It's one thing to constantly complain about your work. It's common enough to let off steam about your job by pointing out what's wrong with it. But it's another thing if all signs are pointing to the fact that you need to get out soon. Here are definite warning signs that you should start looking for another job today.
1. You're being excluded. If you're finding out about meetings you weren't invited to after the fact, there may be a reason (and not a good one). Roberta Matuson, CEO of Matuson Consulting, says if "your company is cutting heads, while other organizations are growing," it may be a sign to go. Those secret meetings might be about staff cuts, and you might be on the list.
But before you overreact, get to the bottom of the overlooked invite to the meeting. Maybe it was for key personnel in another department, or about a project you aren't involved in. Put your ear to the ground to find out why you weren't included before jumping to conclusions.
2. You suffer from Sunday night syndrome. If each week you experience a "feeling of dread, anxiety, depression, or stress on Sunday night as you think about starting the work week Monday morning," says Ellen Mastros, business consultant, entrepreneur, and owner of New Work New Life, it may be time to consider a career change.
It's normal to feel a little sadness as the weekend ends and as the prospect of working your 9-to-5 looms closer, but if it causes headaches or stomach aches, it may indicate you're more stressed than necessary about your job. "No job is worth damaging your health and mental well-being," says Mastros.
3. Your environment is toxic. There's a difference between a place you don't really enjoy working in and one that is bad for you.
"Whether your boss or colleagues are abusive, the hours are unreasonable, the politics are horrific, or the actual office is unhealthy, you subject yourself to enormous physical and emotional stress," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. "Your job is literally killing you. When you lose sleep or live in constant fear that something bad will happen, the impact on your health will be significant."
Make efforts to rectify the toxic situation (ask for an office with a window for fresh air, try to work out differences with co-workers) before walking out of your job.
4. You haven't been paid in weeks. Kathi Elster of K Squared Enterprises says if you haven't gotten paid in weeks because your employer can't afford to pay you, this is a red flag that should send you running for the hills. Your boss might try to sweet talk you into patiently waiting a few more weeks for payday, but there's no guarantee you'll get paid then, or ever, if the company is floundering. Time to hit the job boards.
5. You've done your best to rectify the situation. If "you have exhausted all efforts to make your work situation better, such as talking with your manager, self-examination and looking into other career options," says Branding Consultant Meredith Liepelt, it may be time to move on. You should always work to fix what you can, but realize your limitations: You can only change yourself, and if you hate your job because of unreasonable bosses or an unhealthy workload, there is only so much you can try to do to correct the issue.
If you have tried everything to make the most of a bad work situation, cut yourself some slack. The role you're in isn't ideal for you, but you will find one that is a better fit for your talents.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.