When you’re in a toxic, terrible, job that you hate, it’s easy to know that it’s time to quit your job. However, what builds up to that? Today I want to talk about the 5 subtle but sneaky signs that it’s time to quit your job before it becomes so toxic that you feel desperate to leave.
To be honest, some of the jobs I needed to quit the most were the stable and comfortable ones. And when you are in these situations, it can be the hardest to leave. It’s usually easy to be motivated and fuelled by anger, toxic situations, or low salary, but it’s important to remember not to rely on those feelings forever because it allows you only to grow when you’re forced into it. Which may get you into better situations, but not great ones.
And while COVID may have had to put quitting on a pause, these are the 5 subtle warning signs that it’s time to quit your job.
Let’s get started!
1. You’re always late.
I used to think I was just the type of person that was always late to everything. Now I’m always 10 minutes early and this shift was really prominent when I was working in Ottawa. It’s so easy to think that we are our bad habits without thinking about the environment we are in. I used to be notoriously late for all my jobs before I turned 22. And I thought “it’s just who I am,” until I started working in a job I really liked.
Before that, I would dread going to work and would just lie there with a sinking feeling. It was like this feeling of avoidance and procrastination that I interpreted as my self-image. I used to leave things to the last minute and looking back now, I would purposely plan things to the last minute – getting up, preparing breakfast, getting ready to avoid having to go, and then I would inevitably end up late. For a long time, I would blame it on traffic, but really being on time is a professional skill that takes no talent and it’s also a marker of respect for other people’s time.
Also, when you are excited about your job, it’s easier to get there on time because you look forward to it. If you are always late for work, it could be a myriad of things, but deep down it could be because you don’t see any value in being there over other activities and that’s the first sign it’s time to quit your job.
For some people, having an easy job that they can coast at is their dream. However, if you are a high achiever, you will only enjoy the comfort of an easy, safe job for so long….and then you will get bored. And because you are a high achiever, you can probably do the job in less time than is allotted and you will start seeking out new ways to kill time. Eventually, this will bleed into your usual work and you start underperforming even though the work is technically “easy.”
You know you aren’t living up to your potential, are staying in a safe career path and procrastinate having to stay there. I know this feeling all too well because I used to have a career that was really safe, easy, and well-paying, and I was still looking for anything else.
If you are struggling with this, I really invite you to join me in my 1:1 program to understand what the right career path is for you.
While there are definitely times we procrastinate to avoid something hard, it’s important to learn how to distinguish procrastination because something is uncomfortable and procrastination because something is too comfortable.
3. It’s time to quit your job if you complain all the time.
Up until now, some of this might seem “normal” and another part of your career that always seems normal is complaining about work. For most people, it’s common to hate your 9-5 and there’s actually comfort in that narrative. Not only can it be humorous or entertaining to listen to, but it can be something to bond over with other people.
“Oh, you hate your job? Me too! Here’s why” are great conversation starters with anyone. But having that shared experience can keep you stuck in it because you normalize it.
One of my favourite scenes that really demonstrates how unnormal this “hating of the 9-5” is, is a scene in Friends when Chandler comes home to talk about how terrible his work is and Monica replies “it’s so unfair, you don’t like your job.” and he says “so, who does?” and all the other characters go on about how they love their work. And if you remember throughout the Friends series, Ross gets constantly made fun of because of how much he loves dinosaurs, and it’s humorous for the viewers because it’s so uncommon. But how great would life be if everyone loved their job as much as Ross does in Friends?
So if you are complaining about your job all the time, to your co-workers, your friends, your family, your spouse and kids, it’s a big sign it’s time to quit your job. Because your job can cost your health which includes your mental and emotional health outside of work and those around you. I’m so guilty of letting my stress and hatred of my work bleed into my personal life and taking it out on the people around me. And what’s worse, it would be about the same things and people over and over again, and I became like a broken record.
When you love your job, you have less in common with other people in this regard, but that opens up the dialogue and conversation to so much more in life because you are more than your career.
So if you are venting about work to everyone around you about the same things, it’s a sign to leave your job.
4. There’s no room for growth in alignment with your values.
As I mentioned earlier, as a higher achiever, you will require challenges that sometimes go against the usual society standards of success. It’s really important to have growth opportunities in any organization, however, it’s also important to ensure that your values match the organization’s values.
As a Career Mindset Coach, I usually work with a lot of people who are mission-based and altruistic which means they have a strong desire to help others and have high standards when it comes to moral, ethical and sustainable work. And I love this part of my job because I get to help people who really have fulfilling careers.
And I see in a lot of people that career alignment is a huge challenge mid-way through our careers. It’s easy to accept any job at the beginning of our careers because you don’t really know what you want until you’re doing it. However, usually, our perceptions of our career are different than what it looks like in real life and as we grow as human beings (not just workers) our values can change or grow.
You may not want to work in a company that has sustainable, ethical or moral practices and while there is no company that is the end-all, be-all, perfect, if your current organization contradicts your values too greatly, it’s a big sign to leave your job. It’s important to ask yourself where you are going in your career and change your environment if it’s no longer what you want with what you’ve learned about your organization or industry.
5. Lastly, it’s time to quit your job if you are only staying out of fear of failure.
So you might have come to the end of this list and already known deep down inside that you want to quit. However, you are still unable to quit because you are scared of disappointing yourself if things don’t work out and you don’t quite have the “perfect plan.”
As high achievers and perfectionists, it’s easy to have an all-or-nothing mindset, especially when it comes to our careers and have the idea that things must happen in a linear journey without “wasting” our previous experience/education. This can result in wanting to have the perfect plan before leaving, but truthfully that does not exist.
It can also be tempting to stay because you are a people pleaser and scared of disappointing others are, again, in the all-or-nothing mindset about how to leave.
It’s so important to understand and work through the fear of failure and all-or-nothing mindset that tyring to block it out is a reason not to quit. Actually, the fact that you are reading and searching for this topic is a sign that it’s time to quit your job (sorry to call you out!).
And if you are looking for additional help with this, I invite you to join me in my 1:1 program to really overcome the self-doubt, impostor syndrome and procrastination habits that are preventing you from leaving a job. In my 1:1 program, I really uncover these obstacles preventing you from finding the right career for you, and more than that, how to do that authentically to yourself. To get started, make sure to book your free Career Consultation Call to get more information on the 1:1 coaching program and if it’s the right fit for you!