How Do You Know? Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Recognizing the signs that it’s time to leave your job is a key point in any entrepreneur’s story. Here are some of the most common indicators that can help you decide whether or not it’s time to move on.

How Do You Know When it’s Time to Quit? 15 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job

The decision to quit your job can be a difficult one. However, there are a number of ways you can tell that it may be a good time to move on and start putting plans into place. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of work as we once knew it, in 2021, the United States saw 47 Million people quit their jobs. In 2021, an incredible five million new entrepreneurs applied for a federal tax ID number, the largest number on record with U.S. Census Bureau; breaking the record of 4.4 million set just one year earlier. 

Quitting a job is one thing, but quitting to start your own business? Is it even possible to make such a big leap all at once? 

ABSOLUTELY. MILLIONS of others made it happen with hard work and perseverance, and you can too. But before we get ahead of ourselves, first things first.

Let’s Address the Question at Hand: Is it Time to Quit Your Job? 

Sign 1: There’s no room for growth

If you’ve been at your job for a while and feel like you’ve hit a ceiling, this could indicate that it is a good time to move on. Every job can have its ups and downs, but if there’s been a consistent lack of promotions or pay raises, uninteresting assignments, or you don’t feel like you’re learning new skills anymore, it might be time to go.

Sign 2: You don’t admire or respect the leaders above you

Leaders are in charge of setting the tone and culture of an organization, and if they’re not doing it in a way that supports and aligns with your core values, it’s not going to be a good fit for you in the long run. 

If your boss is unsupportive or incompetent, or some unfortunate, nightmarish mix of the two (insert audible groan here), it’s probably time to go. It’s important to have a positive relationship with your boss – otherwise your job satisfaction (and motivation) will take a serious nosedive. 

If your boss is constantly dishing out empty promises that keep you endlessly waiting – like promises of hiring additional staff to help alleviate an excessive workload, or providing additional training – that never seem to materialize, it’s an indicator or a larger problem. 

Poor leadership can quickly ruin an otherwise great job. A good leader knows how important it is to communicate with transparency, and to make their team feel appreciated and supported. If this isn’t happening in your current position, then it’s probably time to move on.

Lastly, if you find that you lose count of how many times a week you find yourself thinking “You know, if it were up to me, I’d do it THIS way…” leaving (and considering… ahem… working for yourself!) is probably a good decision.

Sign 3: You regularly fantasize about epic movie-style quitting scenes

If you’re like most people, there have probably been many times when you’ve fantasized about quitting your job in a very dramatic way. Maybe you imagine yourself walking out the door and slamming it shut, never to return again. Or, maybe you picture yourself giving an epic speech that makes all your coworkers stand and give you the slow-clap as you turn on your heel and make your final exit.

No matter the specific scene you imagine, if you find that this scenario is on your mind more often than it isn’t, this is a clear indicator that it’s time to move on. 

Of course, quitting in a movie-style way may make for good entertainment, but it’s rarely effective in the real world. If you decide that quitting is the best option for you, make a plan to speak directly with your boss to officially deliver the news, professionally and concisely, and save the drama for Hollywood.

Sign 4: You wake up with dread: knowing that you have to go into “that place” every day makes you just want to stay in bed

Very few of us wake up and POP out of bed ready to face the day. (If this is you, please, share your secret with the rest of us? K, thanks!) However, if you’ve reached a point where you’d 100% rather stay in bed than go to work, it’s definitely time to start thinking about making an exit.

Sign 5: You worked remotely during the pandemic, and the company requires everyone to return 100% full time in-person, no exceptions, and that just doesn’t work for you anymore

It’s possible that at some point during the pandemic your company switched to a remote work schedule, and you were able to find a rhythm that really worked well for your life. 

If your company is now requiring everyone to return to the office 100% full time, in-person, with no exceptions, and you’re really mad about that, pay attention to what your anger may be telling you. If flexibility is what you want and your employer cannot or will not offer it to you, this may make it easier for you to decide whether to stay or move on.

Sign 6: You feel undervalued and overlooked

It’s tough when you feel like your presence and work doesn’t matter. Many people find their self-worth through their profession, and if that’s you, it’s critically important to for your work to mean something to you. If you’ve already tried meeting with leadership to voice your concerns and no progress has been made, this can weigh heavily on you over time. 

If you know, deep down in your core, so strongly that you FEEL it in your bones that you’re ready and capable of doing more, but leadership doesn’t see your contributions as valuable, it’s probably time to go. 

Sign 7: There’s a high turnover rate – employees constantly come and go

As the world continues to rebuild after the pandemic, there’s a high turnover rate at many companies around the world. Employees seem to be constantly coming and going. But what does this mean if it’s happening at your job?

There could be a few causes for high turnover. One possibility is that the company is headed for hard times and people are getting laid off. Another explanation might be that employees are unhappy with their jobs: they’re working long hours, feeling stressed out, and aren’t being given the opportunity to grow professionally… so they quit. 

Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to pay attention to the signs around you. If leadership is unwilling or unable to receive candid feedback from employees on areas in need of improvement, then things are likely only going to get worse. 

Sign 8: You’re no longer passionate about the work

If you’re no longer excited or interested in the work you are doing, it’s time to move on. Passion isn’t necessarily about you being excited or happy every single moment of every day, but it’s about the work having importance and meaning to you, even and especially when times are tough.

Passion is what creates a sense of purpose and fulfillment in work. If you’re bored with your job, always thinking of reasons to call out sick, or just generally dissatisfied, it might be time to try something new. Remember, our time is our most precious asset; spend it wisely.

Sign 9: You’re not learning anymore

Every job has an educational aspect to it; you may learn a new skill or trade, or have an experience that forever shapes your path forward. If you are no longer learning new skills, if management isn’t investing in your career goals, or you feel as if you’ve “squeezed all the juice from the lemon,” it might be time to make your exit. 

Sign 10: Your responsibilities have increased, but not your paycheck

It’s important that your workload is proportional to your take-home pay. If your role continues to grow with more tasks and responsibility, but your compensation has not been adjusted accordingly, or if there are promises of pay increases or bonuses that never materialize, this is a red flag. Know your worth and keep it moving.

Sign 11: Your personal life is suffering

When your job starts negatively affecting your personal life, it’s definitely time to leave. If you’re always thinking or worried about work, or are too exhausted to do anything after work other than sleep, this is another red flag. If your partner, spouse, or family expresses concerns about your wellbeing, hear them out. They care about you and have concerns. These are all signs that you may need to take a step back and reevaluate things. If your loved ones are genuinely worried about you, it may be a sign that this job isn’t a good fit.

Sign 12: You get constant emails, calls, and texts, even when you’re on vacation

If you’re getting constant emails, calls, and texts when you’re supposed to be enjoying a well-earned break, it might be time to quit. This is a very clear indicator that things are not well with your current job and its culture. Don’t stand for it if your boss or coworkers continue to bombard you with messages when you’re not on the job – it’s an invasion of your privacy and they clearly don’t respect your boundaries. If this is happening to you, it might be time to start planning your exit. 

Sign 13: The company’s future or financial stability is questionable

If you’re feeling uneasy about the company’s future or financial stability, it might be time to move on. A review of the company’s financial reports can help determine if there are any warning signs that could point to impending closure or financial struggles.

If your company is restructuring, there’s a lot of staff turnover, and there’s a lack of transparency about the financial reports, this could be a warning sign of more bad news (and layoffs!) to come. Start to set aside extra savings and work on your exit strategy. 

Sign 14: Your mental health is suffering due to the toxic work environment

Whether it’s the workload, the politics, or the office environment, there are plenty of reasons why a job might not seem as great as we thought it might be. But what if it’s more than just disliking your job? What if your mental health is actually suffering because of your work?

Stress often begins in our mind but can quickly impact our body. You might start having headaches, stomach aches, or an overall sense of lethargy due to trouble sleeping at night. Or maybe you always feel anxious, like you’re on “high alert” when at the job or are even thinking about the job. Over time, this can take a serious toll on our mental health.

When we are in periods of intense stress, it’s hard to make rational decisions. So before you decide to quit your job, it’s important to talk with a mental health professional who can help you weigh your options, including quitting or taking a leave of absence if you feel like your health has been compromised.

Sign 15: You just know it’s time to go

The old saying “When you know, you know” is true. If your GUT is telling you it’s time to go, LISTEN.TO.IT. 

Our human bodies have complex systems and instincts in order to protect ourselves from harm. If you’re feeling like some kind of internal alarm is going off and you just don’t feel right, it’s important to listen to your intuition. 

Conclusion

Quitting a job can feel scary, but it may be worth it if your mental or physical health is suffering, or, if you’re truly ready to explore other opportunities (including becoming an entrepreneur!). If you find that your current role is no longer a good match for your life and career goals, don’t suffer in silence… Take action!

Weigh your pros and cons, make a list, talk to your family and partner or spouse, set aside extra savings to make the transition out a bit easier, and start working on creating a concrete plan to leave your job. 

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with one of the finest pieces of advice I’ve ever received… 

If you can think of more reasons to GO than to stay, you’ve already made the decision. Trust yourself. Listen to your gut and be open to exploring the world of new opportunities that opens the moment you stand in your power, truly understanding your worth and settling for nothing less. 

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