If you love the work you do, it doesn’t necessarily always feel like work. But if your career has you feeling burned out, overwhelmed, or perhaps even unsettled, you may be experiencing the telltale signs that it’s time to move on. When you believe that you have nothing left to gain in your position – or nothing left to offer – it can feel like you are stuck, going through the motions just to receive a paycheck.
Of course, it’s not uncommon to experience feelings of malcontent or frustration in the workplace. Everyone has difficult days, and sometimes a challenge can be just what you need to kick your problem-solving skills into high gear to tackle an obstacle from a new perspective. But if your gut is telling you that something just isn’t right anymore, you may need to slow down and listen. Leaving a job can feel similar to the breakdown of a marriage or other relationship – when it’s over, you just know.
Listen to Yourself
If you were once excelling in the workplace and your performance has recently started to suffer, consider taking a step back to assess the situation. Have you merely become complacent in what you do, or have you truly outgrown your job? How do you know how to distinguish between the two?
For starters, listen to yourself. Were you once passionate about your job, eager to start your day and get to work? If you’ve since lost that passion, you may have also lost your motivation. If you dread going into the office and doing your day-to-day tasks, it can be difficult to change your mindset. When you’re experiencing feelings of burnout, it’s crucial to listen to your inner voice that’s telling you something isn’t right. Similarly, if your work no longer challenges you, you may find your mind wandering, wondering if your current position still fits your needs. In order to clearly assess the situation for what it is, be open to thinking it through and hearing yourself out.
There are many reasons you may be feeling uneasy about your current position or workplace. Do you work for a difficult boss who is eager to micromanage or undermine you? Or maybe your work environment fosters an unhealthy competition with your colleagues, where instead of focusing on collaboration, you believe they are out to sabotage you? If you don’t enjoy the work environment or office culture, you may feel like you don’t fit in. While there are steps you can take to remedy this, feeling like an outsider can become a problem when it affects your work and your performance. If you are unable to work collaboratively with those around you, you may be right – the environment just isn’t right for you, and you would be better suited someplace that values your contributions and insights.
If you enjoy your work, but you feel that you’ve hit a peak, you’ll need to determine if there is any possible room for growth. When there isn’t room for growth, start thinking about next steps and how a change in job – or company – better aligns with your career goals. If the only possible area of growth is a lateral career move – or perhaps in a direction that you don’t envision for yourself – you may also want to consider a change.
There are many reasons directly related to the workplace that can signify a reason to leave. When a company’s organizational structure begins to shift in ways that impact the employees in negative ways, you may begin to wonder if the change is in your best interest. If those around you are making a mass exodus for greener pastures, you too might be tempted to join the cause.
During difficult times in the workplace, it can feel natural to want to discuss the tension with your colleagues. Be wary of this – while it can be helpful to hear if your team members are feeling similarly, it can also be a double-edged sword. You don’t want your feelings to end up misconstrued or trailing back to your superiors.
In this scenario, it may be best to get an outside perspective from someone you trust and respect.
Your Health Is Suffering
You do your best work when you are feeling your best, but if you’ve been noticing the wear and tear of work-related stress, your body could be trying to tell you that something is not right. When we’re stressed, our bodies release hormones that send our nervous system into a state of emergency, causing our hearts to beat faster, our muscles to tighten, and our blood pressure to rise. While these changes are a natural response and can actually improve our strength and focus, they can also be detrimental to health if recurring over a long period of time.
Stress can also exacerbate existing conditions, which can include the following health problems:
- Weight fluctuation
- Heart disease
- Digestive issues
- Sleep deprivation
- Skin conditions
If your work life is impacting your health – whether it is physical, mental, or emotional – it may be time to move on and fit something that better suits your needs.
The job hunt isn’t always an easy path to go down, but if you find yourself spread too thin, frustrated by your surroundings, or just plain unhappy in your work, you owe it to yourself to begin the search. When you no longer feel satisfaction or a sense of achievement in your career, you could be on the verge of burnout, and it’s important to take action before it derails you. It’s critical to be proactive, listen to your inner voice, and take care of yourself. Keep in mind that work is what propels us forward to achieve our goals. If you aren’t moving in the direction of your dreams, then where are you headed?
How did you know you were ready to move on from a job? What advice do you have for others who may be feeling the same? Share your feedback in the comments section below!