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We all go through rough patches at work, and they don't necessarily mean we should throw in the towel and leave. Usually, if we're willing to wait out the hard times, the clouds eventually part and things get better at our jobs. But that's not always the case – and sometimes it's tough to tell the difference.
If you're wondering whether your current work-related difficulties are more than just a rough patch, keep an eye out for the following red flags, which might mean it's time to pen that resignation letter.
1. You're Not Growing
It happens: You hit a plateau at work, at which point there's no more room to grow career-wise and you're no longer learning new things. If your job is no longer challenging and stimulating to you, and there's no change on the horizon, it might be time to move on. Certified career coach Lisa Stransky told CNBC that if your company allows you to become stagnant and fails to provide you with new opportunities, it shows that they aren't interested enough in your future or your contributions to the organization. That's a sign it's time to cut and run.
2. You're Walking On Glass
If you're dedicating 40 hours a week to your work space, you should at least feel comfortable there. Ellevest CEO and cofounder Sallie Krawcheck wrote in a LinkedIn post that if you're overthinking (and rethinking) every word you say at work, it might be time to quit. You should be able to act authentically in the workplace without having constant anxiety about whether people are misinterpreting or looking down on your ideas.
3. You're Constantly Worrying About Money
Financial worries are, for the most part, inevitable. But if you're managing your money and still worried about it all the time, your company might not be paying you enough – and depending on how long you've been there, that could be a bad sign. In Business Insider, workplace expert Lynn Taylor suggested that if you're constantly stressed about money and you've been with your company for a significant amount of time, speak to management about a raise. If your company disagrees, consider searching for one that doesn't make you feel like they're doing you a favor by paying you properly.
4. You Can't Picture a Future There
What kind of work do you hope to be doing in a year? Picture it, and then ask yourself: Will you be doing that work with your current company? If no, what will you be doing with your current company 12 months from now? And how does that prospect make you feel? If you're apprehensive about (or anything less than excited for) your future with your current company, consider cutting that future short, and finding a new place of work.
5. Your Work Makes You Unhappy
This might seem like a no-brainer, but many of us fail to prioritize our own happiness when it comes to our careers. When we do that, we might slip into unhappy patterns at work – in which we consistently feel depressed, bored, mistreated or misunderstood – without even realizing it. Forbes suggests that you ask yourself whether you feel honored and respected for the work you contribute, and whether you're actively unhappy when you do your job. If so, accept those feelings and take some action to make things better. Your work should not make you miserable.
6. Your Work Environment Is Toxic
Your actual work is only part of your job. Your boss and colleagues also make up a huge part of your work life, and sometimes those dynamics can become toxic. Assess how well you collaborate with your colleagues, and what the power dynamic is like in your work space. Look at how your company treats its employees, and whether your role at the company feels stimulating and forward-moving. You might take a good, hard look at these aspects of your work life and notice some toxic patterns, and if those patterns are persistent, it may be time to move on.
7. Your Boss Isn't Tapping Into Your Skills
If you feel you have valuable skills that aren't being utilized at work (and that you wish would be), it might be time to take some action. Speak with management about what more you have to offer, and in what ways you would like to contribute those skills to your company. Make a play for promotions or assignments that excite you. If you've made these efforts and come up dry, Psychology Today reports that it might be time to call it quits. It's important to invest your time and energy in a position that uses the skills that you enjoy.
8. You Know More Than Your Boss
Entrepreneur warns that if you're working for someone who you believe is less knowledgeable or skilled than you, it can lead to mistrust in your company's leadership decisions, and constant anxiety in the workplace. If that's you, step back and consider whether you want to continue working under a boss whose work isn't up to par.
9. Your Higher-Ups Aren't Listening to You
It's important to feel heard at your job. Your boss should make time for you when you need it, and acknowledge your successes and work with you on your weaknesses. If you've brought up concerns about your position, assignments or colleagues and your higher-ups have ignored them, that's a problem. And if it's a consistent problem, it may be time to quit.
10. Your Gut Says So
Maybe the cons of your current position don't technically outweigh the pros. Perhaps you read through this list hoping to find a truth that resonated with you, and you were disappointed when that didn't happen. If that's the case, consider why you're looking for reasons to quit your job, when there's only one real reason you need: just knowing it's time. Trust your gut, even if it's impractical and scary, and hand in that resignation if it feels right.
- Business Insider: 16 Signs It's Time to Quit Your Job
- LinkedIn: 5 Signs It's Time to Quit Your Job
- Forbes: 5 Undeniable Signs It's Time to Leave Your Job
- Entrepreneur: 9 Telltale Signs That It's Time to Quit Your Job
- Psychology Today: 10 Signs It's Time to Quit Your Job
- CNBC: 6 Signs It's Time to Quit Your Job
Brenna Swanston is a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She previously reported for the Sun newspaper in Santa Maria, California, and she holds a bachelor's in journalism from California Polytechnic State University.