Does this sound familiar? You are hyperactive and mighty on your first year, and then you plummet like a roller coaster by the time you hit your fifth year. You were one of the high-flyers in the company, but these days you’re not giving your best. You’ve lost the spark, the passion, and the flame – you finally want to quit.
You want to quit, but you’re not sure why, and you can’t put your finger on it. Maybe you hate your new boss, you’re fed up with the perceived incompetence of people in your organization, you got an invitation from a recruiter on LinkedIn, or you simply don't feel excited about your job anymore.
The strong feeling of wanting to quit should always be examined, not ignored. Here are 4 signs that can guide you to justify that it’s time to start clearing your desk.
You’re too stressed and exhausted, it's on a different level
While “stress” may be relative to each one of us, there will be jobs that are clearly beyond the workload you were expecting. You feel tired every day, and you dread waking up in the morning because you know what’s ahead of you, and it’s usually not good.
“Hey, you look tired,” says your college friend, who meets you on a Friday night for drinks. The litmus test to knowing if you’re too exhausted from your job is when people start noticing it – physically.
You get sick easily, you have adjusted to 4-5 hours of sleep everyday and you’re either losing weight or gaining some more because of stress eating. All the work stress is not worth it if you’re going to end up in the hospital anyway. You may be one of those who are happily tired—folks who love their job and are addicted to the everyday adrenaline rush no matter how many items they cross off their list. But you may also be one of those who are simply tired because the demands are just too much, whether quantitatively or qualitatively.
Unfortunately, this is when you might have underestimated the job description before signing that contract or an organizational change burdened you to do more work. If you painfully think that you deserve (and can find elsewhere) a job that is more manageable and suited to your lifestyle, then you should seriously consider moving out. Remember that your role in this world is to live a life through a job, not end it with one.
Your career is stagnating; you’re not learning anything new
"We're not growing together anymore," says your most recent ex-girlfriend. This is the same cue that can indicate your readiness to move out.
Like any relationship, your job shouldn’t just help pay the bills. It should also transform you into a better person – smarter, more open-minded, more ambitious, and more collected (the same things that make you a "catch" once you become single again).
While “salary” is intuitively at the top of the list for most people’s considerations in choosing a job, research shows that people are also motivated by interesting work, challenge, and increasing responsibility.
When going to work isn't anymore a joyful chore of learning things that excite you, it's time to consider something else. When I worked in a telecommunications company as a marketing executive, I learned how to interact with other people like engineers and accountants who didn't report to me, but with whom I needed to work to get my project done.
When I worked in a pharmaceutical company, I was forced to drive for 4-6 hours to visit far-flung pharmacies and hospitals. Like any salesman, I learned how to talk to strangers and make connections in an instant. I was the most absorbent sponge. And when I felt that I had absorbed everything that I needed to absorb, I knew I was ready to leave. I left because I was thirsty for more mistakes and lessons that can only be found in a new environment that I knew nothing about.
Unless you’re satisfied with what you have, you should leave if you’re not learning anything new anymore (and not just because you didn’t get promoted as you expected). Quit if your work has started to become a daily routine that only makes you duller and not sharper.
Your work is supposed to make you feel that you are a value-adding asset to the process, not a filler. During these times, it is only you who can make that final decision, not your boss, and not your company.
To read part 2 of the article, click here.