10 Signs Time to Quit

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How many times a day do you say to yourself, “I like what I do, but not where I work?” Or the opposite, “I like where I work, but not what I do?”

The current economy has kept many employees stationed for the past couple of years, not because they love what they do — but because they are too scared to pursue other opportunities. But, according to a recent Gallup Poll, 71 percent of employees feel disengaged from their jobs. So what should you do? Continue to stay in a job where you are unhappy? Or start looking for somewhere where you’ll be happier?

People quit their jobs for many reasons. Maybe you don’t like your co-workers or your boss drives you crazy. Maybe there’s nowhere for you to move up in the company. Maybe you’re overworked and underpaid. Maybe you’re all of the above.

While the choice to move on to greener pastures is up to you, here are 10 signs that should tell you if it’s time to start thinking about moving on:

1. Your co-workers drive you crazy.
Co-workers can be a curse or a blessing in the workplace. When you work with people you love, it’s one thing. But how are you supposed to get any work done when your colleagues are irritating you, offending you, distracting you, coming in late, leaving early, talking loudly on the phone, procrastinating or coming to your desk to gossip? If you find that you want to tear your hair out at the end of each day because of your colleagues, it might be time to look for more tolerable people.

2. You hate going to work.
When Sunday night rolls around, are you dreading going into the office the next morning? As soon as you arrive on Monday morning, are you already thinking about Friday at 5 p.m.? I think all of us have had to go to job that we hate at least once, and if you haven’t — you’re the exception, not the rule (not to mention extremely lucky). When you’re spending 40+ hours at work, the last thing you want is to hate every second you’re there. If you do, it might be time to start thinking about your next career move.

3. You’re bored.
Most people like to feel challenged at work. If your work has started to seem too easy or repetitive, it’s a sign that you need more responsibility or extra a change in roles. But, don’t confuse boredom with slacking off. There’s a vast difference between watching YouTube videos all day long with work piling up next to you and watching YouTube videos all day long because you’ve completed all there is to do.

4. The company — or your job — is in trouble.
It’s no secret that many companies are still struggling as a result of the economy. There continue to be layoffs and budget cuts. While we don’t suggest quitting your job in a panic without having some sort of plan as to what your next step is, we do think you should pay attention to what’s going on at your company. If you’re concerned about the state of your job or the company, approach your manager with any concerns before taking other actions.

5. You don’t feel at home.
Sometimes we forget how important it is to feel comfortable at work — that is, until we don’t. If competition seems far from friendly, your colleagues steal your ideas, your ethics or values conflict with the company, or even if your casual style clashes with the buttoned-up policies of management, you might try to find a company where you feel more at home.

6. You can’t stand your boss.
Just because someone is a manager or boss doesn’t give him free reign to be a jerk. Whether you realize it or not, your relationship with your boss has a huge impact on your overall professional happiness and success. After all, even the best job can be terrible if your boss is lousy. If you don’t see eye-to-eye or your manager is untrustworthy or unwilling to help you succeed, it might be time to look for a new job — with a new supervisor.

7. Your career is at a standstill.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same job for several years and you’re ready for more responsibility. Maybe you’ve lost your passion for what you used to love. Maybe you work at a company where there’s no other role for you than the one you’re currently in. Start by talking to your boss about taking on more work, or trying different tasks. Express to him or her that you want to continue to develop your skills and reach your goals. If no alternatives are available, it might be time to start looking around.

8. You’re not valued.
Recognition is important — you need to feel as though you’re making a contribution and like other people will give you credit for your successes. Is your company doing anything to reward your efforts? Do you get bonuses, perks or positive feedback? If your boss has never heard of positive reinforcement, it might be time to find company that will value your talent.

9. Your work environment sucks.
State of the economy aside, every job and every company experiences highs and lows. It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to know that working in place with negative energy or low morale is draining on even the happiest soul. If you find that you’re always feeling stressed out, depressed or having a negative attitude, it might be time to explore more positive options.

10. You’re exhausted.
Everyone says they’re stressed. But some people are really stressed. Too many projects and not enough help equal a heavy workload and job burnout. We don’t advise quitting when the going gets tough once in a while — let’s be honest, everyone has to take one for the team at some point. But, if there’s no end or reprieve in sight, do yourself (and your sanity) a favor and see what else is out there.

Bing: Signs you’re about to be fired
Bing: Exit interview tips

37 Comments
  1. Sad to say, all of the above are true for me. But I took a few years off from working to raise my kids, and now I don’t have the training or skills to move into the current corporate America. I hate the job I have to the point that my stomach starts burning the night before I have to return to work and doesn’t stop until my day off rolls around. But I can’t quit, and I’ve searched for something else for months with no luck.

    Guess I should be glad to have a job, even if I work 50 hours a week and get paid for 40, sit in one spot for up to 7 hours straight saying the same thing over and over again to customer after customer, most of whom hate what I’m trying to sell.

    • Go back to school. I did that, at 41 yrs old, with 4 kids and a disabled spouse. No regrets. It can be done but you go to want to do it.

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  5. Cute advice, but we all know these things. What kind of sap keeps re-dredging the “Same old-Same-old”?
    The thing I hate most about the internet is that any idiot can have an opinion and acts as though they have the right. I agree with someone I once read that you have the right to your “Informed” opinion.
    Stating the obvious just makes you a moron.
    So I am saying my informed opinion is that you put the “more” in moron for writing this tripe!
    If you have any new ideas or information, please feel free to share. But to tell us is is cold because it is winter seems a little narrow minded, HUH?

    • Congratulations, I do believe you just proved your own point!!! oh, and the little icon with “ABC” is called spell check–also proof reading would be appreciated ie: “… to tell us is is cold ….”
      Have a very blessed day.

      • Wow I love that the grammar police have picked up the bible. I see that you are quite the armchair christian grammy. May I suggest that you re-read your bible and maybe try to live your life by it this time? It’s fine and great to wish people “a blessed day” but you must first live out the words of Christ before you can push them on someone else. Holyer than thou much?

        • Sounds like someone is trying to clear a speck of dust from another’s eye when they have a plank in their own. Practice what you preach. Until I see the nail marks in any of your hands, you all need to know your role and stick to the topic here.

  6. I know how you feel PJ. I’m thankful for my job because it pays the bills, but I know that it should be a bit more than that. After all, I spend the majority of my hours there. The bosses are insensitive and don’t give a damn about the workers. They harp on people being ill and have the nerve to tell staffers that sick leave is banned for a particular month. I get a sick feeling in my stomach every morning when I think of it. I can’t find a new job and the market is kinda saturated with qualified people. It’s a sucky position to be in. :(

    • In an effort to tip toe through the grammer/spelling critics, I have found myself underemployed. Everyone always told me that a college degree would open doors. Jillions of people are going back to school. Of my 2 best freinds, I went to college and have the vortex of suck job with no future, my buddy that graduated high school is retired at a young age and my freind that dropped out of high school seems to print money. I am left scratching my head wondering if the ability to suck up to the right people is more the key that being capable. It seems the insulting reality is that if one has the perfect fitting lips for the bosses hind quarters, they move. My problem is that I have an issue with bosses, corporations and the new American value system. I am not entitled to anything I do not earn but so many feel they should be flipped a fish for performing the minimal of their tasks and then cry “why not me”. Low and behold, they move up! The structure of American values is broken. The way our fathers and grandfathers worked no longer works. If you can’t scheme and work “the system”, you are going to be frustrated. Tell me I have a bad attitude but the way to success is to “play the game”. I have failed at doing a good job, being on time, dependable and being valued for the job I do. I need to go back to school for a degree in manipulation.

      • I totally agree with you and have seen it many times over again where if you are “liked”, all doors are open for you. I work in a company where I come in early, put in a full day’s work limiting breaks and private phone calls and make my goal every month. I dont feel that it is even noticed. But the girl next to me with the big chest and low cut tops seems to have my supervisor wrapped around her finger. She doesnt achieve her goal monthly goals or come in on time and spends a major portion of her day talking with her friends and family. Yet he bends over backwards to help her. So I do truly believe that being a good worker is a good thing…but not as good as being someone willing to kiss a little butt or God forbid..kiss a little something more. I am sorry…I was raised with a great work ethic and while I will always be a team player and a hard worker, I will not resort to low cut tops to win the affection of my boss.

      • 100% Correct! It is a good thing to share experiences on a board like this. It is real!!! Employers have 1 goal in mind- their own happiness(which ussually means, more money for ivestors or shareholders) it is bad out here. You ussually find this out when you are not working for 9 hrs a day. We the people work our lives not live. IT WILL NOT CHANGE unless you move to another country. THIS IS THE AMERCIAN way ;)

  7. Sadly, last year I experienced all of the above while teaching at a catholic school in which I had taught for 8 years. The quality of the working environment had changed drastically from my beginning years there, and I did all I could to resume the type of work and quality that I had given to my students and administrators before everything began to go sour on me last year. It was grueling to work there with the constant scrutiny and lack of positive reinforcement. No good-will or even a sliver of conscious effort was extended to see that I reach success. In fact, it was a common understanding across the faculty that some teachers were catered to over others. After eight long years of service and passion for my work, I was the only one who was indeed not extended another contract. The new administrator of one year at the school, simply said, “You are not what the school needs at the moment.” And that was that. In hindsight, the place and what it entailed last year was not at all worth my sacrifice and health which was highly affected by the mistreatment that I endured for 4 long and grating months. This article is certainly right…no job is ever worth your happiness, self-worth, and health. Even in this economy, something better is always waiting for us out there, and it is worth waiting for with hope and patience. All of us should always feel as though we are contributing and truly being acknowledged and appreciated it is a part of human nature and human dignity.

    • I’m going to try to avoid the grammar police as well. Typos are a fact of life I’m afraid but in regard to the article, I am a teacher as well and work at a very challenged and difficult school. My husband lost his job over a year ago, and is employed at a job he likes better then the one he lost, but at half the pay. The benefits at the new job were not sufficient. As a result, for the first time ever I’m carrying the load my husband carried. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years and worked part-time periodically. My job is extremely hard, the environment is dysfunctional, and I’ve felt the urge to walk off over and over. I can not look for another school until the end of this year, so I am making an huge effort to stay calm, look at the bright side, and stay put. It is not easy. I’m looking for people at work who try to be appreciative and positive, who work hard, who have something constructive to contribute, from whom I can learn, and who laugh. I’ve had to learn ways of dealing with the stress and situations at work that I never had to deal with before. I am also trying to be someone who encourages rather than a drain. No I am not Mother Teresa, but although this article is showing us that we need to make a change, the reality in that in this economy, many of us are thankful for the paycheck. I am hoping to go back to school – am researching graduate programs – and I have two kids in college as well. Some people are going back to school, some are starting up side businesses, etc. In essence, many of us are having to dig deep and be very creative while waiting to make the change. Meanwhile, I’ll be one of those. Having been there, I do know it is easy to get caught up in the negativity, but it is not helpful nor constructive. Our happiness at work is up to us to some extent, and having had this experience we’ll be a little more proactive in applying for positions we are more suited for. At least, that’s how I feel. My husband was offered a job that was much like the company he’d left, with all the stress, etc., at higher pay. He turned it down with my blessing. And yes, the quality of our lives are better. This economy doesn’t have to be a death sentence. There are some really good things coming out of it, I think. But that’s just me.

    • It is sad; but, true. People get ahead these days for all the WRONG reasons. The low cut tops even work on women who prefer women. Imagine that, an all new low. I had to compete with a blonde who had a boss who was in love with her. Her boss (a female) preferred blondes so no matter how hard I worked, that was that. Unfortunately, this is the way of the world now. Only pretty and loose women get ahead of average looking women and men.

  8. This all seems to be common sense info. Unfortunately, not all of us are able to quit & pursue a better career. School isn’t always an opinion as well.
    Everyone will have an (nasty word) boss.
    You won’t always love where you work
    You are going to be stressed & feel overworked & underpaid.

    That’s just a 3rd of what we deal with day to to day. The Best you can do, is find the best at your workplace til you can tell them to kiss you where the sun doesn’t shine. If a door opens for you, run for it. Otherwise just be patient & take that paycheck til one does.

    • Kristen, I agree that the article items are common sense. But, when you’re in the thick of things, common sense may be needed to clear the fog. I am in a one-person office with one extra help employee. I KNOW it’s too much for me and it is time to move on. Reading that article helped to break it down to specifics and is more understandable than my crying, “Why? Oh Why? Please God make it go away!” :)
      As for other posts, calling people names and putting others down is not necessary. One person went back to school and it worked for her. Her post could help many others. Another found a job with half the pay. That worked for him. Those are options I don’t want to think about but maybe I could find a way to do them so that my physical and mental health will improve. Then again, another option may come up that will be better for me. We all have different situations and can offer up what worked for us.
      What I am doing is watching the State and Federal job sites and applying for jobs. I don’t like looking at general classifieds anymore; I try to stay specific to State and Federal. There are a couple of places here that I’ve applied for that have jobs similar to what I am doing now, and have more staff, so maybe just a change in venue is all I need. On my own, I continue to learn: computer software programs, management skills, etc. I have a bachelor’s degree so I have considered substitute teaching. I’ve considered going back to school. I’ve considered working from home, renting out a bedroom, marrying a rich man, winning the lottery, the economy blowing up that all debts would be wiped out and we’d all go back to a barter system. I’ve thought about a lot of things!
      Right now my situation is that staying here and looking for a new job is the best thing I can do. And keep crying to the kitties. Ha ha!

  9. This is a post to partially let of a little steam over a stressful situation!

    It is sad to know that there are so many people in tough working environments but encouraging to know that many have made positive moves to different jobs. I have been teaching at a major university for over 12 years. We are overworked, under-paid and work with overinflated egos with bad tempers that are protected by tenure.

    I have tried to leave several times but found many “road blocks”, the main one being my own boss. For example: I interviewed for my dream position and learned from friends on the faculty at the other university that I was the top candidate. I was devastated to learn that I did not get the position. It was given to someone less qualified. How do I know this? Their department chair told me himself 1 year later that my boss had written a wonderful letter of recommendation. He then telephoned the department chair, his friend in the “good ol’ boy network in our field” and asked him not to hire me. I was needed at my current university. Politics!

    While it’s nice to know you do an excellent job, and are needed, it is sad when you are kept from advancing in your career. It is even sadder when you see a dream slip through your fingers.

    Recently my boss’s antics have escalated exponentially with intimidation tactics. He appears to be trying to run out all of the women faculty in our department that are over 55. I am one of them. If you are in a non-tenure track position, they can pretty much do what they want. They can keep you from getting another position because you do a good job, make your current job a living nightmare, then try to run you out 5 1/2 years before retirement because they are now hiring younger, less educated faculty at half the salary. There is just something very immoral and unethical about that, however legal it might be.

    How do you restart a career at 56+, especially when there are so many younger, qualified graduates willing to be hired at a much lower salary?

    Tough question! It is helpful to see so many people taking the chance to try for something different. I will continue my own search (as secretly as possible)and encourage others in toxic working environments to keep trying for a better life too. Sometimes it seems that hope is all we have to keep us going.

    Please forgive any typos.

    • Anne
      1. Network. This is a very valuable tool that will prove useful time and time again as proven by your boss’s phone call. Build your own network enhancing your own reputation.
      2. Don’t give up or give in to the “I’m 56 what now” thinking. Objectivity about the market and your skills regardless of age will get you where you want to be at this point in your career. The difficulty in hiring someone 56 years old is evident in your statement of ONLY 5-1/2 years left. Short timer’s syndrome, ONLY 5-1/2 years to go instead of thinking my career where to I want to go?

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  18. Hello out there in TV land, hope you are all doing well. I count myself extrememly, extremely lucky in that I bought a house and land for 7K,(no, I’m not selling anything, but let me know if you want more info) am fixing it up little by little, have not worked a “regular” job in over 3 years, ((I work temp jobs when required, and even manage to put back a little here and there)), and when the house is done and completely paid for, all I will have is lights, water, phone, cable, etc. Car is paid for. Kids are grown and gone. This is truly living – not to stress over “how will I pay the mortgage, how will I pay this or that?” Yes, my car is older, yes, I don’t have the latest fashions, but I’m HAPPY and not stressed. Amen!

    • Hey, congrats in not working for 3 years! I do not agree that one shouldn’t burn bridges when leaving a job. I do not believe anyone should be treated like dirt. That said, I have had no problems in finding a job, even after “burning” bridges. Be proud, be wise and plan ahead. If you have talent and a good resume, you’ll be able to find a job, regardless of burning bridges. A good employer knows there are good and bad managers and will look at both sides.

  19. I went back to college, graduated with high honors and I’m still making a lousy salary. I work for a boss who procrastinates on her work and then gives it to me to do. I work/but don’t get paid overtime, but I still consider myself lucky to have a job to get up and go to in the morning. I have the utmost confidence that things will get better. I find a positive attitude goes a long way. Yup. a positive attitude and a cocktail. :)

  20. There seems to be a new generation of workers that think they can get buy by lieing, cheating and wrongfully tattling on co-workers. It makes them think they can get ahead and makes for a very bad workplace. Problem is when the boss is their friend and is an idiot who was promoted because he couldn’t do his job , makes for a bad situation all around. Time to go.

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