Even if you love your job, there are bound to be unpleasant days wrapped up in all the good you're doing. This is the reason we call it work instead of super happy fun time.
But when do the bad days become too frequent? How do you know when the pressure is starting to outweigh your passion for what you do? These are some red flags to watch out for. If you're able to nod along to most of these points, you should definitely start rethinking how you spend the majority of your days.
Of course, not all of us can just up and quit when faced with these realizations. But if you're experiencing some of these on the daily, it might be time to start looking into other employment options.
1. You live and breathe for Friday afternoons.
Counting down until the weekend is, unfortunately, a societal norm. But if your only source of happiness stems from reaching Saturday and Sunday, that's a problem. Sure, all jobs have dull moments and stressful days that make you wish it were Friday. But overall, you should still feel like your weekdays are worth getting out of bed for.
If it's impossible for you to enjoy Monday through Thursday, it's time to find a position that adds pleasure or meaning to those days. After all, they do account for the majority of your week. And your life.
2. Sunday night blues begin on Saturday for you.
If you've ever attended school or maintained a traditional work schedule, you've likely experienced the Sunday night blues. You'll recognize that feeling that emerges toward the end of the weekend, a combination of disappointment and anxiety that resembles the feeling of having a giant bear sitting on your chest.
Well, what happens when these Sunday night blues start popping up on Saturday afternoon? You spend the entire work week counting the minutes until the weekend only to waste your whole break stressing over your inevitable return to work on Monday morning.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it could be time to explore why you feel this way. No job should fill you with that much dread, especially during off hours. If it's a matter of being unhappy, get thee to a job posting site.
3. Thoughts of work invade your personal life.
Your professional endeavors are bound to weasel their way into your personal life on occasion. But if your mornings are spent reliving an argument you had with your boss four months ago, and your evenings are filled with office-related nightmares, you're going well beyond what's considered healthy overlap.
If obsessive thoughts plague you even when you're resting at home or going out with friends, you're probably discontent with your circumstances. Either you're way too strung up on the comings and goings of your company or you just really can't stand the place. Whichever it is, it shouldn't be consuming your mind.
4. Work-Life balance is a foreign phrase to you.
It's becoming increasingly common to skip lunch in favor of completing a project or to spend your days off scrolling through e-mails from every professional contact you've ever made. We show up early, leave late and aren't even rewarded with overtime pay.
You can certainly work on improving your work-life balance without leaving your job. Sometimes, you're the one overworking yourself.
However, if your company's culture makes it difficult to do this, they could be infringing upon your rights. And if that's the case, it's time to find a place that values your well being and gives you the benefits you're legally entitled to.
5. You're feeling the physical effects of your workload.
Repeat after me: your health is more important than your job. Say that 10 times in the mirror. Speak those words until you genuinely believe them.
If your job makes you feel as though your health should take a backseat to your responsibilities, do yourself a favor and find a new one. Professions come and go, but you're stuck with the body you have. Take care of it, even if that means taking on a less stressful role.
6. You don't feel your opinions are valued.
If you repeatedly try to make your voice heard only to be shushed and ignored, you may need to find a company with better management. Supervisors are hired to listen to and acknowledge your concerns, even if they don't necessarily agree with them. I mean, why else do they make the big bucks?
So if you're made to feel guilty for advocating for yourself, someone isn't doing their job properly. No employee should be made to feel as though they're shouting into an endless abyss with only passing tumbleweeds as a response.
7. You aren't being challenged.
Underemployment is a huge issue in the modern workforce, and it has left many knowledgeable and talented employees performing simple and tedious tasks on the daily. Many workers accept this, believing that if they perform well enough, they'll eventually be upgraded to more important duties.
Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. If your boss refuses to give you important work after months or years of over-performing, you should get online and search for a better fit for your skills. If you're no longer learning, it's time to move on. And speaking of...
8. There's no room for growth.
Growth can mean different things to different people. Some of us merely want to keep learning and taking on new responsibilities. Others would like to climb the career ladder, collecting raises and promotions. In a promising company, you should be capable of doing both.
If your boss has made it clear that you'll never be collecting new skills or taking on a larger role, get out of there. You're clearly wasting your time.
9. Your days are full of pointless power politics.
Office politics emerge in every company, but some organizations are downright toxic. If you feel like you're constantly asserting yourself just to be taken seriously by your fellow workers, it might be time to give up on earning that respect. Situations like this typically don't improve.
If your co-workers and employers feel the need to proclaim their dominance over you on a daily basis, you're better off removing yourself. These types of people thrive off of office drama and power struggles, and it's a wonder they ever moved on from the middle school playground.
Thankfully, there are jobs with uplifting teams out there. You just need to go find them.
10. Being on the clock feels akin to being in a cage.
Ever sit at your desk only to be consumed by this overwhelming feeling that you need to get out of there? It happens to all of us, no matter how much we love or hate our jobs. We're humans who value our freedom and time, after all.
But if this desire to run out of the office turns up every single day, it's likely because you can't stand being at your current workplace. If it's accompanied by recurrent thoughts of leaving and just not returning? I'd take a walk and start thinking about whether you can eventually accomplish that.
11. The idea of being where you are in five to 10 years brings you to tears.
If reading that last sentence filled you with fear and dread, it's time to go. If you've actually been reduced to tears, you need to grab a tissue, take a breath and start making alternative plans. Don't get stuck with a career you hate.
If you have no desire to stay in your current job for a prolonged period of time, you should be seeking employment elsewhere. Life's too short to waste time on.
It doesn't get any simpler than that.