Working at a job you don’t like is never much fun, and I think just about everyone has been there.
I know I have. From being misled about the job description and title, to not receiving any training whatsoever, to being given tight deadlines and not allowed any overtime, and to being threatened and yelled at by the public, I’ve been there.
How to Know if You Should Quit Your Job
If you’re thinking it’s time to quit because you’re fed up, but aren’t sure if you should, here are five signs it’s time to leave your job, and some alternative solutions for these common workplace issues.
1. There’s No Room For Growth
Did you take an entry-level job, or do you work at a small company? Your chances of moving up the ladder may be slim.
Your boss may have outright told you there’s no possibility of a promotion. Maybe people have been working in their positions for years and plan to continue until they retire. No room for advancement is troubling, especially if you’re just starting out.
This happened to me in almost all my jobs, mostly because I’ve worked for companies with less than 20 employees. We didn’t have many departments or positions, so it was difficult or impossible to move up.
Working in a civil service position also makes promotion difficult, as you typically need to take and score well on an exam to move up. It’s easy to give in to career lethargy in this situation; when you can’t move up, look for opportunities to grow yourself professionally by developing a new skill that will make your move to a new job easier and give you more opportunities down the road.
If you have a review with your manager, don’t be afraid to bring up the possibility of advancement down the road. You can’t expect them to know you want more responsibility, and you might get some insight as to what their plans are.
2. The Work Isn’t Challenging
This is personal preference, but I’ve held a few jobs that weren’t very challenging. Because I was able to zip through all my tasks for the day within a matter of hours, I was left twiddling my thumbs.
If you’re bored at work, surfing the Internet because you have too much downtime, or are constantly looking at the clock, your job might not be challenging enough for you.
This depends on how you like to work – you might enjoy being able to relax, or you might enjoy being kept so busy the day flies by.
If you’re not being challenged, ask if there’s anything you can help out with. All my bosses encouraged me to ask for extra work when I had nothing to do. If they didn’t have any requests, I’d take it upon myself to clean and organize the office space (I was an assistant).
Is there a side project at work you’ve been thinking about taking on? Working on it during your downtime could be a productive use of your time.
3. Lack of Communication
Working with bosses or colleagues that don’t communicate their expectations well can be really frustrating. Miscommunication is the enemy of efficiency in the workplace.
There were times my bosses emailed the incorrect person to do a task, which lead to that person trying to complete it instead of forwarding it to the appropriate person. Or two people ended up working on the same thing.
What was even worse was having three bosses who couldn’t agree on how to do things, so we’d get three different sets of directions and had to manage different expectations. It was office politics at its worst.
It’s enough to drive a lot of people crazy, and sadly, there’s not much you can do about it besides making suggestions. Is there a better system you can implement? Can you type up a guide of who in the office is responsible for what? Try to make everything clearer to people so less miscommunication occurs. If that doesn’t work, move to a better functioning workplace!
4. You’re Underpaid
This one could possibly be a result of not negotiating enough when you were first hired, not asking for a raise, or your company being really cheap. Either way, being underpaid can lead to a lot of resentment. Not good!
If you know the average salary someone in your position and area makes, or know that your co-workers are getting paid more, you need to do something about it.
Many people have been able to get a raise by “promoting” themselves. They just move on to another company willing to pay more. Sometimes, it’s easier to negotiate upfront with a new employer. If you’ve been content with your pay for years, your manager might wonder why you’re suddenly asking for an increase.
That said, it never hurts to ask, especially if you have salary data to back your request up.
5. It’s Not Fulfilling
This has been a common reason for millennials leaving jobs in the past few years. That might be because we saw our parents work soul-sucking jobs for years just because of the benefits and pension they were offered.
Unfortunately, that’s changed. Benefits and pensions aren’t guaranteed, and staying at one job for 20+ years isn’t the norm.
Some people want to feel like they’re making a difference in the world, and faxing papers just isn’t cutting it for them.
Deciding to quit a job is never easy (I’m always a ball of nerves giving my two weeks notice). However, you don’t deserve to be unhappy 40+ hours a week. If you can’t leave work at work, you might be better off moving on.
However, you should do so in a constructive way. Narrow down what you did and didn’t like about your past jobs, and create a list of what you want in your next job. This way, when you’re on an interview, you can ask the appropriate questions to see if the job and company are a good fit for you. Interviews are a two way street!
Remember, the grass isn’t always greener. If you have to, make a list of the pros and cons of your job. This could give you the perspective you need to make the right decision. Do what you can to better your situation before quitting.
Lastly, it goes without saying: don’t leave your job without having another one lined up, or without having enough money saved. Also, if you’re getting abused at your job in any way, please don’t stay in that toxic environment.
Have you had to make the decision to leave your job before? How did you reach a conclusion? What other signs are there? What is the least favorite job you’ve worked? How long did you endure it and how did you come to make the decision to move on?