10 Signs It's Time to Quit

Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor

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"I like what I do. I just don't like where I work." Sound familiar? From unbearable co-workers to depressing work environments, there things that can make even the best job a living hell. Here are some signs it's time to look for a new job.

Sign No. 1: Your co-workers are annoying.
Obnoxious people can invade your work life. Let's face it, not everyone gets along perfectly. But you need to have some sort of harmonious relationship with fellow employees to get the job done. How are you supposed to get any work done when these guys keep getting in the way? They are distracting and impede productivity. Most offices have a Gossip, that one person who has the "scoop" all the time and is not afraid to share it. Misery loves company, and finds it often in the Whiner, who isn't afraid to complain and bellyache. And everyone has the Neighbor whose noisy distractions include his cellular ringtone, speakerphone and radio.

Sign No. 2: The environment is toxic.
Everyone experiences job highs and lows, but discontent could also be a sign of a chronically depressing work environment or even a company in peril. A bad work environment is reflective of the culture of an entire business. Do you work in a less-than-nurturing atmosphere? Is morale constantly low? Have you been complaining for two solid years? It could be an organizational problem that applying feng shui to your cube just won't fix.

Sign No. 3: You're mentally exhausted by the end of the day.
Stress can cause low morale, decreased productivity and apathy towards work. Plus, it can spill into your personal life and even have a negative effect on your health. Today there are fewer people who are taking on more and more work. American workers experience burnout at an alarming rate. According to CareerBuilder, 68 percent of workers feel burnout at work, and 45 percent said their workloads are too heavy. Yes, we all have to pick up some slack and "take one for the team" from time to time. But if there's no end in sight, do yourself and your health a favor and dust off your résumé.

Sign No. 4: Your boss is a nightmare.
Even though this person is your boss, it doesn't give him license to do anything he wants. If you have a lousy boss, even the best job in the world can make life a living hell. Your relationship with your supervisor plays a big role in your overall professional happiness and success. Fighting to have your boss removed or waiting for your boss to change or get fired are rarely successful tactics. If you are working for someone who is always absent, unavailable, self-absorbed or untrustworthy, it's time to look for a better supervisor and a better opportunity.

Sign No. 5: You're watching the clock... every 10 minutes.
Though you might not like to work, it's even worse when you are bored while you're there. One can only watch so many videos on YouTube or bid on unneeded things on eBay. If you aren't feeling challenged, that's a sign that you need additional responsibilities or a change roles. And be warned, if you don't have any responsibility or find yourself with nothing to do, management might be trying to phase you out and you might be in danger of losing your job.

Sign No. 6: You get no respect.
Does any of this sound familiar? Your ideas aren't taken seriously; there are no opportunities for advancement; the boss ignores you; co-workers alienate you; you're discouraged from improving skills with a course or seminar; you're passed over for a promotion -- again; or you're excluded from key projects and strategizing sessions. So why are you still giving this organization your time, energy and great ideas?

Sign No. 7: Your co-workers act like animals.
They live for themselves and only themselves. They irritate you. They offend you. They have no manners or ethics. And you work with them all. There's the Office Thief who steals your ideas. The Shirker arrives late, leaves early and disappears whenever work is near. The Buck-passer unloads her work onto everyone else and blames others for her mistakes. The Procrastinator delays things until the last possible minute, slowing you down by not having the information you need to meet your deadlines. The Interrupter stops by your cubicle 10 times a day to chat about her latest boyfriend despite your ringing telephone and pressing deadlines. And don't forget the infamous Elevator Person who rides up only one floor instead of taking the stairs.

Sign No. 8: Nobody communicates.
Although we live in a world of e-mail, cell phones, instant messages, Blackberries, WiFi and, yes, even face-to-face conversation, there can still be a complete lack of communication. Whether it's a co-worker who's not returning your voice mail or the CEO not conveying a company's goals and accomplishments, the breakdown of communication can be frustrating and detrimental to your job. It can cost you an account, make you to miss a deadline, cause you to lose a client, and even get you fired.

Sign No. 9: You're not valued.
Forty-three percent of workers do not feel appreciated, and one-fourth of workers feel that they are just a "number" within their organization. You need to realize that you deserve credit for your successes. Recognition is important, and good companies implement programs to let employees know they are valued. Is your company doing anything to reward your efforts? Do you ever receive bonuses, perks or positive feedback? If your boss has never heard of positive reinforcement verbal or otherwise, find a company that will value your talents.

Sign No. 10: You feel stifled.
What kind of quality of life do you have? Is your 40-hour week turning into a 24/7 grind? While salary may seem like the end all and be all, your quality of life determines your overall happiness. How much time you spend on the job, working conditions, supervisors and subordinates can positively and negatively impact your job outlook. If you dread the time you spent at work, it should be a clear indicator that it's time to break free. A job shouldn't stifle you creatively, mentally or physically.

Bottom line: Considering what you don't like about your current situation should give you insight into what you are seeking in future endeavors. If you know what your priorities and preferences are and actively seek them, work can be an enjoyable experience.

Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.


Last Updated: 04/02/2008 - 12:54 PM


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