We come across various jobs in life, some we will love and some we will hate. Whether we are working on gaining experience for our career or already in our dream industry, there should be some kind of happiness from being with that specific company. If you are experiencing other feelings about your job and not as comfortable as you should be, there are a few questions and warning signs you should be aware of. If any of these seven signs are familiar, your job may not be a good fit for you.
1. You dread going to and being at work
One of the first signs that you will start to notice that you hate your job is when the alarm clock goes off, and you immediately get annoyed. You’re pressing snooze multiple times, your mood is already over it and you’re visibly unhappy that you have to go to work that day. Yes, we aren’t always going to like the jobs we have before we start our dream job, but there’s a different feeling when you know you don’t want to be there at all.
“You shouldn't dread going to work,” says Megan Scavo, a sophomore at University of Central Florida. “The right job should feel like an enjoyable hobby, not a job!” The same goes for the way you feel when you’re actually there. If you’re a naturally positive and optimistic person, but when you are at work your mood and vibe immediately changes to negative, then it’s likely a sign you’re not happy there.
2. You aren't progressing in your position
Every job you work for should have the opportunity for growth and promotion. We stay at jobs for years for different reasons, but your hard work shouldn’t go unrewarded. However, at some companies it doesn’t always happen like that. If you’ve been at a job, in the same position, for about three to five years with no sign of climbing the ladder then it’s probably time for you to move on.
“You have to look out for yourself, you should always be looking for the next opportunity,” says Rick Gillis, author of Promote! Your Work Does Not Speak for Itself. You Do. “5 years or more is when responsibility happens, and this is when people tend to stay at their job, [however] when an opportunity presents itself is when you should leave.” You should always be learning new skills, gaining knowledge and having the opportunity to do new things. It’s not doing you any good if you’re stagnant in the position, bored, your performance is not up to par and every day has become repetitive.
3. Your goals are not aligned with the company
You got the job right after graduating from college thinking this was your big break into the adult world, you’re with the company for a couple of years, but it’s not going the way you thought. You and the company are on two different playing fields, and what they want you to do doesn’t fit with the path you’re currently on for your career. You do not have to stay with this company if you know it’s not going to get you where you want to be and accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Your 20s are all about finding yourself, and if you're already seeing something isn't right this is the time to change it and find what’s right for you; especially if you don’t see a career path with this company, the field in your degree is no longer satisfying for you or you may have found a passion you never knew you had.
“When I graduated college, I was convinced I wanted to be a journalist, so I was freelancing for an online Jewish publication,” says Shira Kipnees, alumna of Franklin and Marshall Class of 2015, and current Bank Street College of Education student Class of 2019. “However, as time went on, I was becoming less satisfied with freelancing. I was getting less work and quite frankly I was getting a bit bored with the work. It somewhat mutually ended, but during my last few months freelancing, I started applying to grad school for education because I loved spending time with children and I wasn't as thrilled with lots of work as a journalist and no payoff. I knew it was time to move on when I noticed I'd rather spend more time with my niece and nephew than writing or editing.”
However, if you feel there may be a different position within the company that is more aligned with your plans and goals, talk to your manager about changing positions. “Instead of jumping into the job market immediately, talk to a manager first about your hope to make a change with your duties,” says Andy Chen, founder of career coaching center, Prime Opt, in Seattle, WA. “For this reason, we suggest having a transparent conversation with a supervisor at the beginning. Of course this does not mean telling your manager your hope to leave a position. The goal of this conversation is to see whether managers can offer you other tasks in that position, or even to put you in another position within the same team.”
4. You’re only staying because of the money
You know you hate your job, you don’t want to be there anymore, but you don’t have a backup plan if you leave, so you stay at this job in misery only because this is where your money is coming from right now. It’s a scary feeling leaving something and not knowing what will come after, but there are other jobs with higher pay that will be a better fit for you. And in some cases, the universe has a funny way of pushing you when you can’t do it yourself; you get a random opportunity, you get a call for an interview or you could even be fired from the job you hated but couldn’t leave. Proactively look and create a plan for yourself to see what is out there that may be better for you and will allow you to be financially stable.
5. The company is not doing well
On the other end, if you are hearing and seeing that the company you are currently working for isn’t doing well, leadership failures, lack of profit or many other reasons, you do not have to go down with it. It’s unfortunate when any company closes, and it’s especially hard when it comes unexpectedly. If you’re able to start looking for other job positions and opportunities before the company closes its doors, you should go for it, but keep it to yourself. Come up with a plan of how you’re going to leave, get a new job and make adjustments to your life before layoffs start to happen.
6. Work stress is affecting other areas in your life
It’s one thing to be stressed at work, but when the stress is following you home and is affecting your personal life it’s time to evaluate your time at this job. You have to remember to decompress after work and to not bring work problems home with you. Find what relaxes you after work and put the worries of the day away before interacting with others or going to sleep at night. Not being aware of how you’re acting in relationships, or what the stress is doing to you physically, mentally and emotionally can lead to having other problems that add to that stress. Take care of yourself, but also ask yourself if the stress at work is worth dealing with.
7. You’re experiencing abuse or illegal behavior
Any type of abuse or illegal behavior should not be tolerated and should be dealt with as soon as it happens. If you're experiencing abuse such as being yelled at constantly, rumors being spread, hurtful teasing, bullying, discrimination or any type of sexual harassment, please see your human resources department to report the issue as soon as possible. Your health and sanity is important and you do not have to deal with any of it for the sake of keeping a job. Your job should not be an uncomfortable place, look for somewhere that you will feel safe, happy and one that will be great for you and your future.
Jobs will always come and go, and different positions will bring various opportunities for your future, but they shouldn't be a task that you feel forced to do every day. Your job should be enjoyable and you should love what you do. “You'll know it's time to change jobs or careers when you're not happy anymore. If the work isn't making you happy, you have to think 'What's wrong with this picture?' and then figure out how to make yourself happy,” says Shira. Be smart about any moves you make when it comes to leaving a job and looking for another, but remember to be aware of the signs, always put yourself first, and do what makes you happy.