The average person will spend over a third of their life working, that’s roughly 90,000 hours! In many ways society teaches us that work is not designed to be enjoyable. Often people work for a purpose—to make money, to further society, to support ourselves and our families. Happiness rarely factors. Studies are now showing that job dissatisfaction can have detrimental affects on a person’s health by as early as their 40s. Medical News Today found research that suggests “People in the consistently low satisfaction group reported much higher levels of depression, sleep problems, and excessive worry, as well as scoring lower on mental health measures.” A study published in 2013 by Takashi Tatsuse and Michikazu Sekine found that “not only was job satisfaction independently associated with mental health problems but it was also found that the association of psychosocial risk factors with mental health problems declined.” Further, a study published in 2015 found results that indicated “there is a link between job satisfaction and psychological distress as well as four somatic complaints. Satisfaction with the nature of work was the strongest predictor for psychological distress, sleep disorders, headaches and gastro-intestinal problems.” Meaning that dissatisfaction in work can affect one’s mental and physical health. Therefore, with Forbes statistics claiming, “less than 50% of U.S. workers feel that they are in good jobs,” and with one’s health on the line, it’s important to stop and truly think about the following question: Do you like your job?
If you are not sure, here are three signs you may be ready to change jobs:
1. Feeling Unmotivated
We all have bouts of losing motivation at work. Even working at your dream job is sometimes tiring. It can be physically taxing, require long hours, or necessitate a lot of mental effort. This is all fairly normal in appropriate measures. However, the World Economic Forum recognises that workers who regularly lose motivation at work are less effective overall, and they have the research to back that claim up: “Research from the University of California found that motivated employees were 31% more productive, had 37% higher sales, and were three times more creative than demotivated employees. They were also 87% less likely to quit, according to a Corporate Leadership Council study on over 50,000 people.” If you’re constantly finding yourself wandering away from your work or disinterested in your responsibilities, you have some serious questions to ask yourself about your work satisfaction. It might be time to move on to a different job.
2. Work Stress is Out of Control
Again, a certain amount of work stress is normal. Of course you want to get that deadline in on time or you want to impress your boss, thereby landing that coveted promotion. When work stress becomes so intense that you’re losing sleep, irritable, secretly looking for new jobs, and suffering mental and/or physical strain, then it might be time to look for a new job. Similarly, a toxic work environment is never something someone should force themselves to endure. Career Contessa defines a toxic work environment as a workplace that “breed[s] unrest, competition, low morale, constant stressors, negativity, sickness, high turnover, and even bullying.” Like a toxic relationship, a toxic workplace can be difficult to leave. Clive Lewis has plenty to say on the topic, as he literally wrote the book on toxic workplaces. In his book, Lewis recognizes the rise in pushback against the toxic work environment, saying, “The workplace has become a hotbed of social toxicity – from the #MeToo movement to WeWork, it’s clear that abusive bosses and entrenched cultures of discrimination have become more prevalent than ever. Such behaviour is not only simply wrong and damaging to its victims – it also results in reduced productivity, higher employee turnover, and can often leave a stain upon the wider reputation of an organization.” Now, in a Covid-19 world where many work from home, such toxicity can be easily gaslit. The thinking is that since the employees are home, they can’t possibly be as stressed as they were in the office. This is simply not true. In fact, “According to a recent survey by Monster.com, 68 percent of work from home employees are still experiencing serious burnout. Why? Well, in short, it’s because some of us aren’t really turning off—ever.” Being unable to disengage from work means that toxic bosses or co-workers can infiltrate the once sacred home space. Consider this list of toxic workplace warning signs and weigh up if your current work environment fits. If so, you might want to look at your other options.
3. Developing Unhealthy Coping Habits
When you’re happy with your job, normal stresses of the day are left at work where they belong. Some people in unhealthy jobs turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. The American Psychological Association says, “people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.” Developing these habits in direct correlation with workplace stress is a good indication that you should find a new job.
If you identified with any one or all of these signs, consider what leaving your job would look like for you. Though it might seem incredibly hard, remember that leaving a difficult work situation means that you are free to find work you are passionate about. You have the potential to find a great career that suits your needs better—no matter what your age or background is. You have control and can better your situation if that is what you want! A professional coach can help you develop the skills necessary to recognize if you want to leave your current job, what steps to take to leave your current job, and how to find another job that is a better fit for you.