This is a guest post by Britt Klontz, Digital Marketing expert
So you’ve got a job. Hooray. In this job market, you know you’re supposed to be thankful for whatever you’ve got. And yet, when that video of a girl quitting her job while dancing to Kanye went viral, it may have felt a little too cathartic.
Time to quit? Maybe. After all, the correlation between personal fulfillment and success on the job is a strong one. If you’re really miserable, you’re unlikely to brainstorm those cutting edge ideas that will both advance your career and put your company on the cutting edge.
Still, it’s important not to confuse a little slump with a deeper dissatisfaction, especially if the role that’s got you down may soon lead to your dream job. To really determine whether or not your job is worth keeping, we recommend starting with a skills inventory, so you can determine whether or not your current role really matches your talents and passions. Then test your job with the 7 following criteria to determine whether or not you should keep on keepin’ on.
1. You Feel Like You’re Learning New Things
Being competent at your job is one thing; stagnating is another. Every professional, no matter what stage in their career, enjoys their work more when they’re constantly learning and feel properly challenged (i.e. not in over their heads but still pushed). In fact, new challenges aren’t just good for your psychology, they’re good for the physical structure of your brain, especially as you age and tend towards less plasticity. New challenges force your neurons into making new connections, helping you see the world, your work, and even your personal life in new and creative ways. Put simply: when your brain thrives, you thrive, so it’s important that your job gets those neurotransmitters pumping.
2. You’re Excited to Get Up in the Morning
Or, you know, you at least don’t immediately start crying when the alarm clock rings. Your mind can be a powerful and misleading force of unwarranted optimism and denial, but your body won’t lie to you. If you wake up every morning dreading having to go into work, that’s a clear sign it’s time to call it quits. The same thing goes if you’re purposely staying up way past your bedtime just to stretch out the amount of time before you’ll have to wake up and start the whole cycle over again.
3. You’re Not Exhausted All the Time
Fatigue can spring from many sources, most of which aren’t very good. Maybe it’s tight deadlines, long hours and overtime, a ridiculous amount of travel, or simply being the boss’ punching bag during office meetings. Unless you’ve got a clear medical condition—say, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—exhaustion is generally a sign that something needs to change. Whether that means talking to your boss about cutting back hours or changing jobs altogether is up to you.
4. You Feel Respected and Cared For
There are communities that help us reach our full potential and there are those that set up roadblocks every step of the way. Maybe it’s a jealous co-worker, an overly competitive environment, a boss who never says, “Good job,” or a simple lack of recognition on a company-wide scale. Whatever the impediment, if you’re not feeling respected, it’s likely you’re also wasting a lot of energy feeling bitter and resentful. These feelings greatly inhibit your ability to thrive both in the office and in your career at large, and are a great sign you’ve reached a dead end.
5. You Feel Properly Compensated for What You Do
Some people don’t mind working for next to nothing in a job they love. Other people go the opposite route, willing to work a job they detest just as long the pay is good. Whether you feel properly compensated on the job will depend on where you lie on this spectrum, as well as the many other criterion we’ve discussed so far (e.g. if you don’t feel respected and cared for, no six-figure salary can alter your misery). Of course, it’s important to factor in not just base salary but also benefits and raises. If you haven’t received a raise in at least two years, it’s probably time to call it quits.
6. There’s a Future for you
No matter how senior your role, a great position will make you feel like there’s always something for you to grow into. Perhaps you feel there’s an exciting, challenging project on the horizon; maybe you’ve got the next job up the ladder in your sights; or maybe you work for a startup and really believe that you’re part of an important mission. Whatever the sources of inspiration, you’ve got to have hope for the future or else you’ll just be sitting around, waiting to clock out.
One sure sign that it’s time to get out: your company is bleeding on the stock market, and management is making all the wrong decisions.
7. You Don’t Procrastinate…TOO Much
In a world of smartphones and email, we’re all guilty of a little online procrastination. But if you find yourself constantly checking Facebook, spending more than an hour answering emails that don’t need answering when you get to the office in the morning, and putting off any tasks that require a modicum of work, this is a good sign that you’re pretty much over your job. Too often, we view procrastination as something we need to be guilty about; don’t be. Just take it as a sign, try to find its root cause, and then, well, do something about it.
A little ambivalence or outright frustration with your job here and there is normal. But just because nothing is perfect, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better suited position out there for you. Find something you’re more passionate about, that pays you better, that makes you feel respected and that helps you grow, and you’re far more likely to thrive in your career and at home. Happy hunting!
Britt Klontz is a new media marketing manager based in Tampa, Florida