“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to know what they would like to do right from the start. For some, it takes some really crappy jobs to realize it’s time to hit the road and find something else that doesn’t make them hate their lives. Others stay in the same job for years, wondering from time to time why they feel so miserable.
“For some, when it’s time to leave a job can be quite clear — whereas for others, it might not be so obvious,” says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group and author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad. Others are unaware of the signs.
If you too have mixed feelings towards your job or know someone in this situation, check out these signs that you hate your job and it’s time to find a new one that suits you better.
You hate Sunday nights
There’s no clearer sign that you dislike your job than your stomach in knots every single Sunday night. “You dread Sunday nights and the end of the weekend, in large part, because you do not look forward to Monday mornings and the return to work,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.
If your weekend has just begun and yet you can’t stop thinking about Monday morning at the office, then you’d better start looking for another job that’s less stressful.
You’re frequently taking days off
That dreadful feeling you’re constantly experiencing whenever you’re thinking about your job can make you do some awkward things like taking more days off than usual without having a legitimate reason for all of them. “You may call in sick when you are not or you just disappear during the day,” says Cohen. “When you don’t like your job you find ways to avoid having to do it.”
It feels like never-ending work
When you like what you do, time flies. On the other hand, when you can’t stand your job, every minute feels like an eternity and every task seems overwhelming.
“As simple as that sounds, many people still have a belief that work is called ‘work’ for a reason and that you really shouldn’t be expected to like work,” says Jessica Sweet, career coach and founder of Wishing Well Coaching. “It’s true that every minute of every day won’t be thrilling, you should have an overall feeling of enjoyment, excitement about your trajectory and synergy with your skills. If you don’t, you’re probably in the wrong job.”
Friends or family members are getting worried about you
“It’s funny (in an often not-funny way) how perceptive the people around us are to our pain or discontent,” says Jenny Foss, a career consultant and recruiter who runs the career blog JobJenny.com. “Often, even when we think we’re masking our unhappiness, our closest friends and family members sniff out trouble well before we’re sharing any details.”
When even your friends or family members start noticing that there’s something wrong with you, it’s pretty clear that your job is making you miserable. “Feeling down about your job can set you up for a self-perpetuating cycle by taking a negative toll on the way you think and the way you behave,” explains Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,”. “The more you experience negative thoughts and unproductive behavior, the worse you’ll feel.” “The stress is present both inside and outside of work; it’s consuming. Your family and friends are affected by this, too,” Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert says.
Whether you’re snapping at people or just plain sad, “if your people are noticing you’re ‘not you,’ don’t discount their concerns,” adds Foss. “Instead, hear them out and spend some time reflecting what’s causing their concerns.”
You’re drinking more than usual
If the thought of your job has you reaching for a drink, I’d say it’s time to quit. It’s true that people find all sorts of coping mechanisms but finding release in alcohol is never a solution. “It’s a natural human reaction to avoid challenging issues or roadblocks,” says Foss. “Instead of hitting them head-on, we often ignore them, bury our frustrations or anesthetize ourselves with unhealthy habits like overeating, over-indulging in alcohol, dulling the pain with drugs or through escapism hobbies like gambling.”
Getting buzzed every night of the week might have a deeper cause than just the social implications. “Choosing these methods is much like choosing to live with a toothache because you’re afraid of the pain of yanking the tooth,” says Foss. “Toothache pain never goes away. The yanked tooth may hurt a lot for a bit, but then it heals. Which would you rather?”
You feel like a robot
A job you like is supposed to be mentally stimulating and engaging, making you want to learn more in order to perform your tasks successfully. On the other hand, a job you don’t feel satisfied with turns you into a robot. You only want to finish your tasks as fast as possible, not interested in learning anything new in the process.
“You carry out your job in a robotic manner, without the passion and zeal to learn,” says Carina Rogerio, career coach at Executive Coach International. “This could indicate that you know your job very well but at your core, you do not like to do it.” According to Rogerio, “sooner than later this job will be perceived by you purely for its material needs” instead of the mental and intellectual benefits you could enjoy.
You’re being efficient, not effective
How can something (or someone) be efficient but not effective? Well, think about this: you want to cut down a tree. An axe can be effective, but not necessarily efficient in this situation. Same thing with you. Being busy does not always mean getting stuff done. Being efficient means carrying out tasks quickly regardless of whether or not they are important while being effective refers to choosing and performing the most relevant tasks.
According to Tim Ferris in The 4-Hour Workweek: “Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible.”
You’re wasting your time on social media
Even the most devoted employees have taken a break from work to scroll through their feeds, read some online news or watch a YouTube video. It’s actually ok to do it from time to time if it offers you some escapism or relaxation for a little while.
The problems start when you’re wasting too much of your time on social media instead of working. “This is a sign that you are either bored or not passionate about the work you are being given,” says Rogerio. According to Nicole Williams, a career expert and author of “Girl on Top, “when you spend so much time doing boring things, it affects other parts of your life. […] You feel really tired, not because you are tired, but because you can’t get out of the rut.”
“What you may not be aware of is that the more you do that, the more you are disrespecting yourself: if you give yourself no reason to be proud of your work, at some point you will start to be bitter,” adds Rogerio.
You are no longer in the know
If you’re the last person in the office to find out about major decisions, key meetings or important projects, it might be a sign that your boss is leaving you out. “Your boss has removed you from the distribution list on important emails or has made it clear that you are not invited to meetings where you will have access to other colleagues and important initiatives and developments,” says Cohen. “When your boss no longer confides in you then you need to re-examine the relationship. Something significant has changed.”
If you used to be in the know for years but slowly but surely, other people have taken your position in the organization, it might be time to pack your things and move on to a better job. “No one has said anything, however, you are no longer getting the plum assignments, you are no longer asked to attend key meetings, or your proposals are met with silence or denial.” Teri Hockett, the chief executive of career site What’s For Work? says “these are signs that you should be looking for a new opportunity.”
You avoid your boss
In other situations, it’s not your boss that’s avoiding you, it’s actually you who’s trying to stay as far away as possible from your boss. If the thought of him(or her…think The Devil Wears Prada) missing for one day or better yet, a week, from the office, brings you joy and happiness, then it’s a clear indication that your career prospects are not the best ones.
“A sign you’re in the wrong job is that you avoid face time with your boss,” says Mike McRitchie, a career and small business strategist with CriticalPath Action. “You feel your boss is always taking credit for your work. You don’t feel valued.”
You and your boss are never in agreement
It can be really frustrating to be told to do your job in a way that you completely disagree with. “You feel that there are ethical or moral differences in how the company and you believe the firm should operate; cultural differences; work ethic clashes, and so on,” Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, says.
Telling your boss you don’t agree with his methods without losing your job is a tricky thing, especially when you’re the only one having a problem with that. “If you and your boss speak completely different languages in terms of how you relate to the world, but you see that your boss relates well to others on the team,” says Wishing Well Coaching’s Jessica Sweet. “If you’re feeling like the odd man out—you’re the creative one in a room of techies—you might not be in the right career for you.”
You aren’t working to your potential
A good rule of thumb when it comes to your career is to never work for your paycheck; work to your potential. A smart boss should be able to see what you’re good at and allow you to develop your strengths even further. It will benefit both of you in the long term. “Ultimately our work should align with our strengths,” writes Marla Gottschalk, industrial and organizational psychologist and career consultant.
On the other hand, “if you feel that your weaknesses have taken center stage, it’s unlikely you’ll stay energized for the long haul. Have a conversation with your supervisor now—and don’t wait.”
You feel like taking a nap at work
If you can’t seem to get rid of that feeling of overwhelming sleepiness at work, can’t or won’t focus on doing your job, then, my friend you’ve got a problem. Don’t get me wrong! Power naps can be quite efficient from time to time and make you more productive, but when napping is all you can think about, you’ve clearly got a priority issue.
“When you can barely stay awake and you get plenty of sleep, it is usually work that is the problem,” says Cohen. “It is not nearly stimulating enough and a real sign that you desperately need a change.”
You look at the glass as half empty
When you feel powerless and frustrated about your job, you start having a victim mindset. You start telling people how hard you work and how nothing positive ever happens to you.
“A sign that you are in the wrong job is when you start the blame game and focus on all that is wrong in the job,” says Rogerio. “You start viewing the job and the company as evil, and you a victim. Clearly, you are unhappy at work. Consider moving on: internally or externally. If you remain, you will become a compulsive complainer, which is not productive for you or the team.”
You focus on gossip more than on work
The adversity towards your job will soon be seen in everything you do at work. You start blaming your coworkers or boss for every little thing going wrong in the office, criticizing everything and everyone and gossiping behind their back. “Without knowing it, you make a decision to make the place wrong and you right and by talking around you are gathering agreement to confirm and justify your beliefs and actions related to it,” says Rogerio.
Office gossip is quite common. In fact, according to a recent study, 21% regularly gossip at work, 15% occasionally gossip and 86% gossip regarding corporate decisions. However, if you don’t know when to stop, it might harm you in the long run. “Not only are you potentially becoming a negative person to be around with but more importantly, you stopped seeing yourself as a possible element to change the equation,” adds Rogerio. “Unless you challenge yourself, taking that road will lead nowhere good.”
You never get to finish anything
If you are overwhelmed by the to-do list that never seems to end, it may be that you just have too much on your plate or that you hate what you do and this has taken a toll on your productivity and ability to complete tasks. “Everything seems pointless and your level of motivation is at an all-time low,” writes Gottschalk. “Are you dealing with looming deadlines with a blank screen continually staring back at you? Have you simply stopped caring? These are telling signs you’re in the wrong job.”