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7 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Job

Is your job making you—and everyone around you—miserable? Do you wish you were doing something else? Find out when it’s time to cut ties and take your talents elsewhere.

| March 13th, 2014
7 Signs Its Time to Break Up With Your Job

Do you dread going to work? You’re not alone. The 2013 State of the American Workplace Report estimates that a paltry 30 percent of Americans feel engaged or inspired in the workplace. If you’re one of the 70 percent who isn’t happy with your job or feel like your current position isn’t helping you reach your full career potential, it may be time to consider making a change and moving on. We spoke with workplace experts and sussed out seven signs that it’s time to break up with your job.

1. You’re being treated poorly.
Professional workplace consultant Matthew Della Porta, Ph.D., says that being treated poorly is a clear sign that it may be time for a vocational change. Della Porta mentions that employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs when they are given recognition for their hard work and contributions to the organization. In fact, most innovative and progressive organizations understand that treating employees well is essential to maintaining stability and profitability. “More engagement is strongly related to a better bottom line for the company,” says Della Porta. “If your organization cannot or will not make adjustments to take advantage of this simple business strategy, it's best to find another place to offer your talent and skill set.”

2. You just plain hate it.
Shawn Anderson, six-time author and motivational success coach, says that if you wake up every Monday morning with a sense of dread and thoughts about how much you hate your job, it might be time to consider finding new work. Anderson says that if you find it increasingly difficult to get motivated to go to your current job, it’s a giant red flag. He points out that whether it’s your job description, the people you work with, or if you feel you’re meant for bigger and better things that’s contributing to your unhappiness, it’s important not to ignore the red flag. “This is not a practice session for a life we get later,” points out Anderson, “so why would we waste our time on a job we hate?”

3. Your health is taking a hit.
Has your job become so stressful that it’s made you physically sick? It may be time to throw in the towel. According to Della Porta, an organization that causes employees to literally work themselves sick is stuck in an archaic business model. He speculates that these companies will have a difficult time staying competitive with ones that invest in the heath and wellness of their employees. If you’re a part of this negative work situation, it’s likely time to leave. “Unless you have no choice, it’s unwise to work at a place that expects you to endure high levels of stress while making no effort to help you manage that stress effectively,” says Della Porta.

4. You’re making family and friends miserable.
Della Porta says that the relationships you have with your family and friends are critical for staying happy, and if your misery at work is affecting those around you and straining personal relationships, it’s not worth sacrificing that for a paycheck. He mentions that some people may be able to advance professionally without maintaining these relationships, but most are settling for less overall success in life if they neglect their social lives for work. Della Porta says that happiness is dependent on having strong, warm relationships with friends and family, and if your job is negatively affecting these relationships, it’s time to move on.

5. The job is un-motivating or boring.
Ever waste a chunk of the work day on Facebook, while watching the clock slowly tick by? If this is you, it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile. According to Anderson, this kind of work allows a person to accept mediocrity in life. He points out that if he were to ask a group of people if they want to live an average life, no one in the room would raise their hand—even though many of them are doing so in the workplace. Anderson’s suggestion: If you’re unmotivated in or bored by your job, it’s time to dream bigger and leave.

6. You want an entirely new career.
Feel like you’re having a career crisis? Perhaps you have a great job in finance, but have always had the burning desire to, say, own a record shop. Anderson suggests exploring your passion—whatever it may be—with realistic baby steps. If it’s music that fuels your fire, begin by making a list of careers in the same field and finding ways to segue into a job that gets you closer to your dream career, such as transferring to work at a record company, rather than actually opening your own store. “We’re not asking people to jump off a cliff and land safely,” says Anderson. “It’s about finding the passion, and if you’re interested in chancing it, find a way to chase it.”

7. You’re afraid to quit.
Many people stay in stagnant and unfulfilling jobs simply out of fear—fear of being financially unstable or fear of failure in pursuing another job. Anderson suggests using his “Rocking Chair” test: Picture yourself at 85 years old, and imagine the “scrapbook of your life.” Anderson says that most people don’t want the pictures to be of themselves miserable behind a desk, but rather to be photographed as happy and fulfilled in life, including in the workplace.

Finally, if you’re not happy with your job but are still undecided about calling it quits, Anderson suggests asking yourself this question: Do I deserve to live an awesome life? “If your answer is yes, then you have no choice but to break up with a job that sucks.”

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