You’re folding yourself out of bed on on a rainy Monday morning. You’re brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and looking for the jacket that doesn’t have the coffee spot on it. You’ve already snuck a peek—or three—at your mobile device, and your brain is starting to inbox what’s waiting for you at the office.
Are you excited and energized? Or full of dread? If week after week your Mondays are dread-full rather than grateful, it’s time to have a serious chat with the most important person in your life–you.
It’s time to examine the signs.
It’s time to decide whether it’s time to quit your job.
Quit my job? Are you nuts? I’ve always been told I should be grateful to have a job.
If that’s the story you’re telling yourself, let’s take a look at reality. If you’re on LinkedIn (and seriously, you should be–it matters), you may get their emails about who has changed jobs each year. The average? More than 20%. And most of them needed to quit something in order to take on that new opportunity.
So other than the career fairy godmother flitting past your cube and sprinkling a path of new opportunity dust from your keyboard to the doorstep of your next employer, how will you know if it’s time to quit your job?
Here are four flashing signs.
1. When You’re No Longer Growing.
For most high-performing people, doing the same thing over and over gets old, fast.
In fact, 3-5 years is about the span of time today for a smart, successful person to be happy doing the exact same role with the exact same routine.
If you find you’re no longer being challenged and yet you’re still hungry for learning and growth–and you’ve tried and tried but can’t find new ways to grow where you are–start thinking about change.
2. When You Lose Your Last Advocate.
Transfers, layoffs, and retirements all can change the landscape of who’s in your corner. As I wrote in “Bring Your Superpowers to Work,” one of my turning points in deciding to leave a great company was when my boss Suzanne announced her retirement–and when I realized I didn’t want her job. (Nor was it offered to me, which concerned me at the time but in hindsight was a great glute-kicking gift.)
Suzanne “got” me. She understood my strengths, my differences, and could articulate and defend my value and ideas to others in ways I was only learning. While I feel lucky that she wasn’t my last advocate at the company (her successor was a gem), her absence was felt.
Don’t discount that your biggest (and loudest) fans matter. If you suddenly lose your advocate for your career success—whether that be a leader, manager, or peer role model—it’s time to consider a change.
3. When You Start to Be Angry–A Lot
All of us get cases of the of workplace grrrrrrs–that idea that gets unheard in the conference room, the new policy that takes more time to implement than the savings it’ll create, the teammate who can’t carry her weight but doesn’t seem to know it. While they can make us mad in the moment, it usually takes a lot of them to create true anger.
True anger comes over time. It comes as frustration sets in without relief. It comes after boredom and a feeling of injustice or even hopelessness sets in. If you find you’re always angry–and that’s not like you–it’s a warning sign.
Without sounding like an after-school special, you’re smart enough to know that long-term, unresolved anger isn’t healthy. Not only will it damage your life and your relationships, but scientists say chronic anger increases your chance for heart disease and stroke. Is your career worth that?
My on-demand course, “Should I Stay or Go?” helps you make your best career decision now, with more confidence and less stress. More here.
4. When Your Values and the Organization’s Values Are No Longer in Sync
This may be one of the biggest signs, but one of the hardest ones to see because we don’t often take the time to recognize what our own values are–or are becoming.
Because while some of our inborn values stay the same, others can definitely change based on what we’ve learned and done so far in life. As a working human being, we’re fortunate to have factory-installed mechanisms to change and grow, and when we change, our values may shift during flight.
If you’re starting to get that itch about whether you should quit your job, make a list of what you value. Adventure? Security? Creativity? Service? There’s no right or wrong here–just write down everything that resonates with you.
Ask yourself how those values show up in your workplace. If your company is staid when you crave risk, or if your organization is valuing independence when you value cooperation, you’ve found a conflict. Out-of-sync values are a clue you’re no longer in the right spot.
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