By Lynn Taylor

Psychology Today, January 30, 2019 —

This could be the time to look at options.

Companies are scrambling to fill vacancies, and this could be the time to consider greener pastures if you’re unhappy in your current job.

Unemployment ended 2018 at a very low rate of 3.9 percent. With more options in the job market, the percentage of workers who chose to quit their jobs last year hit a 17-year high. Should you join them in making a change? That’s not always a simple answer. After all, the strong employment environment gives you a great deal of leverage in your current job.

Still, it’s easy to get stuck in a holding pattern over time at work, and you have heard the phrase, “strike while the iron’s hot.” If you’re noticing one or more of the following red flags over an extended period, it may be time to at least explore the possibilities.

Taking control of the reins of your career will be liberating.

Here are 16 warning signs that it’s time to move on:

1. Your boss makes you miserable.

You’ve tried new strategies for interacting more effectively with your manager and even adjusted your own behavior, hoping to see improvement. Despite trying everything to smooth the relationship, it remains toxic. You wouldn’t be the first person to quit your job due to a bad boss. In a Randstad US survey, 60 percent of workers polled said they have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because they don’t like their direct supervisors. People leave managers, not jobs.

2. Your pay isn’t keeping up.

You’ve asked for a raise but were told to hang in there … three years ago (!). The waiting game is growing old. Now that you’ve done the research and know you can earn more at another firm, resentment is building about being underpaid.

3. Your talents aren’t being tapped.

You started your job fired up about tapping into your skills, but instead, you’re so bogged down in daily tasks that you never have opportunities to leverage your talents. When you’ve asked to apply them, managers say they’ll keep you in mind, but nothing ever materializes.

4. Other jobs look exciting.

It’s getting harder not to daydream about other opportunities. You envy your friend who attends interesting professional conferences and another whose job allows her to work with the latest technologies. Just reading job ads makes you ponder the possibilities of moving on.

5. You’ve tried talking to your boss to no avail.

The frustrations you have with your job simply aren’t getting better, despite addressing your concerns multiple times with your manager. You’re stuck using buggy software, you get bombarded with unnecessary last-minute requests and remain seated next to an inconsiderate colleague. It’s like you’ve never even asked your boss for help.

6. You’re burning out.

You remember that thing called the sun that glows in the sky; you saw it a few months ago? Since then, you’ve come in to the office when it’s dark and leave well into the evening hours, and continue to work on the weekends. There’s no sign chronic understaffing is going away. You’re so burned out hat your health is suffering and you struggle to get a full night of sleep.

7.  Your career is on track … to nowhere.

You’ve settled into a job that has no major surprises. And that may be great, unless you fear doing exactly the same work daily … forever. There is no upward path in the foreseeable future or even a chance for a lateral move within the company.

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8. There may be downsizing ahead.

Rumors are spreading about the company or department. Maybe you’re hearing about leadership changes; outsourcing of teams (like yours); or there’s financial trouble brewing. Even worse, there’s reliable information to back up the rumors.

9. You’re not getting plum projects.

You once were the go-to person in your group, always asked to play a crucial role on important initiatives. Now, you’re watching those assignments go to other people while you sit on the sidelines.

10. You’re not being invited to key meetings.

There’s a large gathering down the hall behind closed doors. It involves projects that directly impact you and you have a lot of valuable input … but your inbox is still devoid of invites.

11. You rarely look forward to going to work.

Those memes about the Monday blues used to be something that made you chuckle. Now they’re beginning to hit home.

12. You stare at the clock.

How can it only be 10 am? You feel like your workdays are never-ending. You’re in a constant state of countdown mode, waiting to be able to go home.

13. You don’t like talking about work at social functions.

You cringe when people ask you about your job during social occasions. You try to skip the subject or turn the conversation back to them. You’d rather talk about … just about anything else!

14. Your boss seems to ignore you.

You say, “Hi!” to your manager when passing in the hall, but it’s like you don’t exist. And forget sending your boss an email and getting a response. Crickets!

15. Your boss doesn’t talk about the long-term with you.

The topic of your future career aspirations is short-lived during your performance review. And discussing the long-term outlook is virtually forbidden throughout the year.

16. You don’t share the company’s values.

You’re uncomfortable when you think about the company’s values, culture or business direction. They just aren’t aligned with your own philosophies or beliefs. It’s hard to work toward a pursuit that doesn’t sit well with you.

If you’re nodding your head to these signs, it may be time to walk. One word of caution, though: if you’re relatively happy, don’t be overly swayed by a strong job environment, as market conditions can change within months and tenure has its value if you’re producing solid results. Always do what you can first to salvage your current job before you leap. Learning how to manage up in difficult situations is a crucial skill you will likely need wherever you are. And regardless of your decision, taking control of the reins of your career will be liberating.

If you’ve tried virtually every avenue to make your current job work with no significant improvement, however, this could be the moment for change, knowing you’re ready for a new chapter of empowerment, confidence and happiness.


Lynn Taylor is a nationally recognized workplace expert and author of the bestselling book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons).