Workers are more stressed now than ever before. Between economic challenges, reductions in staff, controlling bosses, or just plain “bad fits,” there are many ways in which a job can be a struggle. And when we find ourselves in these unlucky situations, more often than not we learn to cope because we need the paycheck. We might work long hours then go home to collapse on the couch with a gallon of ice cream or the XBox. We might spend money we don’t have on shopping sprees or spend too much time at the local watering hole. All to try and quell the gnawing feeling that something just isn’t right in our lives.
So when is it time to stop? When is it time to walk away and look for a new job? Ask yourself the following questions to help find the answer.
Can You Change Things?
If you’re struggling in your position because it’s a bad fit, is it possible to change roles within the company? Or to delegate the responsibilities that aren’t a good match? You may not know until you ask.
If you’re struggling due to a bad boss, is there a chance he/she may be promoted or change positions? Or are you stuck with this person for the foreseeable future? If you are stuck with them, do you have the ability to distance yourself from their drama? Can you learn to set boundaries to maintain sanity?
If your boss is acting extremely unprofessionally, behaving like a bully, or creating a hostile work environment however, it may be time to move on. If you are otherwise happy in your position, stay connected with the rest of the staff, don’t burn bridges and who knows, the possibility to return may surface in the future. (Bad bosses have a funny way of disappearing…)
Is Your Health at Risk?
Feeling stressed seems to be as natural as breathing these days. Tight deadlines and heavy workloads are more common than uncommon, and it’s natural to have busy periods at work. The “typical” 8 hour workday is now closer to 10 or 12, and if everything else in your life is rolling along smoothly, that may not be a problem for you. But if the workload isn’t easing up, and you’re finding it harder and harder to physically maintain the pace, you may want to start taking stock of your situation.
Minor butterflies over a looming deadline is fine, chest pains and migraines are not. If you are finding yourself becoming physically ill because of your job, it’s time to start exploring other avenues.
Are Ethics at Stake?
Unfortunately, corporate scandals are no longer a rarity in the news. With economic pressure heavy in the marketplace, many organizations are feeling the squeeze to their bottom line. That’s no excuse for bad behavior, though. Do you feel comfortable with the integrity of your company? Do you feel as though the people you work with are trustworthy and ethical? Or are you pressured to make decisions or take actions that blur those lines?
If you are being asked to compromise any part of your integrity, it’s time to say goodbye and move on.
Deciding to leave a position can be very difficult. Often times the answer to the question “Should I stay or go?” isn’t black or white. However what you discover about yourself in deciding to take that leap may surprise you. Career success is sometimes about taking risks – and deciding to move on and free yourself from a challenging situation may lead you down an entirely new road, one you may not have even thought of before.