The alarm rings. You motion yourself slowly to switch it off and then roll back onto your pillow. You lay still for a moment, eyes barely open, and think to yourself, “if only I didn’t have to go into the office today,” before you let out a big sigh. You will wake yourself up and get ready at sloth-like speed. Your thoughts wander off again, “Why do I feel like this?”
You may tell yourself that ‘this too shall pass’s – that perhaps this dreadful feeling is only temporary, and it will soon leave. You feel low, but you still make your way to work. You go through the motion automatically, lifelessly. Before you realise it, this slump you thoughts that was going to go away has gone on for months. During this time, your work has suffered – you are unproductive and prone to mistakes; you are moody and snappish causing your friends and family to steer clear. Your colleagues? They tiptoe around you as if you were a ticking time-bomb.
Would you have recognised that perhaps this ongoing sluggish feeling you have been Experiencing for months is a sign that it is High time you left your job? Sadly, instead of paying heed to these signs, many professionals choose to deny them because they are simply too afraid to accept them and deal with them.
Here is a round-up of our top five compelling signs indicating it’s time to call it quits before a crisis forces you to.
1. You dread going to work
You find yourself dragging your feet to work or wishing that you didn’t have to go to work – the discontent has already kicked in. You are not driven and passionate as you used to be and have become bored and unmotivated to perform. You may have communicated this to your boss and measures may have been put in place to improve the situation, yet, you no longer feel exhilarated and challenged. You are simply going through the motion to survive.
If you find yourself feeling this way most of the days, or waiting for the day to come to an end soon, it is clear it is time to move.
2. You are constantly exhausted – physically, mentally or emotionally
You are a high-level, overachieving executive who is super dedicated to your job, but of late, the fire in you has fizzled away, and you can’t even bring yourself to do any work, knowing you have countless deadlines waiting. You are overwhelmed and mentally drained; you feel as if all your energy has been sucked out of you dry – you feel extremely exhausted. It is highly likely you are Experiencing burnout.
Job burnout, according to the World Health Organisation, “is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Burnout happens to the best of us and is common with high-level executives who are typically compulsive top performers. Burnout usually builds up over a prolonged period of time before it implodes. When that happens, it can affect your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
How to be sure you are experiencing burnout? Some common symptoms according to Mayo Clinic are:
Feeling cynical or critical at work
Feeling easily irritable or impatient with colleagues, customers, or clients
Lack of concentration
Feeling highly dissatisfied about the job
Experiencing unexplained headaches, stomach or other physical problems
If you experience these symptoms, and despite having communicated them with your employer, yet little or nothing has changed to help you get through the burnout, then it probably is not a place to continue working in. Health cannot be replaced, but a job can.
3. Your workplace is toxic, and so are the people in it
Workplace toxicity is real. When we describe something as toxic, we are saying something is poisonous and can cause harm to us. A toxic environment is a place or behavior that is harmful to your health and happiness; it is shaped by several factors such as:
Lack of or bad communication within the organisation
Cliques, exclusion or gossipy behaviour
Poor leadership with no clear direction
Unmotivated coworkers who do not inspire you to perform
High staff turnover
Lack of work-life balance
Disrespectful treatment towards staff
If you find any of these familiar, it is either time for your company to shape up or for you to move on to greener and healthier pastures.
4. You are not growing anymore
It is easy to stick to a job and get comfortable in it, especially if you are good at it and have been doing it for some time. However, getting comfortable is not role-enhancing and value-adding to you as an employee. You want a job that allows you to develop new skills, learn new things so that you may flourish, and contribute more effectively to your company’s growth. Growth drives motivation and motivation nurtures productivity and achievement, thereby, enhancing one’s performance, essentially leading to more job satisfaction and happiness at work.
So, if you feel stagnant, and that you are not learning anything new in the organisation, it is perhaps time to look for alternatives.
5. Your employer’s goals and your personal mission do not align
You may have joined the company years ago and believed in your employer’s vision and goals then. However, as time goes by, you mature, and your perspective of life changes. As a result of gaining clarity and prioritising what is important to you, alignment with your personal core values has become more important to you. Do you find yourself disagreeing more often with key decisions your employer makes, or have you started questioning their strategies because they are against what you stand for? When this happens, you know you subconsciously, you have stopped believing in what your organisation stands for, and, sadly, you will not thrive if you stay on. Staying on for the sake of loyalty, for example, will only prolong and deepen your misery.