If you clicked on this headline, you’re likely frustrated with your current job. And you're certainly not alone.
I was recently working a job where I felt like I wasn’t contributing to anything important. I couldn’t get behind the work I was doing. I didn’t care about it, and I hated going to work every day. I finally decided to leave for many different reasons, but they all pointed back to the fact that, in my heart of hearts, I wasn't doing what I wanted to do. There was no other fix for the problem except to leave.
What you need to realize is that there are people out there who don’t hate their jobs. Actually, some people like their jobs. Can you imagine getting paid to work on something that you enjoy working on? With people that you like? At a salary that supports you? That could be you! But the first step is recognizing that you need a change.
Here are six clear signs it’s time to leave your job.
1. You’ve started bad-mouthing your boss or coworkers
While everyone occasionally complains to their friends or family about work, if you’ve started to bad-mouth your boss on a regular basis, or can’t stand any of your coworkers and talk about them behind their backs, it’s probably time to move on. This kind of behavior indicates a deep resentment for your work environment, and it’s only going to get worse from there. Stop bad-mouthing them right away and instead put that energy toward your job search.
2. You’ve started bad-mouthing your company
Similarly, if you find yourself only saying negative things about your company to other people, it’s time to leave. Not only does this make your company sound like the worst place in the world (which it probably isn’t, all problems aside), it also makes you look bad. Be respectful when you discuss your unhappiness at work — you are still working there after all, so what does that say about you? Instead, show people outside of work you are serious about leaving by starting your job search now.
3. You’re at the same level you were five years ago (and it's not by design)
You may have started out at your company at entry level, and you assumed you would be in a higher position, making more money, five years down the line, a milestone which you’ve now hit. You have put in a gracious amount of time at this company, but you haven’t been getting what you deserve. And you can feel it! You do great work, you put in an ample amount of hours each week, and yet no one has recognized you for it beyond an occasional “Good job!” or stellar review from your manager. It’s time to go. Use the experience you have to find a mid-level, higher-paying job elsewhere.
4. You’re not feeling inspired anymore
Maybe when you first started your job, you were always motivated to do your best and be creative. If those feelings have faded away, likely all you’re left with is resentment and feeling overworked, with no personal payoff other than a steady salary. If you no longer feel challenged and engaged in your work, it’s time to move on to bigger and better places. Start looking for a job that truly interests you and that you can get behind in both mind and spirit.
Read more: How to Give Your Two-Weeks' Notice
5. You can no longer support your company’s ethics or mission
Now that you’ve seen the behind-the-scenes intricacies of your organization, maybe you’ve realized that the way they do business does not align with your morals. You like the paycheck, but feel a little gross accepting money from an employer that is not ethical. If this is how you feel, get out now. Find a place that you can get behind, 100 percent. Your work will be more meaningful to you and you won’t have to feel guilty about associating your name with a shady business.
6. Everyone has moved on but you
Depending on your industry, there may be high turnover rates, especially with entry-level positions. But sometimes high turnover indicates that work environment, pay, ethics, or workload may be detrimental to a company’s employees. If you started out with a solid group of work friends, and all of these people have since left the company, take a long look at why you’re still there while everyone else has left. This could be a major sign that you need to address something that’s not right.
We spend so much of our lives at work. Why not make sure you’re getting the best experience possible out of your job? If you relate to any of the above six statements, start beefing up that resume, start getting matched companies that do have what you're looking for, and get out there!