No matter how old we are or how long we've been working, we all have questions when it comes to careers—from how to respond to a rejection letter to learning to say no when a role isn't a good fit. That's where Career Counselor comes in. In this weekly series, we connect with experts to answer all of your work-related questions. Because while we don't all have the luxury of a career coach, we still deserve to grow in our careers.
It's Sunday night, and you've got the case of the Sunday Scaries. The idea of going to work on Monday is throwing you into a tizzy. You feel anxious, and a heavy sense of dread fills your entire being just thinking about your Monday morning alarm going off. Everyone has bad days when it comes to their jobs. It's normal. What's not normal is a constant feeling of anxiety and a "blah" uninspired vibe that's not only affecting your work but also seeping into other parts of your life.
Ellen Mackenzie, CEO and Founder of Dishing Up Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency, can relate. The Gen Zer was regularly struck by the Sunday Scaries while at her previous job. "I was meant to be enjoying a relaxing Sunday and instead, I found myself struggling to sleep," she tells HelloGiggles. "The overall stress and lack of joy going to work every week was the biggest warning sign that I needed to leave. I knew I didn't want to spend the next 40 years feeling like that, and it was time to find something I was passionate about."
She ended up turning her side hustle as a social media manager into her dream job. "I felt excited to work and I knew this was what I was meant to be doing. The most important thing I've learned since then is that happiness is the most important thing in life. If your job is making you miserable, it's not worth it," she explains.
If the above sounds similar to what you're currently going through, yet you're not sure if you should quit your job, we connected with a few career experts to let us know which signs are telling you it's time to put in your resignation.
How to know when to quit your job:
You work in a toxic work environment.
According to Dr. Lila Jordan, a faculty member in Walden University's MS in Human Resource Management program, workplace hostility is a vital sign to quit your job. "If you are being bullied, overworked, or abused in any form, quitting may be the best option for your well-being. Being treated less than human is never acceptable. Report these issues to HR, but also plan your exit strategy just in case."
There are little to no growth opportunities.
Lack of career advancement is another sign it might be time to move on, says Dr. Jordan. "However, keep in mind that promotions are not the only opportunity for growth," she says. "Professional development is a good way to build your personal portfolio with a company. Assess what growth opportunities are available to you before considering another employer."
Shortage of growth opportunities goes hand-in-hand with lack of inspiration. "When you feel uninspired or like you could do your job in your sleep, it's time to first ask for a new challenge, role, or project," says, Jessica Zweig, CEO of SimplyBe. Agency and the author of Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself. "If that's not available to you and there's no upward mobility, it's time to reconsider that job," she says. "You deserve to grow at a company that will promote your personal and professional growth."
The workplace culture is no longer a right fit.
How's the company culture? Do you feel supported? "We don't want to be in environments that prevent us from operating at our truest, highest self," says Zweig. "Culture eats strategy for breakfast, as Peter Drucker once said," she says. "You can work someplace that has all the bells and whistles like a fancy brand name and an interesting client list, but if you're not being treated well or you feel like you always have to be on guard or can't be authentic, those are signs to watch out for."
Another sign you may need to jump ship, says Dr. Jordan, is if your employer does not align with your values. "For example, you may value diversity and charitable giving, but your employer may not give back to society or support individuals from various backgrounds," she says. "Also, consider if your needs are being met. If the compensation is insufficient to provide for you and your family, another employer may be a better fit for you."
There's no flexibility.
"The rise in work-from-home opportunities have caused many job seekers to prioritize flexibility," says Dr. Jordan. "Remote work can be especially beneficial for people who have limited childcare options, eldercare responsibilities, or those who desire to relocate. If your current job hinders your ability to meet your personal obligations, seeking a more flexible work arrangement may be best."
How to quit your job:
"It's important to pay attention to these signs because they determine how well you will thrive," says Zweig. "You have to be in a place where you're set up for success. Take an honest assessment of what you're doing, how much you're giving, and if you're meeting the expectations of your job. If you believe you are but you're still not growing, being recognized, or feeling happy, these are signs it may be time to leave."
Leaving your toxic job sounds good in theory...but the reality of handing in your resignation can be a whole different kind of scary, especially when there are bills to pay. Looking back, Mackenzie says while quitting her job was the best decision she ever made, she also acknowledges she did so "the right way."
"I built up my side hustle, validated my business idea, and created a financial runway so I knew I could quit my job confidently and have enough money in the bank so I wasn't stressing out every day. As much as I promote quitting your job and designing a life you love, we have to approach this [in a well-thought-out manner]," she says. "We have bills to pay, and life costs money. So if you're looking to change careers or set up a business, make sure you have a plan in place. Don't make decisions on a whim when you're emotional. Plan ahead and you will find something you love and be successful in life."