Gut-wrenching. That’s the best way to describe a voluntary decision to leave a perfectly good job to pursue something new. I’ve had to go through the painful process of changing jobs many times, and it’s not easy—but getting to the point of conviction that it’s the right thing to do isn’t impossible, either.
It’s helpful to know the telltale signs that it’s time to move on to new horizons. I’m going to share with you seven of the most important ones. You might face just one, or perhaps all of them. Either way, if you’re nodding your head in agreement as you read this, you know the jig is up and it’s time to plan your exit.
1. You’re Constantly Bored
At first, it’s nice to have some mental downtime. Prolonged, however, it’s a recipe for disaster.
If you’re often bored, you aren’t being challenged and learning a whole lot. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, you’re atrophying, and your skills are less and less useful in an increasingly competitive market.
Boredom is unavoidable, but it’s critical that it’s not a long-term thing. If you aren’t experiencing a sense of vigor and learning, and you can’t volunteer for new projects that will help you stretch and get out of your comfort zone, it’s time for a change.
2. You’re Embarrassed About Your Work
Do you believe in the products your company produces? Are you proud to tell your friends and family what you do and where you work?
I believe that we all should be on a mission to build a career we can be proud of. One way to do this is to change your mindset regarding your work. Ask yourself, “Who does my company serve? How do my customers benefit from our products and services? How are our customers lives better as a result of me doing what I do?”
If you answer these questions and still can’t find any deeper meaning or purpose in your work, that’s a pretty big sign.
3. You Wouldn’t Hire Yourself for Your Job
Don’t let anyone fool you: No one is fully qualified for their job. There’s always a learning curve, even for the most highly skilled person. That said, if you were your boss, would you hire yourself to do your job? If not, why?
Whatever your answer is to this question will reveal a few things. First, it will reveal a few possible gaps in skills or attitudes that you should address to be successful in your job. Second, it will serve as an indicator for your desire to do what it takes to be a “good hire” for your job. Sometimes, the missing pieces we need to be successful are not the things we’re able or willing to work on. If this is the case for you, your energy will be better spent in a job where you want to invest the time and energy in your personal and career development.
4. You’re There for the Money
If you won the lottery, would you still be doing the type of work you’re doing today?
When I pose this question, I’m not saying you need to work the same number of hours. Most people would obviously work less!
Instead, think about if you would still be doing the same style or type of work you’re doing now. If the answer is an enthusiastic “yes!”—you know you’re on the right career track. Otherwise, you may need to do some soul-searching to find out what your longer-term career path should be.
5. You Wouldn’t Choose Your Job Again
We choose a major when we go to college, get a job, and sometimes never leave that career track for years and years. The choices we make when we’re in our teens do not and should not represent what we do for the rest of our lives. This fact hit home for me when I decided to leave a job and company I loved to travel and start my business. It wasn’t that my job was bad, it was that my values changed as I grew older and I needed to build a new career in line with those values.
If you had to choose your job right now, would you pick the same field you’re in today? Would you choose the same company? Would you choose the same specific job?
If you wouldn’t opt-in to your current matter right now, it’s worth asking yourself “Why?”
WANT TO DIP YOUR TOE IN THE WATER AND JUST START LOOKING?
The only answer to that is, "Yes!"
6. You Don’t Respect Your Boss
Respect has nothing to do with if you think your boss is smarter than you or not. Respect is about appreciating what your boss does, and how they do it. Respect can come along even for those you disagree with.
Sometimes, the actions (or inaction) of your boss can leave you with a total lack of respect. Perhaps you don’t agree with how they treat team members. Perhaps you don’t like their indecisiveness. Perhaps you don’t like their leadership style. Perhaps they lack vision. Perhaps you don’t think they have the intellectual horsepower it takes to be in their job.
There’s a saying that most people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. In my coaching practice, I’ve witnessed this to be true more often than not.
7. Your Health Is Suffering
During my last job in the corporate world, I was working a lot. Flying all over the world, meeting with business partners. I was doing “well” by all outward measures, but physically, I was a disaster. I wasn’t sleeping enough. I wasn’t exercising enough. I wasn’t eating well (and you can’t outrun a bad diet). Eventually, I realized that as good as the job was, I needed to take a break. Ultimately, I wasn’t happy.
When work takes its toll on your health, it’s important to gut-check your priorities and ask yourself what you can do to improve. Sometimes, it’s not enough to hire a trainer or re-commit to taking spin classes. Sometimes the answer is to reassess your lifestyle (of which your career is a big piece).
What role does your job have in your current physical or mental health (or lack thereof)? Is your work the source of your problems?
Maybe by shifting to a career that lines up with your values and desire for a better lifestyle, or perhaps by just taking a break or sabbatical from work to sort out your next step (like I did), things will improve for the better.
If any of this applies to you, you know what you have to do—take the leap.
This article was originally published on Medium. It has been republished here with permission.
Photo of person thinking at desk courtesy of Caiaimage/Tom Merton/Getty Images.
Ravi is a Denver-based Executive Coach and 14-year veteran of Microsoft Corporation where he led Product Management and Planning teams for various global software products. As a Coach, he is an expert at helping people build careers they can be proud of! In addition to writing for The Muse and on his blog, RaviRaman.com, he is an ultra-marathon runner, yoga teacher, and gadget junkie. Say hi on Twitter @YogiRavi.More from this Author