Top 10 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

Businesswoman working on laptop
Kris Ubach and Quim Roser / Cultura / Getty Images

Are you having a tough time at work? Do you simply not want to be there anymore? Are you thinking about quitting your job, but not sure if you should? It might be time to consider whether you need a new job and it's time to move on.

Sometimes, we wait too long to recognize that a job situation is not a good fit, but waiting can have negative consequences. It can be easier to stay, especially when you get along well with your colleagues but aren't thrilled with the job.

However, sometimes it's a good idea to make the difficult decision that you need a change.

Of course, most people can't afford to leave a bad job at the drop of a hat, but delaying too long can be detrimental to yourself and to others. When's the best time to leave, and how do you know when you should make the decision to start a job search?

Are You Waiting Too Long To Move On?

Staying isn’t always the right decision, even when it’s not easy to leave. Waiting too long to find a new job can cause serious stress, resulting in depression, relationship problems, and residual anger. If you don't appropriately plan your resignation, you may find yourself at your wit's end one day and end up quitting on the spot, which will ruin your chances to maintain a positive relationship with your past employer. Or worse, you could end up getting fired because you're not productive.

Top 10 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

You can prevent these possibilities by recognizing some of the signs that your job is unsustainable, before the situation reaches a crisis status.

Here are the top 10 signs that you might need a new job.

1. You are already thinking about finding a new job. Barring the occasional, bad-day-induced, "I need a new job, now!," if you've already been mulling over the thought of leaving your job, chances are, that rumination is happening for a good reason.

If your dislike for your job, your co-workers, or your boss is constantly on your mind, you should take that as a sign that it's time to start job searching.

2 Your conversations with your family and friends become dominated by complaints and laments about your work day. If every dinner conversation starts and ends with a negative commentary about your day at work, it might be time to find a job that will incite not complaints but instead productive discussion about your professional challenges, lessons learned, and the day's highlights.

2. You find yourself frequently dreaming about retirement - even if you’re young. Do you spend all day dreaming about retirement, calculating the years, months, and days until the time comes? Don't spend your professional life in countdown mode. Instead take that feeling and use it as motivation to find a position that is satisfying and emotionally fulfilling.

4. Your sleep patterns have been disrupted. You have difficulty getting to sleep, or you wake up during the night with worries about your job. Sleep is very important to your health, and job-induced stress can be a cause of poor sleep. Unfortunately, this can exacerbate a difficult situation, making a bad job seem even worse.

Being tired all the time can make everything seem like a challenge.

5. You have developed headaches, frequent colds, or other physical symptoms of stress. Your physical health can sometimes be an indicator of your mental health, and if you're feeling generally sick or have a sense of enduring malaise, your job might be to blame. If your job is making you sick, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to look for a new position.

6. You have increased your consumption of alcohol or drugs to escape your problems. While it's okay to relax with a glass of wine after work, your day shouldn't be driving you to down a bottle or pour glass after glass of vodka tonic.

If you find that your work is causing your copious consumption of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, you should take some time to reflect on your professional situation.

7. Your appetite is suppressed, or you are eating more than usual. Some people turn to food in the same way they do to drugs and alcohol, but stress can also cause you to lose your appetite overall. If you’re eating or drinking too much because of stress at work, it’s a sign that this may not be the job for you.

8. You dread Mondays, or you have trouble waking up for work in the morning. It's normal to be tired in the morning, but you shouldn't feel a pit-inducing dread or thought-consuming anxiety when it's time to work.

9. You are less productive at work, lack passion, and are bored more often. If you're checking Facebook every ten minutes, playing around with Pinterest, constantly find yourself on YouTube, or are bored with every task, you might need to look for a more mentally stimulating job.

10. You are arguing more often with co-workers or bosses and don't feel you have control over your work. If your dissatisfaction with your job is causing tension in the office, it's definitely time to start looking for a new position. It's better to leave a job on good terms so you can keep your past employer as a source for recommendations and as a network connection. It’s also important to avoid being fired if you can help it.

Of course, these signs can be indicators of other personal, emotional, or physical problems, but if you are stressed about work and experiencing some of these symptoms then you certainly need to reevaluate your employment situation.

What to Do Next

If you’ve made the decision to move on, don’t just quit your job. In most cases, you can carefully and strategically start looking for a new position before you turn in your resignation. It’s easier to get hired when you’re working, you don’t know how long it will take you to find another job, and you may not be able to collect unemployment benefits if you quit.

Rather, take the time to plan your job search. In addition to getting you out of a bad situation, it will give you something else to focus on instead of the job you’re not happy with.

Related Articles: How to Start a Job Search | What To Do When You Hate Your Job | | Quit! How to Quit Your Job

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