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You’ve just come back from a holiday break or a long weekend and now you’re dreading going back to work.

The job started out great but now you’re just not feeling it. Or worse, you might be hating your job and the thought of returning is causing your stomach to do backflips.

These feelings alone may be enough to get you to want to quit. But before you tell your boss to shove it, or just stop showing up, let’s do a quick reality check to see if that’s the right move for you.

Having worked at over 20 jobs, the Career Buddha knows all about when it’s time to head for the door. Here are some legitimate reasons to consider saying adios to your gig…

  1. Your boss or co-workers are toxic or abusive. No one should have to endure sexism, racism, ageism or any other kind offensive, disparaging or belittling behavior from any managers or co-workers. It may be funny on “The Office” but it sucks in the real world. If you’ve been subjected to this kind of behavior and have reported it to your HR lead and there’s been no action, that’s a bad sign. 
  2. Your company is in financial trouble. If your company is having a problem paying its bills, that’s a red flag warning that the ship you’re on may be unstable. And if they can’t pay you or other employees – that’s a double red flag. No one should work for nothing or even deferred pay – not in today’s economy. Even if you’re in a tiny start up, if the company can’t make payroll, you should be making a new plan.
  3. You’re being asked to work nights, weekends and/or holidays because the company is understaffed. That might be acceptable in the short run, but if it goes on for more than a month, your managers will happily make this the new “normal” for your workload. If the company has downsized, pivoted or re-org’ed and you’ve got lots of extra work with no additional compensation, that’s another red flag. If your boss says you just have to “suck it up,” – you don’t. 
  4. Your company has a pattern of unethical or illegal behavior. If the boss wants you to cut corners to save money, that’s a yellow flag warning. If they want you cut corners on safety, that’s a red flag warning. To survive and thrive in modern society, you must have a clear set of values that define who you are and what you stand for. Those values give you a yardstick against which you can measure what’s going on around you. If your company wants you to do anything you believe is unethical or illegal, you should consider talking to an attorney and clearing out your desk. 
  5. Your skills and passions don’t match your deliverables. If your job description has changed and what you’re being asked to do doesn’t align with your skills or your passions, you will not be a happy camper. If you feel that it would be valuable for you to learn the skills necessary for the gig, then have at it. But if there’s no one who is able or willing to teach you those skills internally – that’s a sign that something isn’t right. Now, having a passion for what you do is frankly a luxury for many in the workforce. But if you have no juice at all for what you do then your job can become drudgery very quickly. You can only fake it for so long before it becomes untenable.
  6. You’ve Lost the Fire. Sometimes, the company and your management are ok, but you’re the one who’s checked out. If you’re just not feeling the excitement or passion you once had in your position, consider seeking some job counselling either through your HR leader or outside the company. Sometimes you might just need a break or a new position in a different part of the company to get your engines going again. Or, it may just be time to look for something new outside the company. But if you are “phoning it in” and not bringing your best self to work, you have two choices – find your best self again and pack it in your bag for work each day, or find yourself a new gig where you can bring your best self to work each day.

So you’ve read the list and realized that one or more of the above conditions apply to you. Now you’re thinking, “What should I do about it?” 

I always recommend seeking wise counsel. If there’s someone you trust in your company that you feel you can talk honestly and openly about your concerns then by all means, seek them out. If there’s no one you feel you can trust in the company – well, that’s another bad sign.

If you need to find someone outside the company to talk to, I suggest finding a career counsellor. LinkedIn has a bunch of career counsellors who may have expertise in your industry or personal situation. Many offer a free initial session. You can start your search here

I know it sucks to be in a job that is unfulfilling. And I know what it’s like to dread going to work each day. I always counsel my clients to take some time to listen to their intuition, their heart or their gut. What I mean is to quiet your mind and ask yourself some simple questions. Here’s a couple I like…

  • Am I in the right job for my greatest happiness and fulfillment?
  • Am I in the right position where I can make the greatest contribution? 
  • Is there something I can do to improve my situation?
  • Who can I talk to that would be helpful to me right now?
  • Should I quit my job?

These are questions you can ask your intuition, your highest self. We are not talking about fear based decision making here, but that part of you that always knows what’s best for you. Intuition for decision making is a whole ‘nother topic, something the Career Buddha knows a lot about. 

If you feel like you’re in the wrong job, it may be time to start thinking about your true life direction. After working with hundreds of people, I believe each of us has a “Right Livelihood” or excellent career path that brings together your unique combination of values, skills, passions and experiences that you can use in service to others to make a great living.

If you need some assistance in getting onto your true path please feel free to reach out. 

Wishing you a life of success and fulfillment!


The Career Buddha

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