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When You Know It’s Time to Leave Your Job

In a survey by The Conference Board, 49% of U.S. employees are not satisfied with their job. Don't be a statistic, recognize when the signs are telling you to leave.

Business Change of job, unemployment, resign concept.
Business Change of job, unemployment, resign concept.

If you have ever caught yourself looking up from your desk staring off into space, I’m betting it was because you were thinking of leaving your job. While starting a new job, can fill you with excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. Eventually, the novelty wears off. Projects and coworkers may become stagnant. The sense of belonging may fade away.

The bulk of your week is spent working, so if you find yourself constantly stressed, your health can suffer. The World Health Organization reports negative work environments can lead to physical and mental health problems, including substance abuse and lost productivity.

Whether you feel like your position has become meaningless or the hours you work are insane, there comes a point when you know it’s time to leave your job. Take a look at these three reasons people are leaving their jobs and what to do about it.

Your heart’s not in it

The easiest way to tell it’s time to leave your job is if you no longer feel any point to it. If you’ve worked in an industry that you weren’t passionate about, you know this feeling. You may dread having to perform routine tasks, you may find yourself more susceptible to burnout as long hours begin to take their toll, you may lose interest in self-development and career advancement.

Justine Sponder, a business manager from Sioux City, Iowa, knew it was time for a change when her personality started to diminish. “I was drained from all the stress I felt at work. I’m normally a very energetic person, but I was slowly becoming one with the couch after work,” Justine said.

Sometimes you take a job that masks itself as fulfilling work only to have it turn you into a person you don’t want to be. Justine’s advice? “Ask your friends and family if they notice any changes in your energy levels. That’s when I knew I needed to make a change.”

The perks aren’t enough

Benefits make up a substantial portion of your compensation. If you have been at your workplace for a few years, you’ve probably experienced life changes. Whether you got married and added a partner to your health insurance or built up your savings to feed your travel addiction, a lack of benefits can be a reason to leave.

Employers in the private sector shell out 30% of an employee’s cost toward benefits. But things can change. Think about adding kids or a partner to your health insurance. Annual premium coverages rose to 5% for families and 3% for singles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Salary alone doesn’t necessarily equate to a great job.

If the benefits no longer support your lifestyle, it could be a reason to leave. Eight out of 10 workers would keep a job with benefits over a job with more pay and no benefits. Reflect on your lifestyle and see how your benefits measure up.

The people are a drag

It’s a lot easier to drag yourself into the office if you like the people you work with. In a survey conducted by the Conference Board, participants noted that “people at work” gave them the greatest satisfaction.

Michelle Lee, an accountant from Los Angeles, was ready to leave her job for this very reason. “After the first month of work, I realized my new boss was creating a really negative work environment. I would present new ideas and they’d get shut down almost immediately,” said Michelle. “I felt like my boss didn’t support creativity and didn’t listen to the team.”

Trust and support in the people you work with is a reason to stay. Being around dishonest and unsupportive people is not. Michelle says to go with your gut. “Trust your intuition. It doesn’t matter if you just started. It’s not worth hanging around when everyone is negative.”

Before you leave…

If any of these reasons resonate with you, don’t submit your resignation letter just yet. Check to make sure that your significant other and family are on board.

A backup plan is a good idea; you might want another job lined up before resigning altogether so you won’t have a lapse in income. If you decide to kick your job early, make sure you have an emergency fund to fall back on.

Ideally, you’ll want enough in savings to tide you over for the entire time it takes to replace your job. The average unemployment stint lasts around 20 weeks. You might therefore consider having at least 20 weeks of living expenses set aside.

If you are truly on the verge of a breakdown, you shouldn’t be afraid to leave. Take the steps to prepare yourself mentally and financially. Once you have support and savings in place, you can feel more confident to move on. In the meantime, it’s never too early to start job hunting if you truly intend to leave!

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