Sometimes in your career, there are these giant, flashing, neon signs that seem to yell, “Hey, you! Yeah, you with the miserable look on your face! It’s time for you to blow this popsicle stand and find yourself a new gig.”
Maybe you hate your boss or your responsibilities make you want to cry. Perhaps you’ve been consistently skipped over for promotions. Or, maybe you’re blatantly mistreated.
Either way, it’s painfully obvious to you that you need to leave your job.
But, other times? Well, the signs that are telling you it’s time to hit the road are far too easy to cruise right by. In fact, they’re often missed altogether and simply written off as a normal part of being employed.
What sort of cryptic hints am I talking about? Well, here are six not-so-obvious signs you should probably dust off that resume and look for something new.
1. You’re Always Unmotivated
You get your work done. But, you’ll also be the first to admit that it’s a daily struggle. Forcing yourself to sit at your desk and trudge your way through your to-do list feels like a feat of superhuman strength. And, you find that—instead of aiming to go above and beyond—you’re always scraping by with the bare minimum.
Listen, we all have those days when we’d rather be doing anything else. However, that shouldn’t be the day-to-day norm in your job.
If you find yourself feeling constantly lazy, unmotivated, and just plain disinterested? That could be a clear indicator that it’s time to look for something that will set your heart on fire again.
2. You’ve Been Doing the Same Thing Since Day One
You’ve worked in your current role for a while. When you compare what you do today to your very first day on the job? Everything looks pretty much identical.
You haven’t been challenged to push your boundaries and accept new assignments. You haven’t had the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities. In fact, it’s tough for you to find a single thing that’s changed or grown in the course of your tenure.
Feeling comfortable and confident in your career is one thing. But, feeling glued in place? That’s an entirely separate problem. When you begin to realize that you’re stuck in neutral, that might mean it’s time to either speak with your boss (this article has some great tips!), or find a new role that will allow you to expand your horizons a little more.
3. Your Stress Level’s at a Constant High
Your stomach’s always in knots. Your fingernails are practically nonexistent from your constant chewing. You can’t seem to even take a two-minute bathroom break without checking your inbox.
A certain amount of stress is normal—every job has those tasks or moments that inspire a bit of palm sweat or anxious lip chewing. And, maybe you’re somebody who enjoys and thrives in a high-pressure and fast-paced environment. Hey, if stress is what motivates and fulfills you at work, more power to you!
But, if you discover that constantly feeling like a tangled bundle of nerves is really only dragging you down inside the office and out, it’s worth exploring some other opportunities where your stress level won’t need to be at a constant high.
4. You’re Irritable
You find yourself snapping at your loved ones. The smallest annoyances can inspire an exasperated groan and an eye roll that could be seen from the space station. Even when you’re clocked out for the day, you feel inexplicably grouchy.
Have you considered the fact that your job could be the reason? As someone who had a position that turned her into a regular Debbie Downer without even realizing it, I know firsthand that your career can have a huge impact on how you feel outside of the office—for better or for worse.
Are you far less irritable on the weekends? Chances are, your position’s coloring your outlook more than you even care to admit. It might be time to search for greener (and happier!) pastures.
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5. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Were Excited to Go to Work
Alright, there are very few of us who cartwheel out of bed on Monday. Nobody is always thrilled to head into work.
But, if you can’t remember the last time you felt the smallest inkling of excitement to tackle a new project, participate in a brainstorming session, or even dominate your office’s guacamole competition? That’s a problem.
Expecting to feel over-the-moon enthusiasm every single day’s unreasonable. However, if you’re filled with a feeling of dread—even on days that are supposed to be easy or fun at work (hello, there’s guacamole!)—it’s in your best interest to find something that will reignite your passion.
6. You’ve Considered Getting a New Job
A few times, you’ve thought about quitting your job and finding something new. Sure, you never really gave the idea serious consideration or took any steps to actually make it happen. But, you’ve mulled it over a few times—you even mentioned it in passing over a shared appetizer with your friends.
Thinking about job searching is sort of like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube—once it’s out there, it’s out there.
Consider this: If you were really all that satisfied with where you are now in your career, you likely wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of jumping ship. Maybe—just maybe—your subconscious is trying to tell you something here.
There can be a dangerously fine line between normal work grievances and red flags that indicate that it’s time for you to pack up your desk and find yourself a new job. Yes, all of these signs are easy to write off as problems that everybody deals with—they’re normal.
But, the difference lies in consistency. If you’re feeling, doing, or saying these sorts of things on a regular basis, that’s symptomatic of more than just a bad workday.
So, if you found yourself nodding along with one (or all!) of these signs, it might be time to give some serious consideration to finding yourself a new position.
Photo of person stressed courtesy of Paul Bradbury/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author