Making the decision to leave your job can be difficult, particularly if you're not actively unhappy with the position. By taking an inventory of how a job stacks up against your emotional state and professional trajectory, you can determine whether or not it is time to move on and seek a new position.
The Spark Is Gone
Even the best jobs have a limited shelf life. After a certain period of time, you can no longer get anything more from the position. Spotting this tipping point isn't necessarily easy, especially when you're busy and constantly on the go. For clues, look to your personal level of enthusiasm. Do you have a constant feeling of low-lying boredom? Have you lost interest in activities and tasks that were once exciting and challenging? Are you noticeably unmotivated and disinterested? A "yes" answer can mean that the spark has gone out and it's time to leave your job and find one that reignites your professional fire.
An office environment is an important, and often overlooked, part of job satisfaction — after all, you spend a significant part of your life at work. A negative, toxic or dangerous situation can impact your mental well-being, your health and your future. Hostile environments can take many forms, ranging from constantly complaining colleagues to serious ethical violations and abusive bosses. If you find that your work atmosphere is seeping over into other areas of your life or sabotaging your productivity, it's reason enough to leave your job.
Overworked and Underpaid
Few things are as demoralizing as being underpaid. This situation can arise in a variety of ways, some more sinister than others. Your boss may not realize that you've taken on a workload that outstrips your salary, or the company may be dealing with layoffs and tough financial times. Alternatively, your company may be taking advantage of you by increasing responsibility without raising your pay. If you have explained the situation and requested a raise to no avail, it's time to cut your losses and leave your job.
Daydreaming about alternate working and living situations can be a sign that you're ready to leave your job, even if you love the company and your colleagues. Look back on your recent history. Have you spent hours idly looking through job postings or dreaming of traveling the world? Do you fantasize about packing up and moving to a new city or a new position? These behaviors indicate that something is off, even if nothing is wrong. It might be that you're longing for a change, or you may know deep down that your current job isn't the one for you.
Making the decision to leave your job is not one to make lightly. By staying aware of your situation and monitoring your career progression, you can make the choice objectively.
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