I know how it feels: I stayed in a corporate job for way too long. I was miserable, it was impacting my health, and my loved ones didn’t particularly enjoy hearing me complaining about my job.
Yet I continued to endure the misery for several more years. I was in denial. I was worried about money, had self-esteem issues, was confused about what I wanted, and reluctant to “start over” at a new job – I had my job “figured out” (nearly in my sleep).
I realize now that it was a combination of fear and an odd sense of comfort that kept me from making a much needed change. It was a very familiar fear. It was far easier in the short-term to put the blame for my job dissatisfaction onto my boss, instead of me owning my career and designing it to honor my strengths and who I wanted to become.
Fast-forward several years (and a few failed attempts of figuring out what I wanted) and I’m now running my own business and moving into areas of discomfort with courage, flexibility, openness, resourcefulness and creativity. I love where I am, I’m excited about my work, and curious where my journey continues to take me; I’m no longer settling.
I wished I could say taking the first step was the hardest, but there were several more hard steps I had to take mostly because I didn’t learn the necessary lessons the first time around. While I wouldn’t trade my personal journey, I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, I can help make your transition easier.
So how do you know that it’s time to leave? Below are some clear clues. Not all of them have to be met: for me, one is enough to say move on (I’ve learned). You’ll need to make that decision for yourself. Just do it from a place of trusting yourself and not from a place of denial.
1. You get the Sunday night dread most every night.
You’re unhappy most of the day, nearly every day. You don’t feel energized to go to work and, when you’re at work, you’re dreaming of being nearly anywhere else. You’re bored, even if you are super busy. You procrastinate more than you ever have (we all procrastinate a bit).
2. You’re exhausted and/or frustrated.
You’re exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. This is the level of exhaustion that no matter how much sleep you get, you do not feel recharged. You have no idea what work/life balance means. Even when you have time for your personal life, you don’t feel as excited as you used to. You identify with Eeyore.
Your work is impacting your personal relationships. You vent about your job too much.
3. You don’t feel like YOU at work.
You’re misunderstood and hide the “real” you. You don’t feel respected. You don’t feel heard. Your suggestions or input are regularly dismissed.
You don’t feel that you can speak up at work. You don’t feel that you’ll be listened to and so you stop contributing your input.
4. There is no future.
You haven’t been promoted for a long time, but additional responsibilities and work have been added on.
There is no place for you to go forward in your career.
You were made promises about opportunities in your career path – but it has not happened.
You’re not learning anything new or expanding your skills and experience in a meaningful way. The skills you need to use in your job do not match your strengths.
The company is in trouble.
5. You don’t like the people you work with and/or your boss.
The company culture is not aligned with your personal values or the company mission doesn’t mean anything to you.
The environment is toxic. Your boss is toxic. You’re experiencing verbal abuse, sexual harassment, or are aware of illegal behavior.
6. You don’t feel that your job is meaningful.
You don’t feel that you are contributing value to the world. You feel deep down that there is something more that you were meant for – bigger, more meaningful, or thrilling.
Many people, particularly women, feel embarrassed to admit that deep down they feel they are made for better things. They’re afraid this sounds arrogant. But these feelings are pointing you in another direction, one that will bring you more joy, success, and satisfaction in your life.
If you feel you’re made for more, then you are. Don’t ignore these feelings.
If you answered yes to any of the above factors, they are likely impacting your health. No job is worth your health!
Making the decision to leave can be a scary one. But what’s the cost if you do nothing?
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to own your career, the next step is making it happen. Be strategic about it. If you leave, don’t burn bridges. Leave with gratitude and grace.
If you need help designing your personal transition plan (including figuring out what you want, how to find it, exiting with grace, and how to crush it in your new role) reach out to me.