Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: Jobs and Careers: When do you know it’s time to quit your job? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
I think that these vary from person to person, and can vary in factors from external environments (stressful, unhealthy workplace) to individual issues (stresses at home, depression/anxiety), to external parties (an abuser or a particularly bad boss).
I’d advise that before deciding to quit your job, that you try to identify some of the core issues are that you’re experiencing, and whether they’re internal or external. Most (certainly not all) corporate workplaces will work with you, via HR or an manager that you’re close to, if you communicate your needs and how they’re not being met.
I ended up leaving a company because I felt that I’d consistently raised issues (lack of direct oversight/management, consistent overloading) and no change manifested.
Below are some symptoms which I’ve both observed in colleagues and personally experienced, but by no means represent a comprehensive list.
If you wake up and don’t want to go to work
This isn’t just an occasional lazy day, this is a chronic behavior. You wake up and you’re immediately thinking about everything you have to do, how you’re going to do it, steeling yourself for the experience that work is going to be.
You’re apathetic about the work
For me I’d always been incredibly motivated: willing to tackle new problems, fix what is broken, take charge and make sure the job was done right and the smartest way possible. As I started to burn out (in part because of the work environment), it became very hard to be willing to take on new projects, or put in the extra effort to try and fix what was or wasn’t working. This can range from complete apathy (I don’t care at all about whether or not this gets done) to complacency (this is done, but not to my usual standards).
If you don’t have anything positive to say
We know that emotions are contagious. This is especially potent in an environment like the workplace. If you find yourself consistently complaining to a spouse or partner, or you only complain to your coworkers, maybe it’s time to reconsider.
(This is not to say that there aren’t frustrating scenarios, instances, or periods of time, because that happens in every workplace. This assumes that over a period of weeks or months, there’s nothing that you can speak positively about regarding work.)
If you’re consistently and proactively looking for other jobs
This is pretty clear. Some people may look ‘for fun’, but if you’re consistently applying and interviewing then maybe you’ve already figured out that the environment isn’t for you.
You’ve got a chip on your shoulder
You’re just looking for a fight, you find everyone and everything annoying or lackluster. You’ve lost respect for your team members, bosses, and the company as a whole – and that’s a difficult thing to overcome.