top of page

Signs It May Be Time to Leave Your Job: Knowing When to Say Goodbye

Updated: Jun 18

The average person works nearly eight hours a day, meaning that on average, we spend about a third of our lives at work. Spending a substantial portion of our time at work, it's essential to find fulfillment, growth, and happiness in our jobs. However, there are instances when staying in a job no longer serves our best interests. Recognizing the signs that it may be time to quit your job is crucial for your overall well-being and career advancement. In this article, we'll explore the top indicators that suggest it's time for a change, empowering you to make informed decisions about your professional life.

signs it's time to leave your job

Feeling Stuck and Uninspired

Have you been feeling like a hamster on a wheel, going through the same old routine without any excitement or growth? Feeling like you're going through the motions without any real enthusiasm or excitement can be a strong indication that it's time for a change. Life and Career Coach María Tomás-Keegan calls this idling in place, detailing the following symptoms: "As you start to feel complacent and lower your standards, you may find that you’re going nowhere fast. You’ve put your engine in neutral. You are bored, disconnected from the work you are doing, your co-workers, and the company. You feel unmotivated and as though you’re just going through the motions."

If your job doesn't challenge you or provide opportunities for learning and development, it might be holding you back from reaching your full potential. It's okay to want more, so take a step back and evaluate if your current job aligns with your goals and passions.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if you're idling in place:

  • Do you feel stuck in a repetitive routine without any room for growth or new challenges?

  • Are you lacking inspiration and excitement in your current role?

  • Do you find yourself yearning for new opportunities and fresh experiences in your career?

  • Are you denied opportunities to use your skills and talents in new ways?

The Dreaded Workplace Burnout

We all experience stress at work, but if you’re experiencing a never-ending cycle that drains you physically and mentally, it's time to take a breather. Chronic stress and burnout have a negative impact on your overall well-being and can even lead to issues with your physical health, and no job is worth that. Feelings of constant fatigue, cynicism, detachment, or depersonalization are indicators of burnout. Work is important, but your health should be a priority.

revitalize your job search

So, how do you know if you're experiencing burnout? Sometimes, your body will send you physical signals to indicate mental or emotional stress. Tune in and listen to what your body is telling you.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you’re experiencing workplace burnout and need to start looking for something that aligns better with your mind, body, and soul

  • Do you constantly feel anxious, exhausted, or upset by the thought of your job?

  • Have you recently been feeling detached from your job and co-workers?

  • Would you describe yourself as a quiet quitter?

  • Have you noticed a decline in the quality of your work or an increase in errors and mistakes?

  • Are you procrastinating more than usual?

  • Have you noticed a decrease in your motivation and productivity levels?

  • Are you lacking a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment from your work, despite your best efforts?

Toxicity Takes a Toll

Nobody wants to work in a toxic environment, right? If you frequently encounter conflicts, experience a lack of support from supervisors or colleagues, or face unfair treatment or harassment, it may be time to reassess. Your work environment plays a role in your physical, mental, and emotional health, and a toxic work environment can wreak havoc on your mental health and overall job satisfaction. After all, for those who are working eight hours a day, that’s one-third of your life! Your environment also has a huge role in your ability to access your creative potential, be productive, and feel inspired.

To get to the root of the issue, Dr. Kyle Elliot advises us to do an audit of our good and bad days: "A clear sign it's time to quit your job is that you're having more bad days than good days at work. While it's normal to have an off day or even an off week, your work shouldn't be constantly bringing you down."

Remember, you deserve a supportive and respectful work environment, and when you’re out of alignment you can’t be at your best. If this resonates with you, it may be time to explore other options.

Have a less-than-ideal work situation but don’t know if it’s toxic. Here’s how to tell if you have a toxic work culture:

  • Are you constantly involved in conflicts or toxic relationships at work?

  • Do you feel unsupported by your supervisors or colleagues?

  • Are you experiencing any form of unfair treatment or harassment?

  • Does your company have a high turnover rate?

  • Are you or other employees experiencing bullying?

  • Is there an overwhelming feeling of distrust in leadership and/or colleagues?

how to tell if your job has a toxic work culture

Missing Recognition and Growth

Feeling undervalued and unappreciated can be demoralizing and detrimental to your confidence and motivation. If you consistently deliver exceptional work without receiving the recognition you deserve, or if you find limited opportunities for growth and advancement despite increased responsibilities, it may be an indication that your current job is hindering your progress. Before you make any assumptions, though, have a conversation with your boss and ask whether there’s any way you can improve. Additionally, you can also assess whether there are avenues for growth within your organization. If these avenues don’t provide any resolution, it may be time to seek some elsewhere.

A Culture Clash

A company's culture and values play a significant role in your job satisfaction and sense of belonging. If you find yourself at odds with the organization's culture or if your values and beliefs conflict with those of the company, it can create a constant state of discomfort and dissatisfaction. It's essential to evaluate whether the cultural mismatch is affecting your motivation, happiness, and overall performance. Career Coach, Sally Anne Carroll, of Whole Life Strategies encourages us to reflect: "While many of us need to work for a living, we also value more than just a paycheck. Studies in work psychology show that multiple factors determine work satisfaction. Before you quit your job, though, do a little self-reflection to understand what drives, motivates, and excites you. Consider factors such as finding meaning in your work, having some level of autonomy, experiencing learning and growth, interesting goals and problems, regular feedback, clear role expectations, flexibility of schedule, ethics, status, and social connection.

If you want to uncover whether you align with your company culture, ask yourself the following:

  • Are your values and beliefs aligned with those of your organization?

  • Does your company’s mission statement align with your personal mission?

  • Do you feel a sense of discomfort or dissatisfaction with the cultural dynamics at work?

  • Do you feel your work has value?

  • Do you enjoy conversations with your co-workers and/or feel like you belong?

Passion, Where Art Thou?

Remember when you started this job full of enthusiasm and passion? If times have drastically changed and you find yourself going through the motions without any excitement or purpose, it could be a sign that you've outgrown your current role. Your job should ignite your passion, not extinguish it. Take a moment to reflect on what truly drives you and explore new avenues that reignite your spark. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you genuinely enjoy the work you do on a day-to-day basis?

  • Are you excited and motivated to tackle new projects and challenges?

  • Do you find yourself immersed in your work and losing track of time?

  • Are you consistently seeking ways to improve and develop your skills in your field?

  • Do you feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment when you achieve goals or complete tasks?

  • Are you eager to share your work-related experiences and achievements with others?

  • Does your job provide a sense of purpose and make you feel like you're making a meaningful contribution?

Find a meaningful career, find your ikigai

Work-Life Imbalance

We don’t exactly believe in true work-life balance, after all, work is something that happens in life. However, if you find that you don’t have time for the things you love, it may be time to reevaluate. Maintaining a healthy balance of have-to-dos and want-to-dos is crucial for your well-being. If your job constantly demands sacrifices of your personal time, relationships, and mental sanity, it’s either time to ask for help or consider other options that will allow you more time wealth. You deserve to spend time on the things that bring you joy. So, if your workload is unmanageable or your job encroaches on your personal life, take this as your nudge to reclaim that balance. Here are a few questions to help you know whether work is taking too much of your time:

  • Can you disconnect from work and fully engage in personal activities without feeling overwhelmed by job-related responsibilities?

  • Do you have enough time and energy to devote to your relationships with family and friends?

  • Can you maintain a healthy physical and mental well-being while meeting the demands of your job?

  • Do you have enough time for self-care activities, such as exercise, relaxation, and pursuing personal interests?

  • Do you feel guilty or anxious when you prioritize your personal life over work-related tasks?

  • Is there open communication and understanding between you and your employer regarding the importance of work-life balance?

  • Can you maintain a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in both your professional and personal life?

New Opportunities Beckon

Sometimes, the signs to quit your job aren't just about the negatives. It could be the case that an exciting, new opportunity is calling your name. And, while you may feel a sense of loyalty to your company, you also have to be loyal to yourself and your personal professional, and financial needs. As Career Coach Jessica Sweet puts it, "These days, we're all in business for ourselves, even if we work for a company. That means we need to be thinking of what's best for our own careers constantly."

Take the new opportunity under consideration, and be sure to get clarity on whether the grass is truly greener on the other side. Take the time to explore alternative career paths and industries. Find out what piques your interest and if there are opportunities for growth and fulfillment elsewhere. Research, network, and consider whether leaping into the unknown might be the best thing for your personal and professional growth.

If you need help determining whether to leave your current job for a new opportunity or stay where you are, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What are the specific reasons why you are considering leaving your current job?

  • What are the key factors that make the new job opportunity appealing to you?

  • How does the new job align with your long-term career goals and aspirations?

  • What are the potential growth and advancement opportunities in your current role versus the new opportunity?

  • How do the work culture and company values in your current job compare to those of the new opportunity?

  • How does the compensation and benefits package in your current job stack up against the new opportunity?

  • What are the work-life balance expectations and flexibility in your current role versus the new job?

  • What are the learning and development opportunities available in your current job versus the new opportunity?

  • How do the job responsibilities and tasks in your current role compare to those in the new job opportunity?

making a successful career pivot

Assessing and Planning Your Exit

Before making any impulsive decisions, take a step back and assess the big picture. Try to understand what you want and how you want your next experience to be different to ensure that you won’t be repeating the same experience at a new address. Think about how these factors align with potential career options. It's also crucial to consider the financial implications of leaving your job. Create a budget, ensure you have a safety net, and explore transitional opportunities like part-time or freelance work to ease the transition if you’re adamant about living but don’t have your next steps laid out yet. Lastly, think about finding a career coach if you're having trouble making a decision or could use some clarity.

Making the Decision and Embracing Change

Once you've carefully considered the signs, weighed your options, and understand any financial implications, you’ll be ready to make a final decision. Remember, change can be scary, but with confidence and a clear vision for your future, you can take the leap toward a more fulfilling career. Trust yourself, believe in your abilities, and embrace the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

Find a career coach near me

bottom of page