Changing Jobs Professional Development

5 Clues That It’s Time to Quit

Written by Miranda Pennington

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of the Harvard Business Review has compiled 5 tell-tale warning signs that may indicate it’s time for you to start job hunting.

You’re Not Learning

Your mind—and your career—thrive when you are constantly encountering new information, developing new skills, or following your natural curiosity into continuous learning. If your job offers you no pathway to move forward and continue growing, why are you there? The invigorating stress of a job search might even spill over into your current job—try it and see.

You Are Underperforming

I wish I had researched this article in the spring of 2010; I was underutilized at my job, had a micromanaging boss, and coasted through each day with no motivation, excitement, or incentive to work any harder. If this is you, GET OUT! Find a job where you are engaged, or stressed, or challenged—anything but zoned out. If you need motivation, try to imagine the resume blurb for your current underwhelming job. “Sat at desk and tried not to nod off in front of boss. Filed company paperwork. Thought fondly of death.” Yeah, it’s time to move on.

You Feel Undervalued

Appreciation can come in many forms, but if you don’t feel like your supervisors or colleagues understand your value, you may be experiencing burnout and counterproductive self-sabotage that lowers the productivity of more than just yourself. Maybe you can speak up for what you need—or maybe there’s another organization out there that can appreciate you for what you bring to the table.

You’re Just In It For the Money

With the obvious caveat that lots of us do lots of things because we have bills that need paying, if literally the only reason you show up each day is the promise of an eventual paycheck, you are in the wrong job. Many studies have shown that compensation can make up for the lack of intrinsic rewards like enjoyment, curiosity, or personal fulfillment, but it won’t be rewarding and you certainly won’t be motivated to do your best work.

You Hate Your Boss

This is the biggest red flag because everything else—responsibilities, supervisees, assessment, even compensation—can be altered or adjusted. But in order to complain about your boss you have to invoke HR or go over their head (or, just wait for them to implode, if they are incompetent).

Chamorro-Premuzic’s research found that 75% of working adults cite their immediate supervisors as the most stressful part of their job. This may mean your company has failed to identify and cultivate good leadership, or it might just be a personality mismatch. Either way, you may need to move on to break free.

What do you think—do any of these apply, and if so, make sure to sign up and get matched with the latest job opportunity!

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.