10 Warning Signs It's Time to Switch Jobs

Recently, I spoke to one of my new coaching clients, regarding the current state of her corporate career.  She was a mid-level manager at a large, Professional Services firm and had been in her job for 11 years.  I can only think of one word that aptly describes how she sounded.  Miserable.  She hated it. 

As we dug deeper into the layers, we both learned that she never truly believed she was deserving of a better job.  All her life, she had heard comments like:

“Finding a new job is tough right now, you better hold on to the one you have.”

“No one is hiring.”

“You are lucky to have this good job.”

“Work is not supposed to be fun; that’s why it’s called work.”

So, she hung on for dear life to a job that was almost literally sucking the life out of her. 

I wish I could say her situation was unusual; but unfortunately, I meet women in similar challenges every day. 

After our consultation, she finally felt empowered enough to go after her ideal job and career.

So how do you know when it’s time to make a change in jobs? What are some of the warning signs?

Here are 10 signs to look for:

1.       You dread going to work. 

Sunday night rolls around and you start feeling sick to your stomach.  Monday morning, you lay in bed mindlessly scrolling through your social media.  It’d be one thing if you were sleeping, but you’re not.  You’ve been up for at least an hour already.  You ask yourself, “Exactly how long can I lay here without being late?” or “Maybe I can just skip hair, makeup and breakfast and lay here longer?” You may sit in your car for several minutes once you finally arrive at work.  You will put off walking into the building for as long as you possibly can.

2.       You limit interaction with coworkers to the barest minimum. 

You find interactions with your colleagues borderline painful.  You hide behind closed office doors, eat lunch alone and avoid all happy hours.  You normally have no issues networking with people in general, but something about this particular bunch is…off.  You feel as if there is no room for you here. Their jokes border on offensive and you’re pretty sure most of them have never interacted closely with anyone who looks like you.

3.       Nothing you do is acceptable. 

You are often criticized for things that have nothing to do with your performance.  You do not smile enough.  You are not approachable.  Your team doesn’t feel comfortable working for you.  You seem angry.  You are not a team player.  Your hair is unprofessional.  Your nail color is too bright.  The tone of your voice is too deep.  You didn’t say “hello” when you walked past. Nothing about you seems right.

4.       Money is the only appeal to this job. 

You take a big piece of paper and draw a T down the middle.  Your intention is to capture “Pros” on one half of the sheet and “Cons” on the other.  You have no problem filling the “Cons” section.  For “Pros, however, you write “Paycheck” and then realize you have nothing else to add.  The whole page looks lopsided; like an unbalanced scale.

5.       You just came back from a two-week vacation and boy, you need another one. 

In fact, the last few days of your vacation were less than enjoyable; the mere thought of returning to work looming over you like a dark cloud. 

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6.       You are constantly stressed and tired. 

Your default response to, “Girl, how are you doing?” is “I am exhausted!”   You are doing enough work for three full time people.  You started with just your job but as others jumped ship, they refused to backfill, dumping their tasks on your desk.  Somehow, they don’t think seem to think you’ll go anywhere.

7.       You have seen no upward mobility since you arrived there years ago. 

No promotions. No significant raises.  No awards.  No new learning or development opportunities.  No travel.  No one to mentor or be mentored by.  Nothing.  Just projects, tasks and deadlines.

8.       They are not interested in your ideas. 

The job description sounded so…elaborate and enticing.  They said they wanted someone who would challenge the status quo, take risks and be innovative.  They asked you a million questions during the interview about all the exciting things you did at your last job.  “Yes! I can implement some new ideas”, you thought.  You got there and nothing you suggest seems appealing to them.  Every suggestion is met with, “Oh, we don’t have a budget for that.” Or “No, that’s outside of our risk profile.” Or “we tried something similar 25 years ago and it didn’t work.” 

9.       Company’s performance is starting to look…suspect. 

You notice a consistent, downward trend in the stock price.  Earnings per share has been consistently heading south.  All new products seem to nosedive.  Vendors are no longer getting paid.  Even your paycheck seems to be inconsistent and late now.

10.   You no longer see the mission, vision, purpose, or any of it. 

You don’t agree with what they are doing.  They do not seem to care about the same things you care about.  They are constantly cutting corners.  Their marketing campaigns are starting to look culturally insensitive, at best.  They seem to be acting against your own interests.  Their business decisions are questionable and irrational, and you find yourself thinking, “These people have no idea what they are doing!”


If you identify with one or more of these, pay closer attention.  Determine if these are anomalies or a constant.  Eliminate the possibility that something else in your personal life is really at the root; after all you are not just an employee.  You are a wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, sister, etc. Could there be anything else affecting how you feel currently?  Once you are clear that this is indeed a pattern and your job is the culprit, I invite you to begin plotting your exit. 

You’ve already stayed too long.

stella odogwu