Five Biggest Clues It’s Time to Quit Your Job

July 10, 2014 Abby Herman

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We’ve all been there—I know I certainly have. The dread of a new workweek. The lack of motivation to get out of bed in the morning. The sinking sensation as you commute to work in the morning. Sometimes we get in a funk where we’re temporarily not feeling fulfilled professionally, while other times it’s just time to move on.

Quitting your job is a scary prospect for most. After all, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. But when your job is consuming your family time, stressing you out or just making you plain unhappy, it may be time to go.

I speak from experience when I say that when you’re not happy in your job, you hurt yourself and those around you. I spent years in a career that should have been very fulfilling, but I simply wasn’t happy. I complained (a lot) to friends and family members, on an almost daily basis. After five years of talking about leaving my long-time career, I finally did just over a year ago. And while money is a little bit tighter, I’ve never been happier.

So how do you know if it’s time to change your attitude and stick it out or take the plunge and say goodbye to your job? Aside from your company tanking or being asked to do something illegal (sure-bet reasons to move on), there are plenty of personal, introspective, reasons to look elsewhere for work.

1. It’s just not fun anymore.

Sure, work is work. But when you spend eight hours a day there, you want to enjoy yourself at some level. When it becomes everything but enjoyable, it’s difficult to justify spending time at work. And it often becomes so much of a chore that your heart just isn’t in it, meaning you’re not doing your best work.

2. You’re not learning new skills.

Humans are born with innate knowledge and the desire to learn, but when we don’t engage our brains on a regular basis, we get bored. Ever have that mid-afternoon slump? If you aren’t feeling challenged at work, that afternoon slump could turn into a 40-hour slump each week.

3. You’re under-appreciated.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, either through token pay increases or praise for a job well done. And sometimes just knowing you’re doing the best job with the resources available to you isn’t enough. It’s important to find intrinsic value in your job (you’re doing something for the greater good, you’re impacting lives, you are making your community better), but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Be realistic in your expectations, but it may be time to move on if you continually feel underappreciated.

4. You aren’t fulfilled or don’t believe in the work.

In Greek mythology, King Sisyphus was sentenced to eternally roll an enchanted boulder up a hill, only to have it roll away and back down the hill, forcing him to start all over. Certainly Sisyphus didn’t gain much fulfillment from this mundane, difficult task. What was the purpose? What did he get out of the job? If you’re feeling this way, figure out what’s meaningful to you and start looking for it.

5. You have difficulty leaving work at work.

There’s nothing wrong with venting after a hard day. But when today’s vent runs into tomorrow, you become toxic to yourself and those around you. While your loved ones care, that caring only goes so far. At some point, it’s time to stop complaining and start doing something that makes you happy.

Most of us don’t have a choice—we need to work. With the amount of time we spend on the job, it’s important to be happy and find value in what we’re doing.

As a single parent with student loan debt and an older car, I was scared to death to leave my job. But I knew that my career was taking a toll on my health, my quality of life, and my relationship with my daughter. While I may never get to take a tropical vacation, my attitude and peace of mind has changed drastically since I left my career to start my own business. And my relationships with my loved ones have never been better. Even my daughter has commented on my attitude change and has enjoyed a mom who's much less crabby.

If any of these clues ring true in your job, spend some time reflecting and evaluating your choices and explore some other career options. Sokanu’s career tools can help!

If you're still looking for your calling in life, come on over to and take our free career test. We want to help you find a career that matters. 

About the Author

Abby Herman

Abby is a writer and editor in the Phoenix area and is always on the prowl for great ideas. When she’s not in front of her computer, you can find her running the streets or nearby mountain trails—usually way too early in the morning to be considered sane.

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