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5 Signs Telling You It's Time to Leave Your Job for Bigger and Better Things

Is your career beginning to feel like it's on the road to nowhere ... and fast? It may be time to ditch that dead-end job and seek out the career that you want and deserve. Take a look at these signs to see if you're just burnt out or desperately in need of a change.

switching careers unhappy at job

(Photo Credit: snofla/Flickr)

Here are five signs that you may need to leave your current job:

1. You habitually dread waking up in the morning to go to work.

2. The morning commute is enough to make you want to call in sick (every day).

3. Your current occupation isn't aligned with your ultimate career goal(s).

4. Your co-workers suck ... and your boss is the worst.

5. The company's culture is nonexistent or it doesn't mesh well with you.

If your career isn't going in the direction you'd like, then here are three questions to consider and help you get on the right track:

What is your dream job? If someone came up to you today and said that you could have any job that you wanted tomorrow, what would it be? "Dream job" doesn't necessarily mean it brings in the biggest salary, but rather it's the job that would bring the most fulfillment in your life and career. Think about when you were a kid and said, "I am going to be a (insert dream job as a child) when I grow up!" Now, take that same blissful, fearless ignorance and ask yourself that question today.

If you knew failure wasn't an option, what job would you go after? Some people are too scared to venture out of their comfort zones to go after what they really want in their professionals (and life, for that matter). So, if you knew that failure would be taken out of the equation, what is the profession you would pursue? Of course, failure often helps you appreciate the success that much more, but for the sake of figuring out your ultimate vocation, what is fear holding you back from achieving or trying?

Is it about happiness or money (or both)? You must be realistic with where your aspirations lie. As we mentioned in the first question, if earning a top salary is what you're after, then align your career objectives accordingly. However, if you're more interested in finding a fulfilling career and money isn’t your number one priority, then seek out the occupation that will satisfy your needs. And yes, there are plenty of careers that are both satisfying and lucrative, however, when you're in a dead-end job and looking for a way out, you must figure out what is lacking in your current occupation so that you don't wind up in the same work predicament.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you taken the road-less-traveled and left your dead-end job for a more promising career? If so, tell us what was the turning point for you. Share your story on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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6 Comments

  1. 6 TPSreportsGrl 25 Jan

    Matthys, your list is right on the money!

  2. 5 Neil 05 Aug

    I like this article.  I would just like to add that each person is in a unique situation and probably has an equally unique potential solution to their unique situation.  Even two different people in the exact same situation might have distinctively different solutions because of their own unique abilities, aptitudes, strengths, ingenuity and so on.

    Nonetheless, the principles within this article can be applied to many different situations and different individuals, without even defining the details of how to apply / implement those principles.  This article reminds me of the title of a book "Do what you love, and the money will follow".

    But yes, there are other considerations as well, such as dependents, financial obligations, and so on.  Perhaps it would be wise to make the transition incrementally toward self-employment or to another employer, in some situations.  But in other situations, it would be wise to "take the plunge" and go for it full-time and immediately.  Ideally parents should raise their children to train them for their future vocation, like an apprenticeship.  But sadly, that is sorely lacking in our social structure and society.

    Each person needs to decide for him/herself what course of action would be wise and what timeframe would be prudent.  But in any case, I believe it is always a good idea to pursue your dreams and your dream job, even if initially it is "humble beginnings", or delayed but not cancelled, or a part-time sideline pursuit instead of full-time.

    Because if a person can come to utilize their God-given natural talents, gifts of creativity and abilities in a feasible business pursuit, then that pursuit can eventually (or sometimes abruptly) skyrocket a person toward personal and professional success and financial independence, something which being enslaved to a corporation very rarely if at any time can do.

    But each person is unique and also at different stages and circumstances from others and therefore needs to make his / her own decisions accordingly and appropriately.

  3. 4 F D 03 Aug
    The above soon hits reality. 

    1. Jobs aren't easy to come by, particularly if you're not outgoing/extroverted. 

    2. If you're over 40 or trying to switch sectors, e.g. from public sector to private, you are swimming upstream, and the older you are and/or the longer in one sector, the stronger the current.

    3. People tend to live within their salary, so taking a cut isn't a simple, easy thing, as expenses tend to match one's income and aren't easy to divest.

    4. If one has dependents, that restricts what one might do, especially if they're the sole earner. And, the current benefits package might be too valuable, including medical/dental and time off, to start all over again.

    Dead-end jobs are the normal. If one suspects they're in a dead-end job, which includes working for a boss who you don't think will give you a good reference and stress that affects your health, leave ASAP, no matter how many years in that instance (the bad health that might arise will cost you far more than the pay cut you may have to take). I'd even hazard to suggest that one shouldn't stay with any employer for >5 years for one will be too "hooked" to leave.

  4. 3 Matthys 02 Aug

    May I suggest a new list of 5?

    1. You've reached a ceiling in promotions and there is no space left to grow (I.E, your in a small company without any signs of reasonable future growth).

    2. You're no longer gaining valuable experience in your day-to-day tasks, I.E, you're no longer learning new things and you feel unchallenged by your work and everything you do seems repetitive.

    3. You have outgrown your co-workers on a professional level. The people that your surround yourself with has a massive impact on what you expect from yourself. You need to work with people that you can learn from, people that inspire you to pursue excellence through hard work and good work ethic.

    4. You're unhappy at work. (This is a tricky one) Always take some time to determine WHY you are unhappy, it may be that you do not get along with your boss or with one or more of your other co-workers. Consider the fact, that even if you move to a new company, you may soon find yourself once again not getting along with certain individuals. You need to take an introspective look at yourself and ask yourself why you do not get along with certain people and think about what you can do to overcome this social/political hurdle. The root of your unhappiness may also be found in points 1 - 3.

    5. Finally, it may be time to leave your job if there are better bigger opportunities for you out there. Even if your are happy at work and even if all the other points I mentioned do not apply to you, always consider a better job-offer. I'm not suggesting that you hop-skip-and-jump from job to job, but at the very least, you should always entertain any new opportunities that you are presented with, if many such opportunities come your way, you may very well be a fool to remain at your current job simply because it's where you are most comfortable.

  5. 2 Andreas 02 Aug

    In 2008 I took an internal role with a financial consultancy - my job was developing month after month and I loved going to work for at least 3 out of the 5 years because it was always challenging and it kept me stimulated, and I became a believer in myself and that I could do great things. Unfortunately it also meant that I was doing pretty much a job and a half for most of the time and worked ridiculous hours but I was dedicated and thought it was worth it. I did not however foresee that through my newly acquired skills over the years my job would morph into one that eventually had no future within the organisation. A few years on and following some changes in the management interestingly work began to dry up and slowly I found myself on the sidelines because they couldn't fit my role in a conventional box and I was seen as an overhead as opposed to being an asset to them. I was displaying all the symptoms listed above - had a minor breakdown in the end and got signed off work for exhaustion. Soon I was offered voluntary redundancy.

    It was the best time for me to get out and make a change so I decided to take it, had a good, hard look at what I was good at and what elements of my job I would want to keep doing in the future. Became self-employed and started contracting for smaller firms as project manager and operations consultant. Although it may not be always easy to have contracts lined up and there is always the air of uncertainty of what you'll be working on next but I am a lot happier since then and I can spend more time on getting qualifications to back up my work experience.  I much rather invest in myself than spending 15 hours a day for several years working for a company which in the end will get rid of you when they realise they don't need you anymore. I know what I am worth now and where I am headed and have sole responsibility for everything I do with my life. So take a leap and make a change for the sake of your own sanity and happiness. Once you allow change to happen it will open up the space for new opportunities

  6. 1 nadia 01 Aug
    I have all 5 above but in current economic environment and the discrimination against anyone over 40 means I am stuck in a job that pays less than I was earning more than 10 years ago and would be an insult to the intelligence of a 2 year old

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