unhelpful. Or, there’s fear of being reprimanded if someone speaks up.
2. Your job is too demanding and you’re burned out
Your job should challenge you, but it shouldn’t be all-consuming. If you’re working long hours with little to no breaks, it’s time to take a step back and reassess your situation.
It’s not sustainable or healthy to work around the clock without any respite. You need time to recharge outside of work so you can show up as your best self. The right to clock out also includes mentally clocking out when you leave the office, and work-life balance shouldn’t seem like an unobtainable pipe dream.
Some signs burnout is inevitable (or already started):
- You feel like you can’t keep up or you’re missing deadlines.
- You’re working more hours than ever, but you’re not seeing any results. In fact, your productivity might be suffering because you’re so overwhelmed.
- You’re making more mistakes than usual or the quality of your work has decreased.
- You’re disengaged or uninterested in your work, but you force yourself to keep going. You feel stuck, sluggish, or have trouble staying focused.
- You’ve lost motivation and you dread going into the office. You fantasize of quitting.
- You’re dealing with chronic stress and anxiety, or you find yourself getting sick more often.
3. Your salary is not meeting your needs or you feel you’re not making as much as you deserve
It’s reasonable to expect periodic raises that grow when there’s an increase in responsibilities, skills, and experience. Ballooning inflation, higher cost of living, and the fluidity happening currently in the job market are all valid factors for renegotiating your salary.
You should be making what you’re worth, and if you’re not, you’re allowed to leave. Research the salary range for your position and compare it to your current earnings. If there’s a significant discrepancy, it could be worthwhile to explore other options.
If your current employer can’t (or won’t) pay fair market value for your labor, these probably sound familiar:
- You receive glowing job performance reviews, but keep getting skipped for promotions. Or you’re given additional responsibilities without a matching pay raise.
- You’re not making enough to cover your basic expenses. If your car needed $500 in surprise repairs tomorrow, could you still cover this month’s mortgage?
- You’re being paid significantly less than your counterparts. Also, discrimination-based wage gaps are still a thing. You’re allowed to ask others how much they’re making, and an employer who says this isn’t allowed is lying.
4. You don’t feel challenged in your job
Your job should push you to grow so you can develop new skills and knowledge. When your job stops being challenging, it’s easy to become bored or disengaged. Counting down the minutes until quitting time or finding yourself frequently daydreaming about other things aren’t typically supposed to be part of a healthy daily routine.
A new job or career can bring novel challenges and opportunities for growth so you can start living up to your potential. If your current job has gotten to the point you’re no longer engaged or you’re regularly feeling restless, see if any of these resonate:
- You don’t feel like you’re learning anything new. You’re doing the same thing you did 5 (or 15?) years ago.
- Your skills are going to waste because you’re not using them.
- You’ve plateaued in your career and there’s no room for growth. You stick around because of the benefits or because it’s a hassle to start over somewhere new.
- You’re bored. Everyday.
5. The company has red flags, such as a bad reputation or the industry is in decline
While it’s normal to tolerate a certain degree of office politics or a few workplace quirks, some things shouldn’t be ignored. If you notice any of these things happening, don’t walk- run.
- You dread going into the office or feel like you’re in a constant state of anxiety when you’re on the clock.
- There are sketchy policies in place that are ethically questionable or would cause a scandal if the public found out.
- The industry is in decline and job prospects are looking grim.
- There are rumors of massive layoffs, ongoing strikes, or a general sense of job insecurity. Or, your workplace has strangely high turnover rates.
- You definitely wouldn’t recommend working there.
- You feel unsafe at work, for any reason.
The idea of changing careers might feel daunting, but if you’re miserable in your current situation, don’t be afraid to explore other options. It’s never too late to make a change, especially if that means no longer dreading Monday mornings!
If you’ve read this far…it’s time to update your resume. But if the idea of joining the job hunt seems almost as painful as staying in the job you hate, have you considered franchising instead? Check out the 5 Things to Know Before Joining a Franchise to see if it’s a good fit for you.