Everyone who is old enough to be in the workforce knows that work isn’t always fun and games. If you’re satisfied with your career, you learn to take the bad days in stride with the good days and the average days. However, if your work life is becoming an endless list of bad days, or a string of monotony, it may be time to take a serious look at your job and make sure it’s right for you.
I was once a legal assistant in a busy law office. It was a great job that I was lucky to have, however, I was not happy with my work. It was always stressful, filled with last-minute deadlines, and the pressure to be perfect was high. Although I did feel a certain amount of job satisfaction, the job was just not a good fit for me, and I ended up leaving. Before I left, there were some signs that it was time for me to go.
The following are 11 subtle indicators that your current job is bringing you down, and it’s time to move on.
You wake up with a sense of dread
Not all of us are morning people, but there’s a difference between being groggy in the morning and feeling legitimate dread upon waking. This is what happened to me when I was a legal assistant. As soon as I woke up, I felt pangs of dread about going into the office. I felt this before nearly every workday. This dread made it very hard to get up and go to work.
If you wake up feeling horrible about the fact that you have to go to work on a regular basis, this may be a strong indicator that you need to look into other career options — ones you don’t dread.
You find yourself delaying bedtime
If you’re staying up later and later, just to avoid going to sleep for the reason that you know you have to work as soon as you wake up, that’s a problem. When I was a legal assistant, I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning regularly. I simply did not want the day to be over. I knew that as soon as I went to bed, I would be snoozing my way to another excruciating day. I did not sleep nearly enough.
Quality sleep is important to all aspects of life, and if you’re compromising yours because you don’t want the day to end and another work day to begin, you’re doing yourself harm. No job is worth harming yourself.
You start hoping you catch a cold
This may seem extreme, but for some people, it applies. If you start hoping to get a seasonal bug just to have a break from the office, that itself speaks volumes. If you’d rather be bedridden for a few days then spending those days at your job, it’s very likely time to find a new job.
You don’t like your co-workers
Many of us have at least one co-worker that we don’t get along particularly well with, but if you really dislike most (or all) of your co-workers, your job may not be a good fit. Most workplaces require communication and teamwork to accomplish certain goals, and if you loathe working with your team, you aren’t doing yourself or your workplace any favors. Furthermore, if your work environment is hostile in any way which cannot be resolved, it’s time to move on.
You look at the clock every five minutes
It’s not abnormal for people to get bored at work from time to time, but if this is a chronic thing, it may be a huge red flag. If you can’t go five minutes at your job without checking the clock (mentally trying to force it to go faster), it means that you’re not being challenged enough, or that you do not have any passion for the challenges that have been assigned to you. Both are bad signs.
You stop paying attention to your appearance
Did you once meticulously plan your workday attire in order to look your best, but now you throw on anything vaguely appropriate before you run out the door? If you no longer care how you present yourself at work, it may be a sign that you no longer care about your job. If you don’t care, it’s time to find a career that you do care about.
You’re experiencing chronic stress
Stress is a part of life, and nearly everyone experiences stress at work from time to time. That said, if you are feeling constantly stressed, and do not feel like you are able to let go of said stress, that’s a problem. Chronic stress is extremely dangerous to your health, and if your job is the root of yours, you may need a new job.
Some people may be chronically stressed without even realizing it because they get so used to the stress that it just feels normal. There are telltale signs, however. If you’re constantly tired, irritable or anxious, that may be stress. If your skin is breaking out and you’re experiencing digestive distress for no other reason, that may be stress, as well. Listen to what your body is telling you.
You start extending lunches and breaks
If you’re always late coming back to work from lunch and take long breaks whenever you can, that may be a sign that you hate being at work. Taking breaks is important, but if you’re drawing yours out on a constant basis, ask yourself why you keep doing a job you don’t like in the first place.
You feel like your skill set is being wasted
A satisfying career is one in which your natural skills and abilities are able to shine. If you feel like you have a lot of skills to offer, but they aren’t being utilized (or not utilized in a way that you enjoy), it’s high time to find a job which celebrates your abilities, not stifles them.
You don’t have time or energy for the things you love
If your job leaves you so busy and overbooked that you no longer have time to relax and do the things you love, that’s a huge problem. Work/life balance is key, and if there’s no “life” in that balance, it’s time to find a job which will provide that balance for you. It’s even worse if you are unable to spend time with your loved ones — no job is worth that sacrifice.
You’re not experiencing career satisfaction
The bottom line is, if you’re not satisfied with your career, it’s time to seriously think about starting a new one. It’s never too early, or too late, to make a change. When I left my job at the law office, I was sad to leave some great employers and coworkers behind. However, I knew I had made the right choice, as I no longer woke up with dread. Life is short. Spend it doing something you enjoy!
— Tanya Mead