If you work a regular nine to five job at 40 hours a week, by the time you retire, you will have spent at least 90,360 hours of your entire adulthood working. This is A LOT of time, which is why it's so important to look for a job that you enjoy and are actually happy at. While looking for a job and a company that is right for you is important, what is equally as important (if not more) is knowing when a job or a company isn't right for you.
Many fresh post-graduates and even young professionals can easily put too much emphasis and effort into simply just getting that first job and locking it up, regardless of whether it's right for us or not. And when we realize it's not right for us, it can be very hard to quit. Whether it's because we feel familiar with the job, we have a close connection with the people at our work, or feel even obliged to stay because we owe it to our boss, there are some tell-tale signs that we should probably quit and find a new job, and here they are.
1. You feel unmotivated to finish projects and assignments
It's totally normal to not feel 1,000% excited finishing a work project. It's also totally normal to have your personal life be complicated or stressful, making it harder to focus on work. But what isn't "normal", is when you start to feel a long-term slump and begin to lack that key fundamental motivation that pushes you to finish the job.
You can't possibly be good at a job you don't fundamentally care about. While this job doesn't have to be your absolute passion in your life, you do have to at least be internally motivated to do that job to the best of your ability. You have to find something in that job that makes you want to do well.
People often have the misconception that your job or career path has to be the most important, most validating thing in your life, when really it doesn't have to be. And actually, shouldn't be.
2. You're not sure what you're being judged on
Every job needs a set of clear metrics on which you are judged. This is what helps you advance through raises and promotions, and gives you a good day-to-day understanding of how you're performing.
Some companies have very clear-cut standardized metrics (eg. specific quotas and scaled performance reviews), while some other companies have very vague and unclear metrics, with constantly shifting goal posts. For example, if you were given a set of goals to complete by the end of the year but were given a poor review because of another project you didn't even know was a focus, then that's huge red flag that you weren't sure of what you're being judged on. Some companies with poorer practices purposely offer shifty metrics to prevent you from moving up, getting raises, and to keep you in the same position longer than you should be.
When you don't clearly know what your goals are, you cannot advocate for yourself and cannot plan for your future on how to improve.
3. Work stress has begun to affect your health and personal life
So here's the deal, we're not saying that your work life is going to be completely stress-free. It's completely normal to have periods where it will be very hectic, but a good employer should always isolate those busy periods and then compensate for them, giving you a chance to breathe after that busy period. Even if they can't offer you overtime pay, a good employer should be able to recognize your hard work, and at least offer the option for you to work from home or take a few days off.
You can't functionally work or stay long-term somewhere where you feel like you're constantly being burnt out and is taking over your personal life. An employer who doesn't care about your well-being doesn't care about you at all.
4. You have unhealthy boundaries with your coworkers
Some signs that you may have unhealthy boundaries with your coworkers are if you're constantly needing to attend mandatory social events with coworkers, always getting asked personal and invasive questions, participating in a lot of alcohol-fueled work events, and if there is a total discernable lack of HR at your workplace.
Some incredibly close-knit company cultures can create a very unhealthy dynamic for coworker boundaries. Sometimes you end up staying a job that isn't right for you, longer than you should, because you feel overly attached to your coworkers or your boss. In other words, you shouldn't be best friends with your boss. In the best case scenario, it's an unhealthy power dynamic, in the worst case scenario, it could potentially end up in a lawsuit. Even if your boss is your best friend, you shouldn't feel obliged to stay at a job. A best friend should understand and support you in the decisions that are the best for you.
Feeling trapped at your work because you don't want to "hurt" your coworkers is the wrong mentality to have when it comes to employee-employer relationships. It's okay to be friends with your coworkers and like them, but as a general rule, your personal life should remain relatively separate from your work life.
5. You've peaked out at your work
You've hit a wall where you've stopped learning and evolving at your job. It's completely normal to have faster and slower times of the year, but if you look back at one year's worth of work and cannot identify a single major skill that you've learned or improved on, then that's a problem.
Sometimes when you've been working with the same company for a long time, it's easy to start feeling comfortable, like you could do the job with your eyes closed. While it's a nice feeling, it can be harmful to your growth within the company, as well as your long-term career growth for future potential opportunities. Staying stagnant won't look good on your resume if you want to work for different companies.
Three things to look for to help you grow and learn at a company are having 1) a mentor figure, 2) goals for the year, and 3) clear metrics that help push you. If you cannot answer the question: Why are you essential to the company? Then that's a sign that you might want to considering getting a new job.
6. The job is not what you signed up for
This is a common problem for many fresh post-graduates or for anyone newly entering the workforce. We are currently in an economy where the majority of people are over-qualified and underpaid. This means that more often than not, the terms of a job can be rather deceptive. Many fresh graduates go head first into a regular 9 to 5 job feeling lied to about the job expectations, and end up having to take on more than they were told. Then the following issue becomes, they don't feel they can complain or speak up about it because they know that there are thousands of other people waiting to have this job.
While you may not want to leave today, a job that isn't honest about the day-to-day requirements of your position is not a job that you can grow long-term at. This means you have to start looking the tangible skills that you have and add those to your resume. These are the things that will make you indispensable to a company, and give you wider options for a new job in the future.
Source: The Financial Diet