Ever known someone who worked at the same job for years, but complained about it daily? Have you accepted an unfulfilling job because you think work is work and it doesn’t need to be enjoyable? The fact is many people are stuck in lousy jobs and have either grown complacent, don’t know that there are better options out there, or just aren’t sure what the warning signs are.
Here are some signs it’s time to look for greener pastures:
1. You dread going to work.
How you feel about going in to your job each day can tell you a lot about whether it is the job for you, says Andrea Kay, career consultant and author of “Life’s a B*tch and Then You Change Careers.” Do you wake up in the morning and dread leaving your house for the office? While you are not expected to jump up and down with excitement every Monday morning, feeling constant job-related anxiety is a significant sign that you are in the wrong place.
2. You get no enjoyment from your day-to-day responsibilities.
No job is fun and games every day, but you should find some enjoyment in your daily responsibilities. Kay says that examining your job’s typical duties is important to gauging whether or not it is a good fit. The things you do daily should fit with your strengths, which are the things you like to do and do well, Kay says. For example, if you are happiest when you are out communicating with people, you probably will not be happy working with numbers and spreadsheets all day.
3. You are uncomfortable with the company culture and environment.
Some people write off the importance of culture in the workplace, but it can have a dramatic effect on your overall happiness and success. Kay says you need to ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the values of the organization. Are they in alignment with your own?
Additionally, the work environment can be another big factor in determining if a job is one that meets your needs. For example, if you love to spend all your time outdoors, you might not be happy sitting behind a desk day in and day out.
4. Your relationship with your boss is turbulent.
Problems with the boss are the most common reason that professionals give for leaving jobs, and the employee/employer relationship is critical to overall job satisfaction. “Define what would be an ideal relationship with your boss so you can take the initiative to help create it or know what to look for,” Kay says. For example, do you like someone who works closely with you or would you rather work for someone who is hands-off? Only after you determine what your ideal is can you assess whether or not your relationship is living up to it.
5. You see no opportunities for career advancement or enhancement.
If your company does not place an importance on job training and professional development, this should raise some concerns. Similarly, if you have been stuck in the same position for years, have the desire to move up, but are not given the opportunity to do so, you might want to re-evaluate your situation.
While Kay says these five factors can be indicators of a lousy job, she also strongly cautions against using them as an excuse to leave without first taking some initiative to change your current situation. For example, if you feel like you have not been provided with opportunities to advance, proactively seek out these opportunities by talking with your boss or consulting human resources. If you feel like you do not fit in with the culture, assess whether or not you have made an effort.
“You need to ask yourself ‘have I done everything that I can to explore advancing or enhancing my career here?'” Kay says. “Do what’s in your power to make a difference.”
If you are still feeling unsatisfied, the job is probably just not for you. And while it might be time to look for something new, your lousy job is not a total loss — use what you’ve learned to help you find the right fit next time.