by Liberty Stembridge, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 28th February, 2019
As much as we all dream of having a laid-back job that we're super passionate about, sometimes that isn't the case. We all have to work jobs that we don't necessarily love at some point in our lives, in order to get to the ones we do love. But how do you know when it's time to quit your job entirely, or whether you should keep going for now?
For most of us, we don't look forward to Mondays per se, but it's not like we want to cry at the thought of getting out of bed on a Monday. They can be rough, especially if you've had a tiring weekend, but they shouldn't strike you with fear. If you find yourself not even wanting to go to bed on a sunday night, because you know when you wake up you'll be going to work in the morning, listen to what your gut is telling you. We all deserve to have a job that, at the very least, doesn't make us miserable.
Workplace relationships are a big part of what makes a job enjoyable. For many people, their job isn't necessarily their dream job or ultimate passion in life, but they find it fun and enjoyable because they have a good team of people around them.
If you've been at your job for a while, and still feel left out, underappreciated or otherwise overlooked and unincluded, then you are well within your right to look for a job with a better working environment and friendlier people. Your coworkers don't have to become your best friends, but getting along with each other will make the work week much more manageable.
All jobs will have elements that you dislike or bore you, no one should expect to be enthralled by their work all day everyday. Sometimes you have an off-day, where you're particularly distracted, and that's okay. You know it's time for change however, when you're constantly zoning out.
Generally, our brains zone out when we're so bored that we no longer see any value in remaining attentive, and if there's nothing else to do, you're brain will essentially switch to "default mode" and you'll probably end up staring into space. If this is happening to you often at work, then it's probably a sign that your work isn't stimulating or interesting enough to keep you occupied for very long.
If you feel tired or bored all day, find it hard to concentrate in important meetings, and struggle to feign enthusiasm, you may just need to find another job.
We often hear about "burning out" as a dreaded thing to avoid - but what actually is it? Put simply, burnout is a state of exhaustion that occurs when you have been under high stress and pressure for a long time. Your body can't cope under very stressful conditions indefinitely, so if you are working a job that keeps you in a near-constant state of stress, you will eventually burn out.
While burnout can be avoided with good stress-management techniques and better work-life balance, it can sometimes be a sign that you should change your job altogether. No job is worth the risk to your mental and physical health, and so if you find yourself feeling burnt out or completely collapsing, it may be time to quit.
When we're working a job that doesn't fulfill us as much as we'd like, coming home after a tough day is a saving grace, and without that space to relax and recharge, our mental and physical health can quickly deteriorate.
Unfortunately, one of the many unwanted effects of a stressful or unfulfilling career is that it starts to affect your home life, either by causing rifts between you and your family members, or preventing you from looking after yourself and your home properly.
This could take many forms, from having to work late hours, to residual stress from your work affecting the way you interact with others. Whatever it is, if you find that your job is seriously impacting the quality of your home life, then it's time to leave as soon as possible.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy career is having room for growth, and the desire to progress. You might be doing perfectly well at your job, but you lack the urge to bring forward new ideas, or go for that promotion because you feel underappreciated or ignored.
A healthy work environment should stimulate to put forward your own ideas and suggest improvements. Unfortunately some work places do the opposite of this and would rather you just do what you've been paid to do and that's that. This could be stifling your creativity, and have knock on effects on your self-esteem and workplace wellbeing. If this sounds like you, then get job-hunting.
Not everyone is going to be a neurosurgeon or save the planet at their day job, but that doesn't mean that you can't find any value in your work, no matter how seemingly unimportant it is. If you can find personal value and fulfillment in your work, even if it's as simple as making the best latte or providing someone with the best service, you'll be a lot happier with your job in the long run, regardless of paycheck.
If you're finding that the value you once had for your job role has diminished over the years, or you find a lot more value in a different position, then it's time to switch it up.
A classic sign that it's time to give up your job is if you sit wistfully at your desk, twiddling your thumbs and daydreaming about where you wish you could be working. Don't be afraid to go for your dreams, even if it might end up with a pay cut or some extra work - it'll be worth it in the long run.
Of course, we can't all just up and quit our jobs and swap them for a better one, it might take some time and possibly some extra education or training to get you where you want to be - but that doesn't mean you can't start planning.