A 2013 Gallup Poll revealed that 70% of the American workforce either hates, or is disengaged by, their jobs. Furthermore, a 2011 study revealed that the psycho-social impact of working a job you dislike is actually worse for your mental health than being unemployed.
That’s pretty shocking, right? It appears that the world of work really has the potential to ruin your life.
Such a possibility begs an important question – is it time for you to quit your job?
I don’t ask you to ask this question lightly. I’m well aware of some of the pitfalls of quitting. However, at what point does taking this risk become a necessity to preserve your dignity, health and enjoyment of life?
The following 10 signs should help you answer that question. Getting the timing right, when quitting, is of fundamental importance to the decision leading you to a better place. By working your way through this list you’ll be able to identify the signs that your current job is damaging your well-being. Then, I’ll inform you of what you need to have in place to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Category 1: The Warning Signs
- You’re low on a Monday, high on a Friday
Just because almost everybody else you know feels the same, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s normal to live this way. It’s not. You shouldn’t be dreading the onset of the working week and you shouldn’t be celebrating the end of it. This is your life. You can’t spend it wishing you were somewhere else.
- You’re clock watching throughout the day
Keeping track of time once in a while is not an issue. However, if you find yourself regularly looking at your watch then it’s a clear sign you’re not stimulated by the work you’re doing.
Work doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible for you to be so engaged by the tasks you undertake that you lose track of time. That’s the kind of job you should be looking for. If you’re current role doesn’t provide this stimulation, then perhaps it’s time to look for one that does.
- You’re Strong Arming people out the Building at closing time
Ever been in a shop, library or restaurant close to closing time and the assistant is hovering over you and frequently reminding you that you have 10 minutes till closing time, then 9, then 8 etc . . You just want to tell them to piss off, but at the same time, you can sympathize with their situation.
They don’t want to be there. They don’t enjoy their work and the thought of having to spend just 1 minute longer in this soul destroying place is enough to turn them into a shop floor bouncer.
This type of behavior doesn’t just apply to retail assistants though. If, at 5.30pm, you’re logging off and running for the door, it’s a sure sign that your work is providing little motivation beyond financial reward. If you work a job you enjoy then you don’t mind carrying on for an extra few minutes, or half hour, to ensure that your customers are satisfied and you do a great job.
Category 2: Quit Sooner Rather than Later
- Your Health is Suffering
Damage to health can come in many forms. Perhaps you’re exposed to dangerous chemicals or a hazardous working environment. More than likely, you’re under so much pressure, and having to work so many hours, that your stress levels are dangerously high, you’re permanently exhausted through lack of sleep, you’re unhealthily overweight through lack of time to exercise or you have to rely on excessive drug use (both legal and illegal) to keep you going or because it’s part of the culture you work in (see The Wolf of Wall Street).
If this is the case for you, I hope this paragraph acts as a wake-up call. No amount of money can make up for permanently damaged health. Get out soon or, even better, play The System and get paid time off for stress while you look for other work.
- You’re not Treated with any Respect
Studies reveal that appreciation is one of the biggest motivators in the workplace. We all want to be treated fairly, with respect and given recognition for the good work we do.
So if you find that the goalposts are being moved when it comes to bonus time, you’re being lumbered with an extra role but not getting a pay rise, you’re being spoken to in a dismissive manner and regularly given tasks to do at 5.25 pm which need to be ready for 9 am the next day, then you must stand up for yourself and explain that you won’t tolerate this treatment.
If it continues, hand in your notice.
Category 3: You’re Prepared for the Transition
- You’ve built up a side income
Once you’re earning the minimum amount of money to survive on, from outside your day job, then quit. Now when I say the minimum, I mean the minimum. This doesn’t mean that you can afford vacations, cars and meals out. It means that you can just about cover your overheads and put food on your table.
Why is this the right time to leave?
Because freedom is more valuable than money. So what if you can’t afford the lifestyle of your friends? What you do have, that they don’t, is an abundance of time to dedicate to something you are passionate about.
Remember, you will only grow from this position. If you’ve been slowly building up a side income doing something you enjoy, while working a day job you don’t, it’s likely you’ve got the minimum amount of clients, knowledge and contacts to make it viable. So make the transition now!
- You’ve got enough Money Saved to Live a Year plus without Working
If you use it productively, A LOT can be accomplished in a year. Even without any clue what you might like to do, it’s still worth the risk.
What’s the worst that can happen? In a years’ time you have to find a job similar to the one you quit? At least you’ve given yourself the opportunity to find something greater!
And, of course, you may actually find it. You have no idea what you can achieve when you’re not exhausted by a job you hate and don’t have the time restraints of working 40 hours a week, commuting and other commitments.
- You set a ‘Quit Date’ a while back and it’s fast approaching
If you’re the kind of person who sets a ‘quit date’ then it’s likely you’ve prepared for what will happen. You’ve probably got some money stashed away, a small secondary income or a solid idea about how you will make money doing something you enjoy.
SO DON’T GET COLD FEET.
Trust yourself and trust the judgement that led you to set that date.
Category 4: Exceptional Circumstances
- You’ve been Ignoring your ‘Calling’ for Years
If you feel you have a clear calling (and it’s constantly nagging at you) to do something greater than you are at present, then don’t ignore it. Yes, quitting your job is risky and yes, if you’re not properly prepared then you may experience many failures. But is this worse than living with a lifetime of regret?
- You’re Totally Unsatisfied with your Life So Far
Perhaps you’ve recently experienced a major life event and it’s made you question a lot of things. You realize you’re time on this planet is finite and don’t want to get to the end of it feeling like you could have done so much more. If this is the case then why not quit a job that’s restricting you?
Influential blogger, Jon Morrow, was in this position (involved in a car crash, very little money, unsatisfied with his life and suffering with SMA) in 2006 when he decided to quit his job and pursue his dream of running a successful blog. Ten years later and he’s fantastically wealthy, gets to do the thing he loves and rules the blogging kingdom.
It can be done.
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If you want to learn more about quitting your job and finding a career you are passionate about, then you must read my soon to be released book, How to Create an Income without Working a Boring Job.
Click here for more information and to benefit from a pre-release discount.
Joe Barnes is the author of the critically acclaimed, Escape The System, and the creator of the Screw the System website. He’s passionate about helping people succeed on their own terms. He also works as a tennis coach and hypnotherapist.