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U.S. unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in almost half a century, and job openings have been at an all-time high. Some unhappy workers are feeling emboldened to quit and look for something better.
Should you join them? The thought of ditching a job you've been at for years can be terrifying. But a hopeless future with your current employer ought to scare you, too.
Here are 10 pretty clear indicators that it's time for you to tell your boss, "I'm outta here!"
1. The pay stinks
Maybe it's no surprise that one of the biggest reasons people quit is that they're not paid enough. This is especially true if your workload isn't reflected in your paycheck.
If you've felt for some time that your employer undervalues you, it may be time to ask for what you deserve.
If you get the raise, great. If you don't, at least you'll know where you stand, and can feel you've got nothing to lose by searching for something better.
2. Your commute is killing you
Face it: Your commute is part of the time you put into your work.
If you live in a big city like Los Angeles or Chicago, where traffic can be a perpetual nightmare, you may be sitting in your car for the equivalent of a full day of work each week — without being paid for the time.
When the extra hours spent fighting road rage start to affect your anxiety and stress levels, it's time to get realistic about whether your job is worth that.
3. You really hate the work
Too obvious? Sadly, many people seem to think that being employed means being miserable.
You can have a job you really enjoy or even love. If the thought of going to work tomorrow makes you feel anxious, bored or full of dread, make a list of what you like and what you loathe about your job.
If the positives far outweigh the negatives, you need to make a change.
4. The work environment is toxic
Feeling comfortable with your co-workers and supervisors can be just as important as the work itself.
But do you have a narcissistic boss who's constantly chipping away at your confidence? Do you feel you're being harassed or never given the chance to live up to your potential?
If so, find a new opportunity that will allow you to take your power back.
5. You feel you're meant for more
If you have a little voice inside telling you that greater things lie ahead, it's time to sit down and really listen to what it has to say.
That doesn't mean it's a good idea to quit your job at 50 in hopes of becoming the professional athlete you've always wanted to be. But it may mean that your love of sports could make you a really great team manager or gym owner.
Accepting your capabilities is a step toward finding a career you'll love.
6. It's in the way of what really matters
Many people find it hard or embarrassing to admit that what they want out of life has changed over time.
Maybe you spent years trying to score that high-power job you were sure would make you happy. But now that you have it, you constantly find yourself hating how you miss out on your kid's baseball games.
It's OK to want to have a life outside of work. How many older people have you heard saying how much they regret not spending more time with their children when the kids were little?
7. You're just plain bored
Quitting a job due to boredom may not sound like a very grown-up decision. But does being an adult really mean staying stuck in a position where you don't have a chance to grow?
If you feel you've stagnated, you could be setting your self-esteem up for a major nosedive.
This doesn't mean you have to quit tomorrow with no Plan B. But it is high time to start searching the online job listings for a more exciting opportunity.
8. Your co-workers are dwindling
A high turnover rate is not generally a sign of high company morale. If your co-workers keep finding issues worth quitting over, then maybe you need to explore the root cause.
Maybe they found better opportunities. But mass departures may indicate anything from a toxic work environment to a company going down the tubes.
Once you have a solid idea of what the problem is, you'll be better able to gauge if it's big enough to inspire you to move on as well.
9. It's taking a toll on your health
When your job is literally making you sick, there's no virtue in being a martyr.
Earning a good income is nice. But if you find yourself stressed, strained and emotionally spent after work, then you may be giving far more than you're getting.
Migraines, high blood pressure and poor health could be symptoms that your job isn't worth keeping.
10. Your company is on the way out
Are you on board a ship that's sinking? If your company seems to have developed a strategy that revolves around "doing more with less," that may be your first warning flag.
Maybe your employer is cutting back to stay alive — and piling more work on you. Now is the time to be realistic about your options.
Don't be in denial if your company has been on the way down for years, and don't delay jumping off that ship for another employer that's in a better position to stay afloat.
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