16 Warning Signs to Know before Leaving Your Job
How do you know when it’s time to leave your job? If you feel like quitting your job every day, look first at these valid reasons and warning signs for leaving a comfortable job.
Table of contents
- When your manager/team are toxic
- When your commute is taking a toll on you
- When you feel like you’re not growing
- When your salary could be higher elsewhere
- When your colleagues are being promoted and you aren’t
- When you feel like your employer has made bad decisions
- When you’re seeking different and new benefits
- When you’re not receiving sufficient support
- When you have bad dreams about work
- When you’ve developed new attractive skills
- When you’re being asked to do things with which you’re uncomfortable
- When you feel like you’re coasting
- When the company shows signs of bankruptcy
- When warning signs show you could be laid off
- When you realize you couldn’t recommend the company positively
- When your boss/team never listen to you
Everyone knows that jobs don’t last forever, but sometimes they really seem like they do!
We have both chosen to leave jobs in a variety of ways throughout the years. The truth is, it usually takes some hard thinking about the reasons for why we want to leave, before we start making career moves.
If you’re considering leaving a comfortable job, it takes opening your mind to the fact that there are other opportunities “out there” that could be better for you. And, as for the reasons to leave your job, there are both good reasons, and bad reasons.
You can also avoid ruining your life by quitting a job for the wrong reasons, especially without something else “lined up” for when you leave. Check out these 16 warning signs that it could be time to leave your current job and quit!
When your manager/team are toxic
It’s time to leave your job when your manager, team or colleagues are toxic.
In past lives, I dreaded coming to the workplace because I didn’t even want to be face to face with leadership who didn’t understand me, colleagues who were constantly negative or bitter, a boss who wouldn’t give me the time of day and new management that ignored me.
All of these culminated into one equal a toxic work environment, and toxic work environments can really take a toll on your mental health.
If your coworkers, department head, executive leadership or even your direct reports are lethal for your wellbeing and make you dread work, it’s time to leave your current job.
When your commute is taking a toll on you
While many people work remotely or work from home, some professionals go to workplaces every day, and some go to the office in a hybrid plan.
For me, I work from home some days of the week, and other days, I bike to work. I got lucky with the transition back to the office.
But for others, moving to a suburb or more rural area during the pandemic and then being called back to the office in a major city means lots of time spent in the car, bus or train.
With commutes that involve driving, it’s not to mention that there’s the price of gas, tolls and parking. All of these things can quickly add up, when compared with the money saved by working from home. This will put a drain on your finances if your job doesn’t help cover the costs of commuting with commuter benefits.
If you’re spending more than two hours a day commuting and losing time you could spend on yourself or with family, it’s time to reconsider the location of your job. Think about if the job itself is worth traveling for, and if finding a new remote job might be a good idea.
Look for your next remote job at this list of the best remote job boards online.
When you feel like you’re not growing
If you feel like you are doing the same thing at work day after day with no new responsibilities, you could feel like you’re plateauing in your career, or that you’ve hit a wall.
If you’re not being given new opportunities for leadership, new challenges and new projects that help you develop your professional skill set, you may feel a sense of boredom washing over yourself.
As professionals mature in their careers, this is common, because promotions don’t happen as quickly as they do when a young person moves from an entry-level role to a junior manager, for example.
To feel like you’re growing, consider looking for a new position, even if it’s within your current company.
When your salary could be higher elsewhere
There’s nothing that hurts more than finding out that a similar position at a bigger or better company could double your salary.
This isn’t just the “grass is always greener” effect, but it’s real: jumping from company to company can help your bargaining power as a professional.
Once you start interviewing and aim high, you could find out “your worth.” Once you find out your worth elsewhere, your current job will seem pretty lackluster.
If it’s only salary that’s making you look for a new position, consider negotiating with your boss or department head. Mention all the accomplishments you’ve had and all the special skills you bring to the table that make you valuable.
If negotiating your salary with your current place of work yields a dead end, then yes: it is time to look for a new job and consider quitting.
When your colleagues are being promoted and you aren’t
When I mentioned that finding out you could make more money elsewhere hurts, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that it could hurt even more when your colleague of equal or lesser experience is promoted before you are.
This is like being stabbed in the foot, and it has happened to me. It was, for lack of better words, totally horrible.
This is when I knew I had to figure out a plan to quit my job. I wasn’t being recognized for my skills, and upper management was not prioritizing me for a promotion.
It’s a warning sign to start looking for a new job right away when your colleagues get promoted before you do, if you’ve been achieving the same goals and targets. It means there’s favoritism going on in the workplace, and that’s a workplace no one should be in.
When you feel like your employer has made bad decisions
Companies choose to pivot and change all the time. Sometimes, companies choose to roll out a new product, or end a certain line of business, or close one of the offices, or take on a merger or acquisition.
If there is a decision your company is making that deep down you do not agree with, consider it a warning sign that your morals and values may not mesh so well with those of upper management.
Is there something going on behind the scenes that you found out about that doesn’t feel right? It’s time to leave your job, no matter how comfortable your salary, benefits, title or line of work is.
When you’re seeking different and new benefits
Companies offer all kinds of benefits, from commuter benefits, to health insurance, to generous parental leave and childcare coverage, to things like 401ks, 403bs, 401k matches and stipends for home office equipment, professional learning or wellness memberships.
Wow, there are so many great benefits out there!
With my current job, I have 100% annual coverage of the city’s bike-share membership, several free fitness classes per month, healthcare and unlimited paid time off. From what I’ve seen, this is just the beginning of the benefits that exist out there, and if you’re familiar with any of the large tech companies, you may have heard that they offer free lunch (and maybe free dinner), free dry-cleaning, on-site gyms and more.
If your company is stingy with benefits or if you are looking for a specific benefit for a unique time in your life, it could be time to look for a new company to work at.
An example of this could be if you’re interested in pursuing higher education and you know about some companies that pay for master’s degrees. Similarly, if your current company doesn’t give great parental leave and you know you’re going to be expecting a baby, search around for companies that offer 16 weeks of fully-paid maternity or paternity leave.
When you’re not receiving sufficient support
Is your boss pushing endless heaps of work on you and are you afraid to speak up that it’s just too much?
If you are not receiving the support you deserve, whether in human resources or technology resources, it is time to take a good look at if it’s time to quit your job.
“Support” comes in many flavors, as I’m sure you’re aware. If you’ve been getting online early at 8am and working late until 8pm, every day of the week, this is a bad sign and it’s a fine reason to start looking for jobs whenever you have a moment.
The support you need would be an intern, or an assistant, or a team mate, to help you manage the volume of projects or client demands. If the company fails to provide this and you’re having trouble managing your work-life balance, it’s a valid reason to seek out a new role.
When you have bad dreams about work
Have you ever had a work dream?
There are funny work dreams, like the ones where you’re with coworkers having a drink or pizza and something laughable happens.
There are also menacing work dreams, like the kind where you’re in a meeting and something drastic happens, or when you dream you miss a deadline and the worst of the worst is about to occur.
Dreams about work can be absolutely evil. Most of the time, they mean that you are experiencing burnout from work.
If you’re having persisting bad dreams about work, it could be time to a) talk to someone, whether in HR at your organization, or a therapist and b) start looking for a new job.
When you’ve developed new attractive skills
If you’re developing new skills either through higher education, certification classes or professional trainings and you’d like new ways to use them, this is a fine reason to leave your job for a new one!
Have you completed a Certification in Project Management? Or have you learned a new computing language, but there’s no use for it at your current role?
It could be the right time to leave your job, if there are other applicable jobs at great companies hiring for these skills. Remember: the sky’s the limit, and there could be other companies looking for someone talented like you!
Another idea is to start freelancing at the same time as being a full-time employee, if you have attractive and lucrative skills, along with an entrepreneurial mindset. Why not start freelancing while working full-time?
When you’re being asked to do things with which you’re uncomfortable
Have you ever been asked to do something at work that made you literally uncomfortable?
I mean this seriously! Were you asked to do an undercover call with a competitor where you positioned yourself as an inquisitive potential client? Were you asked to share confidential information from a previous employment, so that your boss could get insider information?
If a coworker or higher-up has requested that you do something that makes you feel completely uncomfortable, it could be a) time to bring it up with the HR department, b) a good opportunity to share with a friend or family member what you’re going through and c) a perfect time to quit your job (while remaining totally positive in interviews, of course!).
Prepare for your next interview with these crucial remote interview tips and this list of how to show confidence while interviewing.
When you feel like you’re coasting
This one’s similar to the feeling of not growing. Do you feel like you’re coasting at work? By this I mean, do you feel like you could do your job with your eyes closed? Is it not exciting? Is it the same old thing week after week? Could someone your junior do an equally good job at your position?
If you’re coasting at work, it’s time to turn up the heat and get that job search moving along. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re staying at one level and not moving up, both in the corporate ranks and also in terms of what could be stimulating on the job.
When the company shows signs of bankruptcy
Here’s a loaded question: is your company headed toward failure?
That’s a sure reason to start a job search and think of leaving your job soon! If you’re not are of the answer to this question, start to do some digging, so that you can get ahead of the game and avoid being surprised by a shutdown.
Bankruptcy is more clear in some industries rather than others. It’s also more common in startups rather than solidified older corporations, but it’s not to say that a huge bank, shoe brand or hotel chain can go into bankruptcy overnight without much notice due to mismanaged funds or external forces.
When warning signs show you could be laid off
Has there been buzzing around the office that the company has some red flags? Did the agency lose a big client? Is the economic environment not lending itself to growth in your company’s particular field?
Try to get ahead of a layoff if you sense that one could happen. Remember: layoffs typically happen to specific departments that can be downsized (like marketing, for example) and typically happen to newer employees, younger employees and newer teams that are considered less “essential” toward operations, sales and business.
It is definitely the right time to leave your job if you think a pink slip is coming!
When you realize you couldn’t recommend the company positively
At one point (and this was not rocket science for me, at the time) I realized that if someone asked me via a friend to refer them for an interview at my employer, I couldn’t wholeheartedly feel good about it.
I didn’t want to refer anyone into the toxic environment I was trying to leave, and I surely didn’t want to lie that I didn’t agree with how the company was operating.
If you think you couldn’t recommend your employer as a “great place to work” in a heartbeat, and without hesitation, it’s time to leave your job and start the search for a new one.
When your boss/team never listen to you
A good reason to quit your job (with another one lined up) is if you feel like your coworkers, boss and team are never listening to you.
In a team, there are so many good opinions to listen to, and share. If you feel like you have ideas and no one ever trusts you to employ them or share them externally, it’s a fair time to revisit if you are valued at your job.
If not, then it’s a sure reason to feel like you can “up and leave” as soon as you find a new role where you can ask during the interview how employees are listened to and how feedback is implemented.
Last updated on August 20th, 2022
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