Career advice: how to know when it’s time to break up with your job
A job is like any other relationship – when it’s good, there’s a reliable balance of give and take that leaves everyone feeling satisfied. When it’s bad, however, and one party begins to give more than it gets, that’s when resentments and unhappiness can set in. It may have started out well in the beginning, but after a while, things began to slip. It’s not always obvious when it’s time to move on from a bad relationship – I mean, job – but there are a few very telling warning signs. Of course, it’s always best to try to work out your workplace grievances. Talk it out with your manager and see if anything can be done. But if not, staying in a job that’s passed its prime can turn into a real nightmare. If you ever experience these telltale symptoms, it may be time to make a move. Here is how to know if it’s time to break up with your job.
It constantly puts you down
You work and work, giving your best effort possible, but it still feels like you just can’t win. Nothing you do is ever enough. A job should make you feel challenged and exhilarated. If you’re fighting a losing battle, for your own sake, consider moving on. This kind of situation can make you doubt your value inside and sometimes outside the workplace. There is no good reason to put yourself through this. Find another company who will be more appreciative of your skills and talents.
Your ideas are disregarded or even ignored
This may be an example of how your job is putting you down. If you are able to contribute more than you’re being allowed to, your skills are going untapped and you are not being allowed to grow. Not only that, but by blatantly disregarding you, they are devaluing your contribution as a team member. Many companies will be interested in your opinions and ideas. Go out and find one that is.
Your personal life is suffering
This is a challenging one because it’s not always easy to see when, or to what degree, your personal life is being affected by work. It could be that you’re bringing stress home every day, or that your work life balance has gotten, well, out of balance, or that self-doubt caused by a toxic work life has crept its way into your daily life. We spend most of our time in our workplaces. If it’s a negative situation, it can and eventually will affect your personal life, and no job is worth that price.
Your life is changing
This one might be the easiest symptom to foresee and handle. If you’re moving farther away, planning to travel, looking to put a down payment on a house, getting married, having kids, or whatever, you may need to rethink your career situation. Whether you need more money, flexible hours, or compensation for your commute, trying to force your current job into your life change may prove difficult. Sometimes, the best situation for everyone is a new clean break. You can then be free to find a new job that fits with your new situation.
You’re woefully underpaid
While it’s true we need to pay our dues in our careers, sometimes being underpaid goes beyond that. You know when the effort you’re putting in is worth more than you’re getting in return. If you’re feeling like the work is outweighing the reward, it may be time to move. Raises and promotions can be hard to come by in a lot of organizations. Sometimes, a move is the only way to jump up in the pay scale.
Your job duties have changed/increased, but the pay hasn’t
Similarly, if at one point you did feel fairly compensated, but your responsibilities have since increased, you may start to feel unsatisfied with your level of compensation. If your employer is not able to increase your salary based on new job duties, you may need to move to get the increase you feel you deserve.
You feel like you have no purpose
It’s important for employees to feel like they are a part of something bigger, adding value as an important part of the daily grind. When people feel they serve a purpose, their job satisfaction and engagement is much higher. Feeling lost within the company can make daily duties feel tedious and irrelevant. You can try to find your place in your current position, but it may be more beneficial to start fresh at a place that makes you feel like an important part of the team
You’re not growing
It’s easy to get comfortable in a job, but sometimes, to keep your career moving forward, you need to move. Even if the job is great in many other ways, it may not be the one to help you achieve your career goals. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
You have a harder and harder time tolerating your job, your boss or both
Every job has its downsides, but if they’re starting to get to you more and more, then this isn’t your everyday workplace irritation. Life is too short to be waking up dreading going to work every day. At a certain point, being comfortable in a job isn’t comfortable, and you may find leaving to be better than holding on.
You’ve already mentally checked out
Be honest with yourself. Is your heart in it like it used to be? Is your head in the moment, or counting the minutes on the clock? If your investment in your work has dropped and you’re already looking at other jobs, it’s better to leave sooner rather than later, before your work effort starts to suffer. Find a new placement and end your current one on a good note.
It can be hard to leave a job, especially once you’ve gotten comfortable. But sometimes, the best thing for your career and your life is to move on to the next stage in your career. Lean into change and find a job that truly works for you.